At February’s Chicago auto show, Nissan revealed the 2017 light-duty (half-ton) version of the Titan pickup as the promised follow-up to the 2016 Titan XD quasi-commercial model that straddles the line between light- and heavy-duty pickups. But the Chicago unveiling wasn’t entirely conventional: Nissan showed only photos of the half-ton version of the Titan and said it will be in showrooms this summer.
Nissan found reluctance from consumers regarding the first-generation light-duty Titan, which was launched in 2003 on the pickup-specific “F-Alpha” ladder-frame chassis and continued through 2015. So the company decided to take a different vector with the Titan XD (http://articles.sae.org/13829/) in an attempt to address the market space between light-duty pickups – which the Detroit Three automakers dominate (to the ongoing chagrin of Nissan and Toyota) – and the larger heavy-duty models that are increasingly popular with both commercial and “business-personal” buyers.
The half-ton Titan will compete in the heart of the full-size pickup segment, while the XD provides a unique solution for customers by bridging the cost and capability gap between traditional half-ton and full heavy-duty pickups. Together the two Titans "will cover nearly 85% of the total full-size truck market,” said Rich Miller, director of product planning for Trucks, SUVs and Commercial Vehicles at Nissan North America and chief product specialist for Titan pickups.
A major differentiator for the Titan XD has been its Cummins-made 5.0-L turbodiesel V8, the first North America-sourced diesel for a Japanese pickup. The new half-ton “standard” Titan won’t offer that engine (never say never, we’d wager, given that FCA’s Ram unit does nice business with the V6 turbodiesel in the half-ton Ram), instead fitting Nissan’s 5.6-L gasoline V8 at launch. That well-known unit develops 390 hp (287 kW) and 401 lb∙ft (544 N∙m).
The 2017 Titan’s horsepower, in particular, represents a marked increase from this engine's 317-hp (233-kW) rating in 2015. (Nissan officials told Automotive Engineering there will be no 2016 model of the half-ton Titan). The V8 will transfer power through a 7-speed automatic transmission, a two-gear upgrade over the previous Titan’s 5-speed automatic. At some as-yet undetermined time after the light-duty Titan is launched, a gasoline V6 will be added to the mix, although the company wouldn’t say much more.
Structurally, the coming half-ton Titan shares no chassis components with the Titan XD model, which rides on a modified version of the F-Alpha architecture Nissan oriented toward commercial-vehicle applications. "Even the lug nuts are different," quipped Miller. He noted that the light-duty 2017 Titan chassis “is a refined version of Nissan’s existing full-size truck platform,” which itself is a variant of the F-Alpha structure.
Thus some of the similarities in critical dimensions for the outgoing 2015 Titan and the new 2017 model: Wheelbase, for example, is the same at 139.8 in (3551 mm) for the crew cab body style. Overall length, at 228.1 in (5794 mm) is just 3.5 in (89 mm) longer than the previous-generation truck.
Nissan officials said the 2017 Titan will return a standard-cab configuration to the body-style lineup that also includes crew and king cab variants. The cab choices also dictate three cargo-bed lengths: 5.5 ft (1676 mm), 6 ft (1829 mm) and 8 ft (2438 mm). The light-duty Titan will be built at Nissan’s Canton, MS, plant and its V8 will be assembled at the company’s engine plant in Decherd, TN.
The light-truck chassis shuffle also includes Nissan's full-size SUVs. The 2017 Armada abandons the Titan platform, jumping onto the company's global Patrol chassis. See http://articles.sae.org/14567/ .