Traditionally, full-size trucks are broken into two classes: half-ton trucks and heavy-duty trucks. Nissan's Titan XD splits the difference, offering towing and hauling capabilities at the top end of the half-ton class without the harsh ride quality of a heavy-duty pickup.
Another thing that sets the Titan apart from half-ton pickups is its optional Cummins diesel engine, a 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 310 horsepower and a whopping 555 pound-feet of torque. Nissan is not required to publish EPA fuel economy estimates owing to the Titan XD's weight class, but our long-term diesel-powered 2016 Nissan Titan XD has been averaging 14.8 mpg. The diesel is a lugger, not a runner. Though it can tow up to 12,300 pounds (when properly configured), its 0-60 mph time is a lengthy 9.6 seconds, and passing on a two-lane road requires planning and patience. Nissan also offers a 5.6-liter gasoline V8 that puts out 390 hp and 394 lb-ft. As with most pickup trucks, the Titan XD offers either rear-wheel drive or a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case.
It's a long climb up to the Titan XD's cabin ? this is one of the tallest trucks in this segment ? but once there you'll find comfortable seats with plenty of stretch-out room, and the same goes for the rear seat in crew-cab models. Interior fit and finish is excellent, and we like the control layout, though the stereo seems dated and some of the switches and buttons feel a bit on the small side, especially considering how much real estate is available on the dashboard.
Out on the open road, the Titan XD feels pretty tidy considering its capabilities. The ride is firm, but it's not nearly as harsh as with a typical 3/4-ton truck, and we like the braking and steering response. The Pro-4X, which features 18-inch wheels and an off-road-tuned suspension, has a softer and more compliant ride. It's also the only full-size off-road pickup with a diesel option, and the Cummins' low-end torque is a boon, helping the Pro-4X pick its way over boulders and scramble up steep grades.
Nissan currently offers the Titan XD with either a crew cab and a 6.5-foot bed or a single-row cab with an 8-foot bed. Five trim levels are on offer, starting with the S, a bare-bones work truck with a bench seat and easy-to-clean vinyl floors. Civilian customers will probably consider the SV to be the bare minimum in terms of comfort and convenience features, but they'd do well to consider the Pro-4X, not just for its off-road ability but for its more compliant ride. The SL does without the off-road gear but offers more comfort and convenience features, while the top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve rivals the high-end trucks from other manufacturers. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Nissan Titan XD for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.