Used 2016 Nissan Titan XD Diesel Review
Have you been searching for a gasoline- or diesel-powered crew-cab pickup that's more capable than a half-ton truck but less brutish and expensive than the latest crop of heavy-duty 250- and 2500-series pickups? Or maybe you like the idea of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel but wish it towed and hauled a bit more? Either way, we think the 2016 Nissan Titan XD is worth a serious look and serves an untapped middle ground. Read on to learn how the new Titan XD can fit your needs.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is an all-new gasoline or diesel-powered large truck with more towing and hauling capability than regular "half-ton" pickups. But although it qualifies for heavy-duty status, it's not quite a direct rival to established HD trucks from Ford, Ram and General Motors. Instead, the crew-cab Titan XD aims for a middle ground that has emerged as those products have moved upmarket. If you want to save some money but need something stronger than the half-ton Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, this Nissan is designed to hit the spot.
Some might find the 2016 Nissan Titan XD's front-end styling a bit challenging, but its capabilities command respect.
The Titan XD is technically a heavy-duty pickup because its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeds 8,500 pounds, thanks to beefy components previously developed and proven in Nissan's NV line of commercial vans. For XD duty, the fully boxed ladder frame was modified and stretched to a 151.6-inch wheelbase that can accommodate the standard crew-cab layout and a 6.5-foot bed. Interestingly, heavy-duty trucks are legally bound to a bed length of at least 6 feet, which is why the XD doesn't offer a shorter bed like regular-duty crew cabs. This works out better in terms of versatility, but the end result is a truck that's about as unwieldy as 2500-series crew-cab models, measuring more than 20 feet from nose to tail.
The standard engine is a thoroughly reworked and modernized version of Nissan's 5.6-liter gasoline V8, which now makes 390 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. But the XD's most notable available feature is the brand-new Cummins 5.0-liter V8 diesel engine, which makes 310 hp and a whopping 555 lb-ft of torque. That's less output than the heavy-duty diesels from Chevy, Ford and Ram, but considerably more than the Ram 1500's diesel V6 (240 hp and 420 lb-ft). By the numbers, the Ram 1500 diesel's towing capacity tops out at 8,870 pounds in crew cab form, while the typical 2500-series HD diesels can tow 14,000 to 17,000 pounds. There's a lot of room in between, and the 2016 Titan XD diesel exploits it with a healthy 12,314-pound maximum that might just be all you need.
Of course, it might also be more than you need, in which case the forthcoming regular-duty 2017 Nissan Titan could be a better fit. Aside from slightly slimmer front-end styling (because the hefty diesel V8 won't be offered) and an available 5.5-foot short bed, the half-ton Titan will look similar and come with basically the same interior. As for closer Titan XD rivals, the abovementioned Ram 1500 EcoDiesel remains your only choice for diesel power in a regular-duty truck, while the recently redesigned Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and the tried-and-true Ram 2500 and Ford F-250 offer mega-capable diesel engines. If something in the middle feels right to you, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD is a must-drive.
trim levels & features
Whether you choose the 5.6-liter gasoline V8 or the Cummins 5.0-liter V8 diesel, all 2016 Nissan Titan XD heavy-duty pickups come with a crew cab, a 6.5-foot bed and your choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. The crew cab can seat five or six, depending on trim and equipment. There are five trim levels: S, SV, Pro-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve.
The entry-level S work truck starts things off with 17-inch steel wheels, a lockable damped tailgate, a manual-sliding rear window, manual side mirrors and remote keyless entry. Inside you'll find power windows, air-conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a bench front seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks and cloth-and-vinyl upholstery. The audio system features a 5-inch color display and provides USB connectivity and an auxiliary audio jack. Buy the S Convenience and Utility package to add a spray-in bedliner, a front overhead console, a receiver hitch and a 7-pin wiring harness connector at the rear bumper.
The SV adds the overhead console as standard, and it also gets power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a few dabs of chrome, upgraded instrumentation, satellite radio, Siri Eyes-Free and NissanConnect mobile-app integration. The SV Tow Convenience package combines the S trim's optional receiver hitch and wiring harness connector with heated manually extendable tow mirrors, a trailer brake controller and an integrated gooseneck hitch.
