What Did We Buy?
Nissan has already tried the full-size truck thing once. The original Nissan Titan debuted way back in 2004 to positive reviews, but it lacked the powertrain options, body configurations and feature flexibility that big-truck buyers expect. Not surprisingly, it remained a bit player in a segment where Detroit's Big Three remain the undisputed champs.
Now it's time for the second-generation 2016 Nissan Titan, which debuts in quasi-HD guise as the Titan XD (a regular half-ton Titan is coming for 2017). Completely redesigned and utilizing beefy components from Nissan's NV commercial vans, the Titan XD splits the difference between a traditional half-ton pickup and a true heavy-duty truck.
The Titan XD also offers a choice of two engines, starting with a 5.6-liter gasoline V8 that makes 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque (up 73 hp and 16 lb-ft from the original). Then there's the all-new 5.0-liter, Cummins-built turbodiesel V8 rated at 310 hp and a massive 555 lb-ft of torque. There's a pair of fresh automatic transmissions, too — a seven-speed unit for the gas engine and a six-speed for the diesel.
Naturally, we wanted to try the all-new diesel, so our 2016 Nissan Titan XD is a Cummins-powered example in Pro-4X trim with just about all the extras. It fits in our parking garage — barely — and has already entered service as the resident Edmunds workhorse.
What Options Does It Have?
The 2016 Titan XD Pro-4X is technically the model in the middle, flanked by the value-oriented S and SV on the lower end and the luxe-truck SL and Platinum Reserve trims at the top end. The Pro-4X's claim to fame is its off-road-readiness, highlighted by all-terrain tires, upgraded Bilstein shocks, a lockable rear differential, skid plates and hill descent control.
Additional standard features include automatic LED headlights, foglights, a spray-in bedliner, LED cargo box illumination, a towing package, keyless entry and ignition, unique upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 7-inch infotainment display with a navigation system and voice controls.
Add the diesel powertrain for an even $5,000, and you're looking at $50,970 to start with the Pro-4X. We like to sample as many doodads as we can, so we grabbed an example with the Utility and Audio package, the Convenience package and the Luxury package, all of which our full review covers in detail. Summing up, we got front and rear parking sensors, Nissan's Around View 360-degree parking camera system, additional LED bed lighting, "Titan Box" removable in-bed storage compartments, a power-sliding rear window, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable, heated steering wheel, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system and a few other items — all for an extra $5,920. Oh, and premium yellow paint for $395 that inspired photo whiz Kurt Niebuhr to christen the truck "King Banana."
The total MSRP with destination came to $58,480. Expensive for sure, but right in the ballpark with a Ford F-150 Platinum or GMC Sierra Denali.
Why We Bought It
The original Titan wasn't much of a success in terms of sales numbers, but it earned plenty of fans along the way. It also taught Nissan plenty about the full-size truck market, most notably the power of choice when it comes to engines, body styles and features.
This experience led Nissan to expand its offerings this time around, including the creation of the uniquely positioned XD. We want to find out firsthand whether this new strategy makes sense, so our Titan will be tasked with all manner of hauling, towing and general adventuring challenges in the year to come. We'll find out if there's room in the crowded world of big pickups for a tweener truck with uprated capabilities.
Follow the Titan XD's progress on our long-term road test blog for our latest thoughts and impressions.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 3,597 miles
The manufacturer provided Edmunds with this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.