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Nissan Titan: Testing Its Tailgating Chops

Either you love or hate full-size pickup trucks. My level of pickup passion at any given moment depends on whether or not I need one for a chore. When a Nissan Titan rolled onto my driveway last week, I happened to have some scaffolding from a home-renovation project that was filling up my dining area that needed to be returned. I already had paid an extra week’s rent because I couldn’t get it returned at job’s end. At that moment I was an unabashed big-pickup enthusiast. With that chore accomplished, though, not so much.

Because I so seldom drive a full-size truck, I’m not totally comfortable with piloting one on narrower downtown streets, or attempting to squeeze it into a standard parking spot in a packed lot. When I have a truck, most mornings I find myself plotting out the day as though I’m a UPS driver. I lay out a route minimizing my exposure to narrow streets and getting me to places I must go before the parking lots fill up. It’s exhausting.

I know I’m jeopardizing my man card by admitting I’m not a big-truck lover, but there it is. I’m not. I suffer from half-ton-phobia. Perhaps therapy would help: “Hi, I’m Russ. Big trucks give me the willies.”

Undeterred by my irrational apprehension, I was only too happy to accept the 2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X (at least it wasn’t the Titan XD that’s more than a foot longer) when it arrived, because it was the gateway to attending a Tennessee Titans game in Nashville last weekend. It was an event including a tailgating party before the game that we’d watch from Nissan’s suite at the Titan’s Nissan Stadium.

The Drive

Nissan’s idea was to put Titans in the hands of several automotive media journalists and have them drive the pickups to Nashville. In my case, that meant roughly a 350-mile slog from Greenville, SC to Music City. Within that drive, there probably aren’t more than 50 to 70 miles of straight, flat roads. In fact, although nearly the entire distance is on expressways, virtually 50 percent of the trip is comprised of ascending and descending mountains punctuated by corkscrew curves.

The Titan might not be well suited to crowded urban streets, but it was an overachiever on the mountainous 4-lanes this drive involved. Its seating height eased much of the stress associated with expressway traveling. Its ride quality was terrific. Its built-in navigation system was accurate and easy to use. And, its Rockford Fosgate premium audio system filled the cabin with rich sound.

More or less adhering to speed limits, the Titan, with its 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 and 7-speed automatic transmission, delivered just over 18 miles per gallon over the course of this uber mountainous drive requiring roughly five hours.

The Party

Nissan actually shuttled us from our hotel to the tailgating area just outside Nissan Stadium. There, we were greeted by several Titans and Titan XDs, tailgates dropped and piled high with food and drinks.

A few notable features qualify Titan as an ideal base for any tailgate party. Its soft-open tailgate is easily operated by just about anyone of any age. A convenient built-in step-up makes getting into and out of the cargo bed a snap. Its Utili-Track system makes quick work of securing anything from a BBQ grill to an ice chest. Electric appliances can operate on the 110V outlet located in the cargo bed. And finally, the available dual lockable in-bed storage boxes make excellent ice chests for assorted drinks.

The Final Score

No question, this event was a boondoggle of epic proportions. It did, however, illustrate the high tailgating acumen of Nissan Titan. And one personal observation: If you’re going to watch an NFL football game, there’s no better place to do it than in the suite of the stadium’s naming sponsor.

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Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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