One sure way to generate some buzz with truck buyers is to create a brightly highlighted concept pickup with alternative styling. We've seen it a number of times over the past few years. Chevy did it in LA 2014 with the ZR2; Hyundai spiced up Detroit 2015 with the Santa Cruz pickup; and Renault showed the Alaskan last September. The trend continues at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, where Nissan celebrates the recent market launch of the new Titan XD with the Titan Warrior Concept, a stylish truck that's ready to be commanded through off-road battle.
Starting where it left off with the Project Titan truck, Nissan explores a more aggressive, athletic pickup for on and off road. Nissan says the concept name was inspired by "warriors in ancient Greek mythology," but we're guessing the Project Titan's participation in the Wounded Warrior Project helped a little, too.
The biggest change from the base Titan XD Crew Cab to Titan Warrior is a full suspension overhaul. Up front, Nissan has mounted custom upper and lower control arms with performance ball joints and racing-style internal bypass reservoir coilover shocks. The rear system gets custom internal bypass reservoir shocks, adjusted-length prototype axles, a custom sway bar, and rear lift blocks and U-bolts. Nissan has also added front and rear hydraulic pressurized bump stops.
The Warrior maintains the stock truck's length and wheelbase but has an increased height (81.5 in from 78.7 in) and width (86.6 in from 80.6 in). The truck stands on 37-in off-road tires beaded to 18-in custom alloy wheels.
When filling in the space inside those taller, wider dimensions, Nissan Design America worked from the vision of robotic "modern armor," squaring off the edges and penning a tougher, more high-tech look. When comparing the Warrior with the production Titan XD, that inspiration is apparent in the more precisely carved fenders, distinctive front and rear LED lighting, bumper-integrated quad-tip exhaust and reworked aerodynamics. Magma Orange and black highlights add some pop against the custom "Thunder" matte-gunmetal paint.
Perhaps the Titan Warrior's most interesting visible attribute is the roof-integrated off-road LED lighting. We're quite used to seeing show trucks with roof lights, especially when the SEMA Show rolls through town, but they're typically add-on components, not cleanly integrated factory lights.
The Titan Warrior is driven by the 310-hp/555-lb ft 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel and Aisin automatic transmission of the Titan XD it's based on. Aerodynamics get a modest boost from added components like the cab and tailgate spoilers.
Nissan's concept is all "weekend warrior" on the outside, but the interior is more a soldier of the 9-to-5.
"Today's truck enthusiasts don't just use their trucks for weekend adventures, they do double-duty as daily drivers," says Nissan executive VP José Muñoz. "Therefore, the concept's interior reflects a premium outdoor lifestyle, closer in look and content to a new Titan XD Platinum Reserve model than a stripped-down pre-runner."
That interior includes a custom steering wheel milled from an aluminum block, hot-and-cold drink holders in the center console, toggle switches for the off-road equipment, and auxiliary gauges. Carbon fiber, chrome and leather trim help create an upscale feel, and Magma Orange highlights tie the look together with the exterior.
Off-road truck concepts have a way of being thoroughly watered down before coming to market, if they make it to market at all. Nissan doesn't outline any specific plans for the Warrior, but Munoz says, "Even though our all-new 2016 Titan XD just started arriving at Nissan dealers nationwide last month, we are already exploring new territory where Titan might go in the future."
Sounds like the recipe for a very watered down Warrior, if one appears at all.
Whatever the Warrior's fate, the Titan is destined to explore new territory with an expanding family. With the V8 turbodiesel-powered Titan XD Crew Cab now at dealerships, Nissan is shifting focus to the upcoming variants that will help build a three-cab, three-powertrain, two-frame-size lineup. The 390-hp gas Endurance V8-powered Titan and Titan XD models will start rolling out in early spring of 2016 (Northern Hemisphere).