Automotive

Review: 2016 Nissan Titan XD takes no prisoners

Review: 2016 Nissan Titan XD t...
The announcement that Nissan was planning a heavy-duty half-ton truck and doing so in partnership with Cummins for a huge diesel powerplant was a shock to truck fans
The announcement that Nissan was planning a heavy-duty half-ton truck and doing so in partnership with Cummins for a huge diesel powerplant was a shock to truck fans
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The Titan XD has a hauling capacity of up to 2,091 pounds and towing of up to 12,314 pounds (948 and 5,585 kilos)
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The Titan XD has a hauling capacity of up to 2,091 pounds and towing of up to 12,314 pounds (948 and 5,585 kilos)
This is truly the Titan among trucks, with a bigger size, heavier footprint, and more powerful diesel engine than any other half-ton pickup on the market
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This is truly the Titan among trucks, with a bigger size, heavier footprint, and more powerful diesel engine than any other half-ton pickup on the market
The 2016 Titan XD is available only as a crew cab with a 6.5-foot (1.98 meter) bed
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The 2016 Titan XD is available only as a crew cab with a 6.5-foot (1.98 meter) bed
The lower-end Titan XD S model begins the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) at $40,290 and the top-level Platinum Reserve finishes at $57,470
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The lower-end Titan XD S model begins the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) at $40,290 and the top-level Platinum Reserve finishes at $57,470
Its weight class makes the Titan XD exempt from Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy measurement requirements, so there are no officially published numbers for the truck
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Its weight class makes the Titan XD exempt from Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy measurement requirements, so there are no officially published numbers for the truck
Out on the road, unladen, the Titan XD drives well, with a smooth and well-mannered feel on the highway
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Out on the road, unladen, the Titan XD drives well, with a smooth and well-mannered feel on the highway
The announcement that Nissan was planning a heavy-duty half-ton truck and doing so in partnership with Cummins for a huge diesel powerplant was a shock to truck fans
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The announcement that Nissan was planning a heavy-duty half-ton truck and doing so in partnership with Cummins for a huge diesel powerplant was a shock to truck fans
There are five trim levels available of which Gizmag drove the top-most Platinum Reserve package
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There are five trim levels available of which Gizmag drove the top-most Platinum Reserve package
For the heavy hauler who doesn’t necessarily need a lot of cargo capacity or the costs associated with the typical three-quarter ton truck, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD hits the mark
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For the heavy hauler who doesn’t necessarily need a lot of cargo capacity or the costs associated with the typical three-quarter ton truck, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD hits the mark
A new design from Cummins, the engine in the Nissan Titan XD is a 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel that produces 310 horsepower (231 kW) and a phenomenal 555 pound-feet (752 Nm) of torque
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A new design from Cummins, the engine in the Nissan Titan XD is a 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel that produces 310 horsepower (231 kW) and a phenomenal 555 pound-feet (752 Nm) of torque
The interior of the 2016 Titan XD is a new design for the company, but has many similarities with market leaders like the Ford F-Series and General Motors trucks
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The interior of the 2016 Titan XD is a new design for the company, but has many similarities with market leaders like the Ford F-Series and General Motors trucks
Big, beefy, and flat are the design elements used inside the Titan XD
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Big, beefy, and flat are the design elements used inside the Titan XD
Notable to Titan fans will be the move from a dash-mounted shift lever to a column shifter
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Notable to Titan fans will be the move from a dash-mounted shift lever to a column shifter
In five-person seating arrangements (front buckets), the space between the seats is dominated by a huge, deep storage compartment that is larger than most studio apartments in Hong Kong
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In five-person seating arrangements (front buckets), the space between the seats is dominated by a huge, deep storage compartment that is larger than most studio apartments in Hong Kong
An integrated trailer braking control is standard, located at the bottom of the central dash cluster just below the climate controls
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An integrated trailer braking control is standard, located at the bottom of the central dash cluster just below the climate controls

The Nissan Titan XD is truly a Titan among trucks, with a bigger size, heavier footprint, and more powerful diesel engine than any other half-ton pickup on the market. Is more really better, though? Gizmag spent a week in the 2016 Titan XD shortly after it entered production to learn what this truck is really made for (and of).

When Nissan announced its plans to revamp the Titan pickup last year, many were skeptical as to whether the lowest-selling half-ton pickup on the market would even continue production. The announcement that Nissan was planning a heavy-duty half-ton truck and doing so in partnership with Cummins for a huge diesel powerplant was a shock to truck fans. Other companies had toyed with the idea of a HD half-ton, but few saw the market potential in it. Nissan seems to think there is a big niche of waiting consumers, though, and has gone ahead with the Titan XD project.

In our assessment, there is indeed a market for a truck like this. The gap between the capabilities of a typical half-ton truck and a three-quarter ton heavy-duty truck has been widening for years as one remained relatively stagnant and the other became ever larger and more powerful. The Nissan Titan XD is meant to fill that gap, offering the efficiencies of a half-ton and some of the more desirable capabilities of a heavy-duty truck. The Titan XD has a hauling capacity of up to 2,091 pounds and towing of up to 12,314 pounds (948 and 5,585 kg). That's cargo carrying about on par with a typical half-ton gasoline-powered pickup and just beneath the towing of a heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks.

