Additional engine choices and updated features should transform the 2016 Nissan Titan from also-ran to legitimate contender among full-size pickups.
Powerful new diesel V8 engine; new V6 confirmed for later availability; updated interior; variety of frame, cab, trim and bed length configurations.
More towing ability than standard half-ton pickups, but less than established heavy-duty rivals; diesel engine only available on XD model.
The 2016 Nissan Titan gets a much-needed redesign that includes new body styles and an optional 5.0-liter diesel engine.
Given the brand loyalty of American truck buyers, Detroit truckmakers could likely raise a standing army through a simple Twitter plea. Depending on brand, 30-40 percent of truck buyers return for a new model from their favorite brand (the Chevrolet Silverado engenders the fiercest support). Toyota and Nissan, try as they may, haven't significantly broken this bond. Nissan will make another attempt with the 2016 Nissan Titan, however, seeking to expand the truck's fan base with a thorough overhaul and additional features.
Chief among those changes: a diesel V8 and a V6 option. The current Titan only offers a 5.6-liter V8 and, at 15 mpg combined, a not particularly fuel-efficient one. The 2016 Titan will first launch with the long-wheelbase XD Crew Cab model, sporting a new look and fitted with a Cummins turbodiesel V8 engine. The XD aims to split the difference in towing capacity, fuel economy and ride comfort offered by the current crop of light-duty and heavy-duty pickups.
A non-XD version will arrive a few months after the XD's launch.
How Is It Different?
The 2016 Titan XD will use a fortified version of the beefy, fully boxed frame that carries the current Titan. It will borrow front wishbone suspension components from Nissan's commercial van and truck lineup, with a solid rear axle supported by leaf springs and staggered rear dampers. A gooseneck "fifth-wheel" trailer hitch will be an available factory option on XD models.
Details and specs on non-XD models haven't been released yet, although we expect light revisions to the existing frame and chassis, and more significant changes for the V8 and transfer case.
What Will Make It Go?
For now, Nissan is only talking about the new 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8, which is only available on XD models. With 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque available at a low 1,600 rpm, the twin-turbo V8 developed by Cummins promises beefy grunt and impressive fuel economy. It will pair with a six-speed automatic transmission and claim the middle ground between its light- and heavy-duty competitors.
Ram, for example, offers both a 3.0-liter V6 diesel rated at 420 lb-ft of torque and a burly 6.7-liter diesel that produces 660 lb-ft (or up to 800 lb-ft with an automatic transmission). Nissan is banking on the Titan connecting with buyers who need big towing and payload capability without the heavy-duty commitment. A properly equipped Titan XD can tow more than 12,000 pounds and will have a payload capacity greater than 2,000 pounds, Nissan claims.
The Titan will be available in 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, and an electronic locking rear differential will be available for trail duty.
The Titan XD's mass (more than 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating) exempts it from EPA fuel economy testing. Nissan isn't disclosing the XD's fuel efficiency but says it expects the diesel V8 to surpass the fuel economy of its competitors' gasoline V8 engines, even when unloaded.
What Kind of Trim Levels and Features Are There?
The 2016 Nissan Titan will be available in two frame sizes (the larger called "XD"), three cab configurations (King, Crew and Standard), five trim levels and three bed lengths. Non-XD models will be about 20 inches shorter in wheelbase than the XD Titan.
Some feature highlights include LED headlights and bed lighting, removable locking in-bed storage boxes, a damped tailgate opening and a household-style power outlet in the bed. Inside the cabin, expect optional heated and ventilated front and rear seats, leather upholstery and a 7-inch display for navigation and entertainment.
The Titan will also offer safety features including blind spot warning, front and rear sensors, a 360-degree view camera with trailer guides when backing up, and hill ascent/descent control. A host of towing aids will also be available, including trailer brake control, sway control and a trailer light-check system that allows a solo driver to confirm from inside the cabin if trailer lights are working.
How Much, and When Is It Available?
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD should arrive at dealers late this year. Pricing has not been announced, but should fall roughly between the current Titan and the heavy-duty variants of competitors like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-Series.
With the Detroit Three holding sway over most full-size truck buyers and Toyota building a constituency, Nissan thinks there's still room for the Titan. It faces stiff competition, however.
Non-XD models will have to contend with choices like the Ram 1500, which offers a smooth-riding coil spring suspension and a top-quality interior, and the Ford F-150 and its fuel-thrifty EcoBoost engine option. The Titan XD, meanwhile, has formidable challengers that include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty models.
Check back for a full review of the Nissan Titan, including driving impressions, specs and buying advice as it becomes available.