Read the introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.
See all of the long-term updates on this vehicle.
What We Got
The return of the Nissan Titan to the full-size truck market was hard to ignore. Not only did it have an all-new design, it added an all-new model called the Titan XD. Designed to fill the gap between standard half-ton trucks and more expensive heavy-duty pickups, the XD was an intriguing entrant into the crowded full-size truck category.
There were two engine and transmission pairings available: a 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine (390 hp, 401 pound-feet) with a new seven-speed automatic or a Cummins 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8 engine (310 hp, 555 lb-ft) with a six-speed automatic. We settled on the latter so we could try out the new diesel V8 and its massive amount of torque. From there, we went with the Pro-4X trim level, an off-road-oriented trim that has a surprisingly smooth ride. Extras on our truck included LED headlights and bed lighting, a spray-in bedliner, tow package, a 7-inch infotainment display with navigation, Titan box bed storage bins and an around-view camera.
According to the window sticker, our 2016 Nissan Titan XD V8 turbodiesel Pro-4X four-wheel-drive crew cab had an MSRP of $58,480. It was about as expensive as the Titan gets, so there would be no room for excuses during its year with us. Here's how it fared.
"Idaho Falls was where I finally turned south. Having cleared nearly every chance for bad weather, I reflected on what I'd learned about the Titan's capabilities. With its long wheelbase, Pro-4X package and Cummins diesel, it had come to remind me of the Dodge Power Wagon. I trusted it. And when I was pushing subzero air for hours at a time, driving over compacted snow and flirting with icy shoulders, I trusted it with my life." — Kurt Niebuhr, photo editor
"The truck was unflappable. Plenty of power when and wherever we needed it, even up the gradual grades outside of Las Vegas heading into Arizona and Utah. It was impressive. Any trepidation I had about it initially, thinking that we'd have to drive gingerly and thus add a few more hours to our travel time, were dispelled almost immediately. Once we throttled up onto the first freeway on-ramp, it was clear there was no reason to worry. The truck felt solid and effortless, as if carrying a 15-pound pack into the backcountry. My brother, an avid lifelong water skier, has pulled various boats in his life with all manner of vehicles, from trucks to station wagons to VW Bus. He repeated over and over, almost like a mantra, 'This is a great truck.'" — Dan Frio, staff writer
"My next hotel was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but I had to stop to diesel again before I got there. I wouldn't say I was annoyed, but I was starting to wonder what I'd have to do to break 400 miles on a tank. It was legitimately cold — minus 1 Fahrenheit, to be exact — and the window-washer squeegee broke off in the bucket. So much for cleaning the headlights." — Kurt Niebuhr
"The fuel economy average for my towing trip of 1,000 miles worked out to 16.1 mpg. This is slightly higher than the Titan's lifetime average of 15.5 mpg. Considering that the vast majority of this truck's miles have been spent without a trailer behind it, that's an unexpected result!" — Jason Kavanagh
"My last fill-up was just east of San Bernardino, California, on the fringe of L.A.'s inland sprawl. I lost the rural speed limits and about 5,000 feet of elevation on that tank, so it's no wonder I got the (then) best range and fuel economy of the trip: 434.3 miles and 18.3 mpg." — Kurt Niebuhr
"One of the first things I noted while driving the Titan on the open road was how hypercomfortable the seats were. I didn't have to shuffle or adjust for comfort for nearly a week behind the wheel." — Travis Langness, staff writer
"My commute has a pretty wide range of surfaces along the way. From the cracked concrete of the 405 freeway to the side streets of Marina del Rey, there are plenty of places where a big truck like the Titan could feel uncomfortable. Yet it doesn't. Instead, it's very well-controlled and has just the right amount of give in the suspension. There's a series of speed bumps on one street that I drive through and even those don't send shudders through the cabin. It's a nice setup for those who need the Titan XD's capability on occasion but run it empty the rest of the time." — Ed Hellwig, senior editor
"This truck lacks some of the user-friendly features that other trucks have. It's crazy tall, and would really benefit from something like the 'corner step' rear bumper found on the GM trucks. Also, take a look at the bed storage bins. These are simply poorly designed. Being in the bed, they are awkward to access (unlike the RamBox system), and since the bins' doors open inward, they interfere with anything in the bed. Arrggh!" — Jason Kavanagh
