2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

Competing with big three U.S. automakers in the full-size pickup category is a challenge, but Nissan keeps on fighting. They have a new contender in the luxury division.

It sounds more like something on the wine list in a restaurant – Titan Platinum Reserve – but it’s Nissan’s entry in the luxury pickup game. Take a Titan with that fine V8 engine and heap on lots of luxury, but keep all the good ingredients of a work truck.

When you drive a premium pickup truck like this, you want people to know it, right? Well, the chrome on the tailgate is just a little too much, I think. But behind that tailgate is a well-thought-out cargo box. Protected, tie-down tracks to secure the load run the length of the bed. LED bed lighting is oversized for easy night work. The factory sprayed-on bed liner has a non-slip finish, and a weatherproof AC-power outlet is right at your fingertips. The tailgate is spring-loaded for gentle opening and easy closing.

You’re certainly pampered inside with an interior that’s on par with a luxury SUV. It’s all there, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, quilted two-tone leather seats that are heated and cooled, and premium sound.

The automatic is a silky smooth seven-speed with a trailer brake control right on the column-mounted shifter. The touchscreen for navigation and other functions is smaller than most but works just fine.

Choosing a crew-cab version provides lots of room for row two passengers and they get their own AC-power outlet and heated seats.

Now, more about that V8. It’s 5.6 liters with 390 horsepower. To get a diesel, you need to buy the larger Titan XD.

Towing and payload capacities are slightly below the competition. Where it really trails them is in the handling department. The Titan drives like big trucks of years ago, while other brands have greatly improved on-road manners.

So for the 2017 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve four-wheel-drive, I say thumbs up to value, power and comfort; thumbs down to clumsy handling.

I averaged about 16 miles per gallon. The as-tested sticker is $56,357.

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