2016 Nissan Titan XD First Look - Factory Fresh

Nissan’s in it to Win it with the New Titan

Ed Sanchez
May 21, 2015
Photographers: Ed Sanchez
With monthly sales languishing at around 1,000 units a month, it would have been easy for Nissan to pull the plug on the Titan, and considered it a hard lesson learned. But Nissan was determined to claw itself back to relevance in the fullsize market, and the ’16 Nissan Titan XD is solid evidence of that. After a plan to share a platform with the Ram 1500 fell through after Chrysler’s bankruptcy and reorganization, the company was put back at square one to come up with its own design completely in-house. But when you’re starting from ground zero, it helps to have a well-recognized name as a partner. And Nissan has that with Cummins, the builder of the Titan XD’s 5.0L turbodiesel V-8.
The new engine features dual-overhead cams, 32 valves, a compacted graphite-iron (CGI) block, and Cummins’ new M2 two-stage turbocharger system. Power ratings for the new engine are 310 hp at 3,200 rpm and 555 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm. The exclusive transmission is an Aisin-sourced heavy-duty six-speed automatic, the same unit used for the Ram 3500. This powertrain gives the Titan XD a claimed towing capacity of over 12,000 pounds and a payload of 2,000 pounds. Nissan is claiming a 20 percent fuel economy improvement over an equivalent gas V-8 model. We’re predicting 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, but final figures are to be announced.
Photo 2/7   |   Interior materials on the ’16 Titan are a major improvement over the dated, plasticky cabin of its predecessor.
Rare for the 1/2-ton segment, the Titan XD has a built-in gooseneck hitch receiver in the bed mounted directly to the frame. For conventional towing, the Titan features a rearview camera with a trailer guide feature to allow the driver to precisely align the trailer ball with the hitch. The suspension is coils and double wishbone in the front and proven rear leaves with twin-tube shock absorbers. The rear axle is a the same American Axle Manufacturing (AAM) unit as used in the Ram 2500 Power Wagon with 3.5-inch axletubes and an available locking rear differential. The front differential on 4x4 models is 9.25 inches. The Titan XD’s brakes also reflect its heavier-duty mission, with vented rotors at all four corners measuring 14.2 inches in the front and 14.4 inches in the rear, a significant upgrade from the current Titan’s 13.8-inch front and 12.6-inch rear solid rotors, and on par with domestic HD offerings.
Two of a Kind
The Titan XD is one of two distinct models in the ’16 Titan lineup, with a non-XD models following after its debut, powered by gas V-6 and V-8 options. The leading candidates are the 400 hp, 413 lb-ft VK56DD direct-injected 5.6L V-8 out of the Infiniti QX80, and some version of the current VQ40 4.0L V-6, possibly updated with direct injection to increase power and fuel economy. The XD will reportedly be offered with a choice of the Cummins, as well as a gasoline V-8.
Photo 3/7   |   The 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V-8 is already getting a lot of attention from the truck enthusiast community. Although the name is familiar, the engine is not, with the Titan being the first noncommercial application of the engine.
Visually, the Titan XD is much more imposing than its predecessor, but dimensionally, it’s not radically different. The XD model stretches 242.9 inches bumper-to-bumper, with a wheelbase of 151.6 inches and a width of between 79.4 (non-XD models) and 80.6 inches (XD models). The largest model of the outgoing Titan was the crew cab model with 7-foot-long bed, which had a wheelbase of 159.5 inches and an overall length of 244.2 inches. The XD features a 6.5-foot bed. Non-XD Titan models will offer King (extended) and regular-cab models and three available bed lengths. The XD is nearly 2 inches taller than the tallest of its predecessors, the Pro4X, at 78.7 inches.
Interior materials are significantly improved, with a greater emphasis on usability. The ’16 Titan abandons its console-mounted shifter for a column-mounted shifter to free up more storage space in the center console. The XD and other crew cab Titans also feature lockable rear underseat storage with a fold-out flat floor surface.
Photo 4/7   |   Following the upscale trend of recent fullsize models, the ’16 Titan XD will be offered in a plush Platinum Reserve trim.
The factory-applied spray-on bedliner and Nissan’s Utili-track adjustable bed channel system carries forward, and the Titan XD also features in-bed storage options that can still be utilized with the addition of a tonneau cover or camper shell. The Titan XD also features an available bed-mounted 120V AC power outlet.
Playing to Win
It’s clear Nissan plans on being a legitimate contender in the fullsize market with the Titan XD, as well as offering a full array of powertrains and cab/bed configurations. From a volume standpoint, it has little chance of toppling Ford or Chevy, but it could give the Tundra and Sierra some serious competition. We’ll have to wait to see how Nissan’s latest warrior battles it out in the fullsize truck arena, but we can confidently say with the hardware it’s bringing to the table, it’s fighting to win.

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