"I slid four standard 4-foot-by-8-foot sheets of plywood in the bed of the Titan. It was a snug fit between the wheelwell storage bins. And they stuck out onto the lowered tailgate about a foot. I recommend a pair of heavy gloves to extract them or you'll be picking at splinters for days. Ask how I know." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"I made some use of our giant yellow Nissan Titan over a weekend so I could move some furniture. The Titan hauled a couch, four chairs and two lamps. It only asked for a refill of diesel exhaust fluid in return. There's nothing like having a big truck around to facilitate movement of larger items." — Michael Massey, vehicle testing assistant
"I'd say the seat heaters are California-spec. They provide a nice, gentle warmth through a single layer, but they couldn't penetrate my modest coat-and-sweatshirt getup. That said, the cabin is apparently very well-insulated. The three-quarters-empty bottle of water that I'd left in the cab overnight wasn't even chilly." — Kurt Niebuhr
"When it comes to trucks, second-row LATCH tether points are usually hard to use. The problem isn't that they aren't easy to find; it's that there is typically such a small space between the child seat and rear wall of the cab that you don't have space to cinch the tether tight. Our Nissan Titan fits this 'normal' criterion. So if you have anything short of Jack Skellington fingers, you'll have a heck of a time tightening the strap." — Mike Schmidt
Audio and Technology
"Once I got used to the ride quality of the truck, it was time to test out the stereo by playing music at full volume. I didn't intend it to be a test-to-failure of the Rockford Fosgate system. I just wanted my music to be loud enough to drown out my singing voice, and a Bluetooth or USB connection usually means you have to max out a car's volume. As a result, the stereo quit on me at least four times. After about 30 minutes of max-volume performance, sound cut out entirely." — Travis Langness
"Our long-term Titan XD has the upgraded infotainment interface. I love the top-down parking camera system shown in the photo below. But otherwise I find this 7-inch touchscreen to be mediocre. Here are my top five issues with it: 1) The graphics and fonts are dated; 2) some virtual buttons are small and hard to press; 3) the maps lack useful detail; 4) the screen often washes out in sunlight; and 5) it lacks the latest smartphone app integration systems (e.g., Apple CarPlay)." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"The Titan was brought to the dealer for its 20,000-mile service and to address a check engine light. Two codes were returned: one for low diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and the other that was apparently the result of mud on DEF lines. The technician topped up the DEF, removed '3 inches of mud' caked on the lines and cleared the codes. Its engine oil and filter were changed, and the fuel-water separator drained." — Jason Kavanagh
"We added another 2.5-gallon jug of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in October. Dan Edmunds calculated that we go through one of these jugs every 1,800 miles or so. I don't know how much he paid for it, but Amazon prices his Peak BlueDEF box at a tick under $23." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"The following day, I called early to check to see if the [side mirror] came in, and Bryan said it's already there and I could come by and get it taken care of. I drove down and then about an hour later, the new mirror and mirror cap were installed and repairs completed. The Titan looked good as new. The adhesive part cost $13.62 and the labor came out to $190. Total for repairs: $1,052.87 (including tax)." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"In happier news, I dig the M+S tires that come with the Pro-4X package. They gave me the confidence to pull off the interstate and slither along some unplowed backcountry roads. I found some small towns, ate at some diners, and discovered some bars that I wish I had time to visit. I don't think the all-seasons that come standard on the similarly equipped Platinum trim level would have allowed me the same freedom in these conditions." — Kurt Niebuhr
"Granted, this was a worst-case scenario for a shock absorber, but if you paid nearly $60K for a truck with an off-road package, you would be disappointed. The shocks failed, pieces on the truck failed and part of the dealer support network failed. If this were my truck, I'd be pissed." — Kurt Niebuhr
Routine maintenance on the Titan XD was due every 10,000 miles. So it was no surprise when the service light clicked on a shade past 10,000 miles ($102) and again just before 20,000 miles ($138). Included at these intervals were the basics: oil, oil filter and tire rotation, with draining of the fuel-water separator also happening at the latter interval.
