Truck Scene 2017

March 1st, 2017

By Don Armstrong

Trucks and SUV’s are now outselling cars and manufacturers are doubling down variety. This month we focus on a car-based, light duty hauler and a gutsy bruiser that could be your new catamaran tug.

The 2017 Nissan TITAN XD and TITAN Single Cab models are the first-ever single cab offering in TITAN history. The trucks are designed to provide an affordable and rugged entry-point in the commercial fleet/work truck market.

Nissan Titan XD single cab diesel
The Titan XD could be classified as a “tweener,” with price and capability that fits between a standard ½ ton and a heavy duty ¾ ton pickup. The base version XD gets a 5.6-liter V-8 but the optional, purpose-built 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 diesel delivers 555 lb-ft of torque to pull up to 12,300 pounds. The engine’s grunt is delivered to all-four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel drive is standard.

The 2017 Nissan TITAN King Cab is marked by its available 6-person seating, wide-opening rear doors and available “rear seat delete” option that is ideal for commercial use with its flat floor and secure in-cab storage space.

The XD offers similar interior option packages as the regular Titan. A crew cab edition arrives at dealers later this year. So, for now anyway, only a single cab model is available. I don’t know about you, but what was once the only cab size available, today looks out of place among the popular 4-door versions.

Our Titan XD single cab came with the long bed that was equipped with Nissan’s Utili-track system that offers a variety of cleats and tie-downs. Handy, under-bed rail and tailgate lighting is a terrific option and one that every trucker will appreciate.

Nissan Titan XD pricing starts at $34,780

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Honda Ridgeline
Car-based, truck-like utility vehicles have been around since the 1930s. You may be familiar with the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino. Chevy ended its foray into this design in the late 80s, Ford in the 70s. Fast forward to this century when Honda decided it was time to pick up the baton and build the Ridgeline.

The second generation, 2017 Honda Ridgeline continues the tradition of the first but with more truck swagger and all the sought-after features that make this crossover so appealing. Crossover? Yes. It’s built on the same platform as the Honda Pilot CUV.

2017 Honda Ridgeline

With a sealed and lockable in-bed trunk, a dual-function tailgate, rear seat and 4-doors, this Ridgeline is like the Swiss Army knife of pick-ups. However, hauling and towing capacity is limited to about 1,500 lbs.

The ride quality and interior is that of the Pilot, nice, but depending on option choices, you could be pushing the price into the full-size truck category.

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline starts at $29,475. A Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew cab starts at $31,610.

Truckin’ Texas Style

November 1st, 2015

2016 Nissan TITAN XDAll-new Nissan Titan XD wins prestigious award

By Don Armstrong

Winning the 2015 Truck of Texas trophy from the Texas Auto Writers Association is serious business for manufacturers. Once a year, all of the players gather at the Knibbe Ranch to battle it out to see who’ll take home the big cup. This year, the nod goes to Nissan for taking home gold with the all-new Nissan Titan XD.

2016 Nissan Titan XDMore than just a new model, the 2016 Nissan TITAN XD stakes out a unique position in the segment between traditional heavy-duty and light-duty entries. The bold new design combines the capability of a heavy-duty hauler with the drivability and affordability of a light-duty pickup. The truck is powered by a 310-horsepower Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel that delivers 555-lb.ft. of torque and mated to a heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission – a combination worthy of another TAWA award, Best Powertrain.

The 2016 TITAN XD is offered in five grade levels: S, SV, SL, Platinum Reserve and the off-road-ready PRO-4X. For those that want nothing less than top-of-the-line, the Platinum Reserve is a new trim level for Nissan and one deserving of yet another award, Luxury Pick-up of Texas.

2016 Nissan Titan XDThe new TITAN comes with available towing, utility features and driving aids, including an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check system that allows one-person hook-up operation – including checking turn signals, brake lights and running/clearance lights.

Assisting trailer hook-ups is Titan’s Rearview Monitor with Trailer Guides, while the available Around View® Monitor (AVM) provides a unique “bird’s eye” view of the surrounding area to help with parking and pulling in and out of tight spaces. The system also includes Moving Object Detection (MOD). Helping TITAN XD owners take advantage of its ample towing power are two available hitches – including an integrated gooseneck hitch engineered into the frame and easily accessible in the bed.
“This was the largest Truck Rodeo in the history of TAWA,” said Mike Marrs, president, TAWA. “We had 69 journalists evaluating 80 vehicles. To win on this stage, with this level of competition is an accomplishment Nissan should be very proud of.”

Neither pricing nor fuel economy figures were available at the time of this writing but you can bet on both being in line with the competition.

Ford, Chevy, Ram and Toyota, look out, here comes Nissan.