First drive: 2017 Nissan Titan XD gasoline

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Off the road, we found the 2017 Titan XD in its Pro-4X package lived up to expectations in the dirt(Credit: Aaron Turpen / NewAtlas)

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Nissan just released the Titan XD in its gasoline format to the public and we got a chance to go hands-on with this huge pickup truck. After driving it both on and off the road, we found that it has qualities its diesel stablemate is missing.

Nissan unveiled the 2016 Titan XD at the New York auto show back in March. It was a surprise in that most were not expecting a Titan XD gasoline engine, as Nissan's marketing made it appear that the "XD" moniker would be exclusive to the Cummins-powered diesel heavy-duty half-ton. Instead, the same big truck with its heavy-duty build and design will also house a 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine. The same engine that powers the 2017 Nissan Armada.

We spent some time in the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with its V8 Cummins diesel at the first of the year and were impressed with the capabilities of this unusual pickup truck. The XD series sits somewhere in between a standard half-ton pickup truck and a three-quarter ton heavy-duty truck. Cargo and payload capacity is roughly the same as a standard half-ton truck whereas towing is well beyond what a half-ton can accomplish, but still less than the full capabilities of the usual three-quarter ton pickups in the heavy-duty category. Likewise, the pricing of the Nissan Titan XD is also somewhere in between those two segments.

The gasoline variant of the Titan XD utilizes a 5.6-liter V8 gas engine that outputs 390 horsepower (291 kW) and 401 pound-feet (544 Nm) of torque. This slightly higher-compression (11.2:1) engine (compared to the outgoing 5.6L) is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. It's marked apart from its diesel brethren by fender plates with "V8 Endurance" stamped in. Like its diesel counterpart, the Titan XD gasoline, as a heavy-duty vehicle per the EPA, is not required to undergo fuel economy testing.

Compared to the diesel option, the gas-powered Titan XD is about 700 lb (318 kg) lighter. This translates to slightly better hauling capacity, topping out at 2,594 pounds (1,177 kg) in some configurations. That's roughly 500 lb (227 kg) more than the diesel XD can carry. Towing, however, is a different story as the gasoline V8 is not as torquey as is the diesel, dropping the Titan XD gasoline-powered version to 11,270 lb (5,112 kg) versus the over 12,000 lb (5,443 kg) of the diesel.

The gasoline option isn't exactly a slouch, but there are advantages to diesel power. One of those is how well that pulling power motivates the truck under load, and we suspect that the gasoline version will have a tougher time getting a heavy load underway by comparison. However, we didn't get to tow with the gasoline XD this time to make sure.

One thing that the gasoline version of the Titan XD is head-and-shoulders over its Cummins-powered diesel brother with is acceleration. The diesel version of the XD is muscular, sure, but not very quick. We noted that in our full review. The gasoline version, by comparison, is very good off the line and feels more speedy. This is likely a combination of the truck's lighter weight and the faster power output a gasoline engine provides.

Off the road, we noted that the gasoline and diesel Titan XD are roughly the same in terms of capability. There are some advantages to either, depending on the terrain, but most owners won't likely encounter situations where one engine is significantly better than the other off the pavement. The Titan XD, especially in its Pro-4X package, has plenty of chops in walkabout.

The Titan XD series will be offered in regular, extended, and full crew cab configurations with bed lengths varying by cab option. Nissan has also announced a ground-breaking warranty for its trucks, which will include the Titan XD and standard Titan models. This is an expansion of the company's commercial vehicle warranty. It offers 5 years or 100,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage, which Nissan says is best-in-class.

The 2017 Titan XD gasoline variant will be priced at US$36,290 to start. The standard 2017 Titan gasoline model will begin at US$34,780 when it enters showrooms later this year.

Product Page: Titan XD

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