Choose the comprehensive SV Comfort and Convenience package to get 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, foglights, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, a power-sliding rear window, step rails, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded cloth upholstery, heated front bucket seats with 10-way power adjustments for the driver (including power lumbar), dual-zone automatic climate control, a center console with rear power outlets and climate vents, a rearview camera and a 7-inch infotainment display with a navigation system. The SV Utility package adds a lockable storage box under the backseat, a Utili-Track bed rail system with four moveable tie-down cleats, LED cargo box illumination, the spray-in bedliner and a 120-volt in-bed power outlet.
Next up is the Titan Pro-4X, which receives dark-finished 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, off-road-tuned Bilstein shocks, a lockable rear differential, skid plates, hill descent control and special cloth-and-vinyl upholstery. The Pro-4X also boasts LED headlights, the spray-in bedliner, a towing package akin to that of the SV, voice controls and most of the equipment from the SV Comfort and Convenience package. The optional Pro-4X Convenience package builds from there with remote engine start, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, unique leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a four-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and driver memory settings.
Also offered on the Pro-4X is a Utility and Audio package that combines the SV Utility package with a Rockford Fosgate audio system featuring 12 amplified speakers and a subwoofer. And then there's the Pro-4X Luxury package, which adds a pair of removable "Titan box" in-bed storage compartments, a surround-view camera system and ventilated front seats.
The available "Titan box" bedside storage containers are great for holding tools or even cold beverages.
The SL trim does away with the Pro-4X off-road gear, instead providing standard 20-inch alloy wheels and copious chrome exterior trim along with relatively understated leather upholstery. The SL also gets essentially all of the Pro-4X's optional packages except the Luxury package as standard, though the rear-seat heaters are curiously unavailable. Also absent is the Luxury package's surround-view camera; however, the Titan boxes can be added separately.
Pretty much every upgrade mentioned so far (except the Pro-4X off-road bits) comes standard on the Platinum Reserve, a loaded truck with a higher grade of interior and exterior finish. Outside, unique dark chrome plating adorns the 20-inch wheels and various trim accents, while the front seats are sumptuous black-and-brown pleated leather buckets (heated and cooled, of course). The rear-seat heaters come standard, as do aluminum sill plates and wood interior accents. Exclusively offered on the Platinum Reserve is a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with headrest-mounted displays and wireless headphones.
performance & mpg
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is powered by either a standard gasoline 5.6-liter gasoline V8 (390 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque) or a turbocharged 5.0-liter diesel V8 engine (310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque). Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard on all but the Pro-4X, which comes standard with a four-wheel-drive system (4WD) that's optional on the others. XDs with the gasoline V8 engine are backed by a seven-speed automatic, while diesel-powered examples come with a six-speed automatic.
In Edmunds track testing, the heaviest diesel version -- a 4WD Platinum Reserve -- recorded a zero-to-60-mph time of 9.6 seconds, which can only be described as disappointing. But torque and towing are what the XD diesel is all about. The 3.92-to-1 axle ratio is the sole offering, so the hitch is all you need for heavy towing. The lighter S 4x2 tops the list with 12,314 pounds of towing capacity or 2,091 pounds of payload, while the heavier 4WD Platinum Reserve can tow 10,610 pounds or haul 1,470 pounds. In between, the versatile Pro-4X can tow 11,784 pounds or tote 1,733 pounds.
We have not yet conducted instrumented tests with the 5.6-liter gasoline V8, but you can bet this combination will be markedly quicker. Not only does this engine enjoy an 80-hp advantage, its all-aluminum construction and lack of turbo- and diesel-emissions plumbing trims off some 700 pounds relative to the diesel. This weight reduction in turn enables another benefit: additional payload capacity. Gasoline-powered Titan XDs can carry as much as 2,594 pounds, or about 500 pounds more than their diesel brethren. But the gasoline V8 still can't tow as much on account of its lower torque output. The gasoline S 4x2 tops the list at 11,270 pounds, which is about 1,000 pounds fewer than the same diesel version.
Fuel economy is a major diesel selling point, but it's hard to know how much of an advantage it has over the gasoline XD because, like all other heavy-duty trucks, the XD is exempt from fuel economy testing and labeling. We spent nearly 1,200 miles in a Platinum Reserve 4x4 diesel and averaged 16 mpg. Our worst city-dominated tank was 13.8 mpg and our best all-highway tank was 20.8 mpg.
