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2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X

This “Heavy-Half” Could be Just Right

Feb 9, 2016
Photographers: Robert Guio
By now you’ve heard all the hype. Our extensive coverage of the ’16 Nissan Titan XD has made you an expert on the not-quite-heavy-duty pickup, which features a Cummins 5.0L turbodiesel V-8, Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, and stout, fully boxed frame. But except for our too-brief first drive a few months ago, we’ve yet to be able to inform the public as to how the middleweight Titan XD performs on a daily basis.
To that end, Nissan graciously provided us with a nicely equipped Pro-4X for testing in our Pickup Truck of the Year competition, and it won fans immediately. While it looks polarizing in photos, the Titan XD’s bold styling looks very nice in person. The grille and split-T LED running lights make a larger-than-life first impression, and the XD’s clean, sculpted bodysides look truck-appropriate. Around back, taillights repeat the split-T theme. Vestiges of the old, bold Titan appear in the extreme rearward slope of the A-pillar, thoroughly modernized by the rest of the truck’s new duds.
Photo 2/9   |   05 2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins Badge
The story gets better inside. The 2004-era first-generation Titan was a truck that sold on merit of its deep dealer discounts rather than its interior, which was thoroughly left behind by modern competitors. One can’t say the same about the new Titan, which has a nicely padded dashboard and modern electronics. Our tester came with Nissan’s trick Around View Monitor, giving us a clear picture of the space directly in front of, beside, and behind the truck. It made tight parallel parking a cinch once we were able to find a space large enough for the truck. Other electronic niceties included a Rockford Fosgate audio system, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, and NissanConnectSM, which offered traffic, weather, and concierge services.
As a daily driver, the Titan XD is very, very good. Even in spite of its heavy-truck bones and pavement-crushing curb weight, the Titan rides well over broken pavement, and the comfortable interior smothers what little harshness filters through. Bluetooth audio and phone functionality worked well, tethering our phones to the infotainment system every time we powered it all up. Switchgear ergonomics were good, and finding a comfortable seating position was easy for just about every editor. And we’re all thrilled Nissan employs a column shifter for the Titan XD, as it frees up acres of console space for phone, wallet, drink, and snack storage—you know, the essentials.
Photo 3/9   |   76 2016 Nissan Titan XD Drivers Seat
Primary controls are a little truckish compared to the car-like (and relatively small) GM fullsize trucks. Braking in the heavy Titan XD is predictable, meaning you should plan your stops slightly in advance, and steering is surprisingly heavy. The diesel engine, while a deep well of torque, has somewhat sluggish throttle response. In its defense, many editors felt the Titan’s dynamics were perfect for a large truck: appropriately high-effort, without being rough around the edges. And after all, customers expecting sports car responses from a 7,000-pound pickup are, at best, delusional and, at worst, insane. Approach the Titan XD with respect and reasonable expectations and you’ll love it.
But enough about the shallow stuff. How does the Nissan work as a truck? Quite well, as it turns out. The company wasn’t kidding about the Titan’s tweener capability, as it felt totally comfortable towing our trailer or hauling a payload. The payload wasn’t even obvious when driving around, and engine performance barely degraded even when towing our loaded-up 24-foot car hauler. The massive front and rear disc brakes were up to the task of keeping the Titan under control. We must admit, thought, that we barely scratched the surface of the Titan’s skills, and we should have brought it to a long highway grade to give it some real-truck exercise.
Photo 4/9   |   80 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro 4X Seat
Complaints were few but notable. The diesel engine had a surprising appetite for both fuel and diesel exhaust fluid. Driving dynamics were as expected but still near the back of the pack. And the XD, which is currently only available as a crew cab with a 6 1/2-foot bed, was a bit unwieldy in the tight confines of both downtown Los Angeles and our off-road trail. Admittedly, it came through both unscathed, a testament to its anxiety-easing sensors, cameras, and monitors.
When the points were tallied, the XD came up somewhat short, but we seriously doubt Nissan will have a hard time selling these now that they’ve hit dealers in earnest. Aggressive pricing gives buyers 1/2-ton–plus capability at sub–1/2-ton prices, and Nissan offers very functional features that are otherwise unavailable in the segment. All told, we have nothing against this very capable, comfortable large pickup.
By Brett T. Evans
WE LIKE: Big-rig capability. Cummins/Aisin pedigree comes at a bargain. Comfortable interior. Feels like a truck should feel.
WE DON’T LIKE: Not all of us liked the XD’s heavy steering and diesel-typical slow throttle response. Weight worked against it in the dunes, and size worked against it on the trail.
LEAD IMAGE: With more than enough capability for most truck owners at a very reasonable price, Nissan might have a hit on its hands with the Cummins-powered Titan XD.
CAPTION: Although the powertrain is what’s grabbing headlines, Nissan should also be commended for the Titan XD’s very comfortable new interior and useful electronics.
Photo 5/9   |   82 2016 Nissan Titan XD Engine
2016 Nissan Titan XD
Base Price: $50,970
Price As Tested: $58,430
EPA Fuel Econ (City/HWY/Comb): N/A
Engine: 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V-8
Horsepower: 310 @ 3,200 rpm
Torque: 555 @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Accel 0-60 MPH: 10.16 seconds
Quarter Mile: 17.78 seconds @ 80.63 mph
Braking 60-0 MPH: 138.91 feet
Accel 0-60 (Payload): 12.34 seconds*
Quarter Mile (Payload): 19.11 seconds @ 76.40 mph*
Accel 0-60 (Towing): 21.41 seconds**
Quarter Mile (Towing): 23.45 seconds @ 63.07 mph**
Weight: 7,045 lbs
Tested Fuel Econ (Average/Best): 14.19/16.80
*1,900 pounds of payload **8,845-pound trailer weight

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