2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6L 4×4
The Titan XD, intended to be a tweener model slotting into the gap between traditional half-ton pickups and heavy-duty models, initially was offered only with a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel V-8 from the Indiana-based engine supplier that is better known for providing diesel engines for semis and Ram pickups.
But more choice is always better in the pickup market (although the Titan XD remains Crew Cab only), and the Titan XD can’t hinge its entire lineup on the costly Cummins. Starting at $36,485—that’s $5000 less than the diesel V-8 version—the XD with a gasoline V-8 will also make its way into the more conventional half-ton Titan that goes on sale later this year.
True heavy-duty truck
Despite its lower mass, the gasoline-powered Titan XD fell short of its diesel sibling in skidpad and braking evaluations. Blame the Pro-4X’s off-road-oriented extras, especially the knobby General Grabber APT tires. The 205 feet it took for the gas XD to stop from 70 mph is more toward the realm of true heavy-duty trucks than light-duty ones. And the soft, vague feel of the brake pedal did not inspire confidence on the road.
This all adds up to a truck that’s about as unwieldy to drive as are the more capable 2500 models from the domestic automakers. Lazy, uncommunicative steering and a long front overhang make it difficult to place the Titan XD in tight spaces, although its 360-degree camera system and parking sensors do help some. We also noticed floatiness from the front suspension and that the steering requires regular corrections on the highway, although that undoubtedly was made worse by the off-road rubber.
We’d be more willing to forgive this Titan’s cumbersome dynamics if it provided capability like heavy-duty trucks, but HD pickups from General Motors, Ram, and Ford all provide greater maximum towing and payload capacities than either Titan XD. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500, for instance, tops out at 18,000 pounds of towing capacity, while the Ram 2500 can tow up to 17,980.
More surprisingly, several half-ton pickup trucks, all of which are easier to drive and more refined than the Nissan, match or beat the Titan XD gasoline V-8’s towing numbers. Several versions of the Ford F-150, for instance, are rated to tow 12,000 pounds, as are certain configurations of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. And those trucks make certain day-to-day tasks easier, too. Based on this author’s experience using the Titan XD to move furniture, its tall ride height and high bedsides make it more difficult to load cargo than it would be in a standard pickup. The steep climb into the cabin can be a chore, as well—making accessories such as step rails ($420) and a rear-bumper step assist ($245) well worth the price. The Titan’s extra wheelbase compared with light-duty trucks also doesn’t appear to give it more rear-seat room; the Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and Toyota Tundra crew cabs all boast more maximum rear legroom than the Titan’s 38.5 inches.
Value for Money
Our test truck was just about as fully loaded as a Titan XD Pro-4X can be, for a total price of $53,085. Equipment is generous for that money, as it should be, including heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery, an upgraded audio system, and cargo-bed extras including tie-down cleats, storage boxes, and a system of tracks for strapping things down. And while our truck came equipped with a relatively run-of-the-mill interior with plenty of black plastic, a committed spender could push the Titan XD into the $60,000 luxo-truck game by choosing its more gussied-up Platinum Reserve trim level that’s loaded with chrome, fancier two-tone leather, and open-pore wood trim. On the other side of the spectrum, more work-truck-like S and SV trim levels sit at the bottom of the XD range, and a leather-clad but not over-the-top SL model nestles between the Pro-4X and the Platinum Reserve.
Nissan’s newest Titan XD lays to rest any lingering ideas that the Japanese can’t engineer a “real” truck. It’s large enough and brash enough to be considered a true brute, and it’s built on our soil, in Canton, Mississippi. But it’s Nissan’s own claim of the Titan XD as an “Every Duty” truck that’s questionable. Less capable than true heavy-duty trucks and more bulky than light-duty trucks, the Titan XD seems like a compromise on both fronts. Its in-between status may be right for some buyers, but it’s hard to imagine the Titan luring many people away from Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Ram showrooms—especially without the Cummins V-8 diesel’s extra appeal.