No matter which engine you choose, driving range -- particularly when towing -- is ultimately limited by the standard 26-gallon fuel tank, the only offering. And the diesel's small 4.5-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank may well need topping-up during a particularly long road trip.
Every 2016 Nissan Titan XD comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags with rollover deployment sensors. The front seatbelts have force-limiting pre-tensioners and the backseat has LATCH anchors and seatbelts with automatic locking retractors to ease the installation of child seats.
A rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert comes standard on the Pro-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve and can be added to an SV via that trim's Comfort and Convenience package. The Platinum Reserve's standard backup camera is in fact Nissan's full 360-degree Around View Monitor multi-camera system, which can be added to a Pro-4X via the Luxury package.
The SL and Platinum Reserve come with NissanConnect Services, a subscription-based service that includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery assistance and one-touch access to roadside assistance. It's added to the Pro-4X when you buy the Convenience package.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD's 5.0-liter diesel V8 engine helps this big truck move out smoothly and is relatively quiet as it goes about its business. There's plenty of torque for anything from around-town driving to freeway merges to hill climbing. However, the diesel XD's relative lack of horsepower and formidable weight (7,080 pounds on our scales for the 4WD Platinum Reserve) ultimately puts a damper on wide-open passing acceleration, as our track test results illustrate.
Although acceleration is leisurely at full whack, the 2016 Titan XD has more than enough motor for regular tasks.
With the possible exception of low-speed crawling through freeway traffic, the six-speed transmission makes all the right moves. Shifting is smooth and positive, and the gearbox is especially adept when climbing grades with a trailer latched behind, where the expansive torque of the diesel V8 helps it hold gears confidently and resist dithering. On the subsequent downslope, a tap of the brakes in tow-haul mode engages a downhill speed control feature that uses transmission downshifts to regulate descent speed.
Unladen, at least, the 5.6-liter gasoline V8 and seven-speed combination feels stronger and more alert, with more robust acceleration and quicker kick-down response when it's time to pull out and pass on a two-lane road. It doesn't churn out as much torque as the diesel, so we expect the picture to change with a heavy trailer in tow.
Both configurations of the big Titan XD go down the road with a sense of authority and are generally impervious to crosswinds. The heavy-duty recirculating-ball steering system doesn't impart a strong sense of connection as it goes about its business, but at least it makes the trucks feel manageable during low-speed maneuvers and U-turns, which can test your patience on account of their gigantic 53.9-foot turning circle. All three versions we've sampled -- a Pro-4X, an SL and a Platinum Reserve -- delivered a calmer ride on a variety of surfaces than your typical 2500-series truck. The Pro-4X emerged as our favorite due to its combination of special suspension tuning and taller tires, which did a better job of filtering out coarse road textures and sharp edges alike.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD deviates from past Titans in its use of a column shifter, with manual-shift toggles and a tow-haul switch out near the end. This seemingly small change transforms the interior. It makes possible the three-passenger front bench seat in the S and SV, and it reduces clutter and opens up valuable central real estate for storage when the front bucket seats are present. It also simplifies the layout of the nicely arranged climate control interface and opens up a ready home for the integrated trailer brake controller, which is at once out of the way and close at hand.
The 2016 Titan XD's cabin isn't necessarily a standout, but we like its simplicity and space.
The rest of the dash is peppered with familiar gauges and switchgear that are pure Nissan. It's all logically arrayed and pleasing to the touch, but some of the buttons do seem small against the backdrop of the XD's massive cabin. Indeed, the Titan XD provides an abundance of interior room. There's easily enough space for a 6-foot-2-inch adult to comfortably sit behind his own adjusted driver seat. Front or back, the leather seats are inviting and offer long-distance support, though the pleated Platinum Reserve seats don't offer a clear advantage over the others apart from styling.
In terms of technology, the 7-inch touchscreen entertainment and navigation system works well and is easy to use, but it's not really any more advanced or capable than what Nissan has been offering for the last several years. Competing trucks offer slicker interfaces with a greater depth of capability. The same can be said for the XD's driver information screen between the gauges: it's straightforward and does the job, but it's not class-leading.
You can flip up the rear seat bottoms when hauling cargo in the cab, but the floor below isn't entirely flat. To remedy this there's a flip-out platform that stands about 3 inches above the carpet on fold-down legs, just like in Ram trucks. The Utility packages include a lockable cab-wide bin that's concealed under the seat bottom and just might hold a fishing pole or two.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.