Numerous items required attention on the Titan beyond the maintenance schedule. At our first oil change, the dealer also performed two recalls: PC494 was to inspect and correct any issue with the factory fuel-tank breather tube installation; PC507 was a transmission control module reflash. At our second oil change, we had two engine codes: One was for low DEF, which was remedied with a top-off; the second was the result of mud on the DEF lines, which called for the tech to remove "3 inches" of caked-on mud. This wasn't the end.
During a road trip to Death Valley, the Titan got beat up. And putting it back together back at home proved a challenge.
We drove into Gardena Nissan with a healthy list of concerns: The rear shocks were blown, the tailgate trim had come off, one bed-mounted cargo box was stuck shut, one of the forward rock guards was broken, and the tailgate had fallen open on its own, exposing a crack at the striker due to apparent misalignment. This dealership replaced the front shocks under warranty, gave a long list of reasons why it couldn't warranty our other concerns, and gave the truck back. Upon leaving we discovered the front shocks also showed signs of failure, suggesting the dealer missed that problem also.
So we tried another location. Stadium Nissan in Orange was a refreshing change of pace. Our experience there suggested that the things Gardena told us about the warranty work were untrue. Our concerns were addressed under warranty, including the repair of both bed storage-box locks, not just the one that seized on us. What a difference.
Finally, we replaced a side-view mirror damaged when our truck was struck by another. We paid out of pocket ($1,053) because at the time we needed it fixed quickly. But we'd have used insurance otherwise, so we don't count it against the truck.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
After 24,500 miles, we averaged 15.1 mpg. Our best single tank returned 18.7 mpg and came under the most ideal of conditions. So rare was the 18 mpg fill-up that we hit that mark just five of the 89 times we added diesel. The farthest we traveled on a single tank was 434 miles.
The Titan also required regular fill-ups of diesel emissions fluid. Over the course of our test, we added nearly 31 gallons of the stuff, at a rate of about $1 per gallon. It was more costly when not purchased in bulk. This averaged out to roughly 1 gallon every 797 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
The MSRP on our 2016 Nissan Titan XD was $58,480. By the end of our test, this value fell 34 percent, according to Edmunds TMV Calculator, using the assumption of a private-party sale. But since we borrowed this truck from Nissan, there would be no testing the market.
For some reference, our most comparable long-term truck, the 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel, depreciated 37 percent. But we had that for two years and 50,000 miles. Our most recent full-size, the 2015 Ford F-150 depreciated 29 percent after 16 months and 35,000 miles.
Capable of towing and hauling heavy loads without feeling strained; comfortable ride quality when empty; spacious interior with plenty of storage; confident handling on rough roads; above-view camera option helpful in tight situations; useful in-bed storage boxes; quiet for a diesel.
Diesel engine averaged only 15 mpg; could use a bigger tank for greater range; interior design didn't feel modern enough for such a new truck; cargo storage boxes are hard to access with a full bed; required several dealer visits to fix small issues; resale value was less than that of some competitors.
Nissan took a big gamble with the introduction of the Titan XD, and we think it will pay off for certain truck buyers. It's a very capable truck that is comfortable enough to drive every day, and it's at a far lower price point compared to most heavy-duty trucks. Like most all-new vehicles, however, it has a few bugs to work out before it can boast bulletproof reliability, and its interior doesn't match the competition for refinement and features.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$1,052.87 for side mirror|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$239.61 (over 13 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Inspect fuel-tank breather tube; reflash transmission control module; replace four shocks; replace tailgate trim; repair and re-key bed storage boxes|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||3 (shocks part 1, shocks part 2 and side mirror)|
|Days Out of Service:||9|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||18.7 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||12.5 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||15.1 mpg|
|Best Range:||434.3 miles|
|Best Fuel Economy (towing):||16.6 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy (towing):||10.0 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy (towing):||13.2 mpg|
|Best Range (towing):||354.4 miles|
|True Market Value at service end:||$28,829 (private-party sale)|
|What it Sold for:||$28,000|
|Depreciation:||$7,357 (21% of paid price)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||21,926 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.