There are five trim levels available of which Gizmag drove the top-most Platinum Reserve package
There are five trim levels available of which Gizmag drove the top-most Platinum Reserve package

The 2016 Titan XD is available only as a crew cab with a 6.5-foot (1.98 meter) bed with an available integrated gooseneck trailer hitch and tie-downs. Rear-wheel or four-wheel drive are available and the only engine option is the V8 Cummins. There are five trim levels available of which Gizmag drove the top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve package. The lower-end Titan XD S model begins the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) at US$40,290 and the top-level Platinum Reserve finishes at US$57,470.

The biggest story behind the 2016 Titan XD is the partnership made with Cummins to apply the big V8 diesel to the truck. A new design from Cummins, the engine is a 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel that produces 310 horsepower (231 kW) and a phenomenal 555 lb-ft (752 Nm) of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission built by Aisin is standard equipment in both the rear-wheel and four-wheel drive variants. The engine utilizes several well-considered technologies to keep itself lightweight and powerful. Weighing less than 1,000 pounds in all, the Cummins V8 uses a multi-stage turbocharger, strong cooling including intercooling for the turbo, and high-pressure fuel injection which helps prevent diesel fuel gelling in cold weather.

A new design from Cummins, the engine in the Nissan Titan XD is a 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel that produces 310 horsepower (231 kW) and a phenomenal 555 pound-feet (752 Nm) of torque
A new design from Cummins, the engine in the Nissan Titan XD is a 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel that produces 310 horsepower (231 kW) and a phenomenal 555 pound-feet (752 Nm) of torque

Underneath and around that big engine and drivetrain is a heavily reinforced, heavy-duty frame and suspension made to handle the rough towing that the Titan XD is made for. What is a pleasant surprise, though, is how smooth and well-mannered that heavy frame and suspension are when driving the Titan XD on the highway without cargo weight. Typically, a heavy-duty truck is less than comfortable at highway speeds when unladen. Not so with the Titan XD. Nissan has perfected heavy chassis design with its commercial vans and that definitely shows here.

Because the Titan XD is exempt from Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy measurement requirements, there are no officially published numbers for the truck. In our use over the week, we averaged just under 18 mpg all told. We expect that most users who drive empty most of the time and tow heavy loads for about ten percent of their usage will see about the same.

The interior of the 2016 Titan XD is a new design for the company, but has many similarities with market leaders like the Ford F-Series and General Motors trucks. Big, beefy, and flat are the key design elements. Notable to Titan fans will be the move from a dash-mounted shift lever to a column shifter. It retains its substantial, big-grip presence and adds manual shifting buttons for moving up and down the gears. On its end is a Tow-Haul button for toggling this mode, which changes transmission vectoring, sway control in the braking system, and a few other things for towing.

In five-person seating arrangements (front buckets), the space between the seats is dominated by a huge, deep storage compartment that is larger than most studio apartments in Hong Kong
In five-person seating arrangements (front buckets), the space between the seats is dominated by a huge, deep storage compartment that is larger than most studio apartments in Hong Kong

An integrated trailer braking control is standard, located at the bottom of the central dash cluster just below the climate controls. This is another improvement over past Titan designs in which the trailer brake controls were often located right about where the driver's knee wanted to be. In five-person seating arrangements (front buckets), the space between the seats is dominated by a huge, deep storage compartment that is larger than most studio apartments in Hong Kong.

One complaint about the Titan XD's interior is button size on the dash. The layout is very well done and everything is easy to find and read, but if you're wearing work gloves or your hands are cold and numb from working in the field, some of those dials and buttons suddenly seem very tiny and delicate.

Overall space inside the 2016 Nissan Titan XD is very good, though, with plenty of head, leg, and knee room at all locations in the cabin. A driver or front passenger who's over six feet in height can wear a cowboy hat without scraping the roof (yes, we tested this). In the rear, passengers over six feet will find themselves able to sit and ride comfortably, no matter the size of the person in front of them. All good signs in a full-sized truck.

The lower-end Titan XD S model begins the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) at $40,290 and the top-level Platinum Reserve finishes at $57,470
The lower-end Titan XD S model begins the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) at $40,290 and the top-level Platinum Reserve finishes at $57,470

Out on the road, unladen, the Titan XD drives well, with a smooth and well-mannered feel on the highway. Its bulky size is readily apparent when driving around town or maneuvering in a parking lot, of course, and narrow streets will not be the Titan's friend. That is par for the course in full-sized trucks in the main. When loaded, the Titan XD drives well and has even better suspension characteristics. We hauled furniture in the truck (roughly 1,000 pounds) and it felt good with that weight.

When towing, the Titan XD really comes into its sweet spot. Towing a gooseneck trailer laden will bulls at roughly 9,300 pounds (4,200 kg) in total, the Titan XD did very well. It climbed hills and made highway speeds without much fuss and the braking system (triggered by tapping the brakes twice), including engine retarders and other smart gadgets, kept it at speed on the downhill side. When towing from the ball hitch with a trailer and cargo weighing about 3,000 pounds with roughly a third of that on the tongue, the Titan XD barely noticed anything was back there. Sway control and traction were good in both towing tests.

