2016 Nissan Titan XD
by John Davis
One of the main reasons American roads are filled with light duty full-size pickup trucks is that, for today’s consumers, these once-workhorses are just as suitable for personal use as they are for daily chores. Indeed, in many towns you are likely to find more big pickups in the mall parking lot than at all the local worksites combined. Still, that doesn’t mean the public doesn’t expect all full-size trucks to be hard workers when needed. So it’s no surprise that there is an almost never ending barrage of claims about higher cargo and towing capacities from truck manufacturers.
Nissan has been in the full-size pickup market with its American-made Titan since the 2004 model year. But, while that first generation Titan was a comfortable truck, it just didn’t measure up to the market leaders when it came to work ethic. That is now being corrected with a new generation Titan, and most notably with its most able model, the Cummins V8 turbo-diesel powered Titan XD.
The new Cummins diesel power allows the Titan XD to straddle the traditional “light duty” and “heavy duty” pickup divide. This “in-betweener” is also vastly improved in all areas, and that bodes well for other Titan models that will shortly follow.
As for the optional Cummins engine in the XD, it’s a 5.0-liter turbo V8 that clatters up 555 lb-ft. of torque and 310-horsepower. So, it’s not the same Cummins found in Ram heavy duty’s. That one’s a much larger inline-6. The XD’s transmission is a 6-speed Aisin automatic, and four-wheel-drive is available.
Towing capacity is 12,300-lbs, or right about where light duties end and heavy duties begin. The only other full-size light duty diesel, the Ram 1500, tows 9,200.
In order to get that added capability, besides the V8 diesel, XDs get a new fully-boxed, commercially capable frame that extends the wheelbase around 20-inches. Other upgraded parts include a new rear axle with higher rated leaf springs, reinforced front suspension, beefier brakes, additional cooling for both the engine and transmission, and a choice of 17, 18, or 20-inch wheels.
Looking the heavy duty part won’t necessarily increase your productivity, but it sure does help with your street, or hardware store, cred. And here the XD mostly succeeds. The front end is big and bold, sides tidy, and rear industrial grade looking. Other goodies such as LED bed rail lighting, integrated gooseneck hitch, backup camera with trailer guide, and trailer brake controller help as well.
Whether it’s just for short trips to the job site, or long haul tows, no one wants to spend time in an uncomfortable interior. No worries there, especially in full-tilt Platinum Reserve trim which includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio, premium leather seating, wood and metallic trim, heated seats and steering wheel; as well as some added flash to the exterior. But, all new Titans get a roomier interior; with a more functional layout, increased storage space, and very comprehensive gauges.
For our exclusive test of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3519 that begins airing on January 16, 2016. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
Nissan’s choice of the 2016 XD diesel to spearhead the launch of the second generation Titan makes one thing clear: Despite the domestic dominance of the full-size truck market, Nissan is not quitting, and in fact has found a way to cover a niche that their bigger rivals have ignored.