For the heavy hauler who doesn't necessarily need a lot of cargo capacity or the costs associated with the typical three-quarter ton truck, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD hits the mark. Of course, some buyers will want the Titan XD purely for bragging rights, but the Cummins engine's quiet nature and the solid, unshaking demeanor of the truck at idle may put off some of those swagger buyers. As a true working truck, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD is a solid choice that hits a niche which could prove profitable for the company as a means towards finally making inroads into the full-sized truck market.

Product Page: Nissan Titan XD

13 comments
Peter Kelly
And people are moaning about VW emissions...!
KevB
More US typical gas guzzling, carbon belching, ego boosting, planet eating heaps of metal nobody needs or can practically park anywhere! This waste of material is so yesterday when other vehicle companies are actually trying to make an effort by listening to customer's needs and figuring out intelligent transportation solutions for planet Earth's survival. This article does nothing to impress, what I assumed, the majority of Gizmag readers look for.
hkmk23
Well I for one sometimes move my 2 tonne mini digger on my trailer...and up to 3 tonnes of sand and gravel....so it looks good to me, I live in France so I use a V10 Touareg.....nothing else will pull those weights and be useful around town. Oh and 25mpg (tank full and tank topped up - not fancy advert figures) and a max speed on the autobahn of 255km/h yes 255 (only once though - it frightened me to death).....
Mel Tisdale
Further to Peter Kelly and KevB Sometimes I wonder if 'Paris' was all a dream. What we should be getting excited about is fuel efficiency, not power and torque and consequent maximum speed and 0 to 60 times. We cannot hope to win the battle against Global Warming if we carry on with the same old same old attitudes. It isn't as though the information on the topic is difficult to find. Try skepticalscience.com and Open Mind at https://tamino.wordpress.com/ for starters. It would be nice to see the media take a lead on this matter.
Michael Wilson
Mileage isn't bad, but isn't great either. My father's own 5.9l cummins gets a hair above 20-22mpg unladen in a 3/4 ton chassis, so 18mpg with all the advancements in diesel technology is so-so. Having a built-in exhaust brake and sway control is a nice, needed feature though. The size is between that of a 3/4 ton and a 1/2 ton vehicle, but Nissan has their work cut out for them. In parts of the US, where such a vehicle is necessary, it is generally ruled by domestic companies for good reason. They make pretty good trucks. Being a v8 (more moving parts) and its slightly below average fuel consumption, combined with its smaller size, puts it at a disadvantage when put up against Chrysler's newer offerings with their v6 pentastar diesel. Towing and hauling capacity are both good though. I'd like it for me, but still a little too big. Give me a 1/4 to 1/2 ton chassis with a 4cyl or 6cyl turbo diesel making around 200-220hp and 300-400tq capable of hauling 6000-8000lbs and getting mid to high 20's in the mpg range unladen and you can practically take my money. It can be a 4x4 or not. As for other commenters, spoken like folks who have never worked a day in their life, shouting comments from across the internet, like armchair quarterbacks who have never broken a real sweat....
Mel Tisdale
@ Michael Wilson Spoken like someone who doesn't have kids, or if they do, has a funny way of caring for their future.
cazin678
LOL- that's precious, Michael... Spoken like a dude who lives in his mommy's basement and resents that no one cares what he thinks about anything.... Try getting a lesson in physics before you bore us with your "wants" again- Nissan has presented an excellent vehicle here, your daddy's Dodge is probably 20 yrs old by now- move out so he can afford to buy a Nissan
Michael Wilson
VW got a ding on their emissions because they cheated the system. All diesels sold in the US now must undergo a certification process concerning their pollutant output. They typically carry a particulate filter, catalytic converter and urea tank. VW skirted the system by foregoing the urea system claiming that their diesels did not pollute as much. Of course, we now know they were lying. Even large diesels like these have the same filters and anti-pollution devices in place. Large=/ dirty. Go do your research VW cheated to try and keep costs down and it wound up costing them dearly.
Aaron Turpen
Vehicles over 8,500 pounds GVW are exempt from posting estimated MPG requirements per the EPA. They are not exempt from emissions laws. The Nissan Titan XD utilizes both urea treatment (filler is next to the fuel port) and particulate filters. Even big rigs hauling 40,000-plus pounds on the freeway have emissions requirements. In my mind, those who cry about "gas guzzling" (even though this is a diesel) and low MPG returns with a vehicle like this truck are clueless about what this truck is for. Can your Prius tow a 12,000 pound trailer? No. So it can be capable of 53 mpg, but not of hauling heavy loads. I happen to live where people use heavy trucks like this daily. To haul stuff. Just because you don't see it in downtown LA doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
RangerJones
I'm a petroleum engineer and I have to move heavy loads all the time. Everyone is not an office boy. Sheesh I didn't know this was a pulpit to dictate to others what to do with their own money,,,But then I have calluses on my hands so what do I know.