Nissan Titan XD Wait Almost Over

We can’t yet talk about our driving impression of the Cummins-diesel-powered 2016 Nissan Titan XD, but we do have some additional info to impart

Oct. 14, 2015 By G.R. Whale, Photos by Raven Studios
Nissan Titan

We were offered a chance to take some short drives in Nissan’s new Titan XD at the Texas Auto Writers’ annual Truck Rodeo under one condition: We not provide any driving impressions about it. First we considered riding in it and supplying riding impressions, but in light of the local armament and the look on the Nissan rep’s face we opted to drive it, both with and without a trailer.

M Squared

When we first drove the progenitor of this engine, a few years before Cummins and Nissan broached their plan in 2007, it was a 5.6-liter V8 (the 4.2 V6 was left behind) development mule with a single turbo packaged in a Ram 1500. After all, Cummins was familiar with Ram trucks by then, electrical architecture simplified pulling the instrument pack from a 2500/3500 built for a 5.9, and general expectation was the smaller engines would end up where the VM 3.0 sits these days.

5.0-liter Cummins turbo diesel

Save for a warning light the Cummins engineers had generated earlier that 5.6 seemed ready for prime time. It started quickly, was quieter than the 5.9, worked well with the automatic and gearing installed, and scooted down the road empty. I compared it equal with the 6.0 PowerStroke Excursion I’d driven there in terms of NVH and drivability, and it felt about equal the output.

Now I’ve driven various guises of Cummins’ “automotive” V8 ahead of multiple transmissions (alas, all automatics) and ridden in 8500-GVW vans. At lower outputs the “commercial” version works well and at least one Class A motorhome manufacturer that builds their own chassis has procured some.

The ratings haven’t been changed from Nissan’s first announcement: 310 hp @ 3200 rpm and 555 lb-ft at half the revs. Do the math and you’ll find nearly 92% of peak torque is still on tap at that 3200 revs, reinforcing Nissan’s notion it’ll be about efficient work rather than outright speed. Simply based on design the engine’s probably good for 4500 rpm without breaking anything, but as is common with diesel pickups, the engine always has more in it and the output is determined by the driveline’s weak-link fuse and marketing considerations.

Nissan Titan XD Front

The Truck

Knowing towing and payload are quoted at greater than 6 tons and 1 ton respectively, I inquired of GVWR, GCWR, and empty weight and got the same refrain to all: Not known since they’re still in the certification process (which VW’s debacle likely slowed up). Suspension travel hasn’t been certified yet, though we did get a 10-inch ring gear for the AAM rear when we questioned if earlier reports converted a “13-inch axle” to a 13-inch ring gear and a confirmation that GVWR will be between 8500 and 9000 pounds. The “NP1500” badge on the back is part of Nissan’s global nomenclature, yet the only “global” Nissan admitted to is the U.S., Canada and potentially the Middle East. A made-in-America, American-engined diesel pickup might interest some military contractors too.

Every Titan there ran six-bolt wheels with LT tires, the Platinum Reserve on Grabber HTS LT265/60R20 and the Pro-4X on LT275/65R18 with a slightly higher load index—123/120R versus 121/118R, all listing 80 psi max and set around 70.

Nissan Titan XD Towing

Interior photos are accurate, though you can’t feel how soft the leather surrounding the quilted black center-sections on Platinum is, nor how the woodwork doesn’t look nearly as nice as on the sister-division Infiniti’s crossovers. One of the IP info displays is designed for towing use and includes boost and ATF temperature, but our sample trailers were 5200-pound water carriers running surge brakes. We also noted there’s no center rear-seat headrest nor floor mat suggesting this is for child-seats and hounds only, and we’d like more travel in the telescoping steering column.

The XD does offer all-around cameras with moving object detection, blind-spot warning and front/rear parking assists; since we didn’t reverse the trailer we can only assume it’s smart enough to defeat the rear when a trailer’s connected. We did not notice any forward collision warning or braking, nor a lane-keeping assist, but when driving a million-dollar prototype we avoid those tests.

The Value Equation?

Like weights and measures these numbers are not set. When quizzed about the cost as they sat, and engineer suggested less than $40K base, less than $50,000 for the Pro-4X and less than $60,000 for a Platinum Reserve, suggesting $59,990 plus $1,095 destination. A rep more in tune with marketing corrected those to “at” $40,000, etc., using the term “aggressively priced.”

At those numbers they should be. In the adjacent parking slots were a 2016 F-150 Limited with full moonroof, massaging seats, all-around cameras, adaptive cruise with collision warning, lane-keeping assist around $67,000, and a 2016 Ram 1500 Limited with diesel engine, air suspension, and arguably a more premium feel to the cabin about $61,500.

Even more telling was a Colorado Trail Boss parked opposite the Pro-4X, with the 2.8-diesel Colorado sporting a price tag near $50,000 and Nissan claiming the Pro-4X in the same neighborhood, anyone not restricted by garage size or seeking maximum fuel economy may find that a no-brainer.

Nissan Titan XD Action

How Was It?

You’ll have to wait ‘til we get behind the wheel of one again next month. However, based on brief test drives by the Texas Auto Writers, the XD finished second to a Ram Rebel in “full-size pickup truck,” won the “luxury pickup” class ahead of that $61,000 Ram 1500 Limited, $67,000 F-150 Limited and a GMC 2500 Denali, best powertrain for the Cummins/Aisin and was named the Truck of Texas.

And they were all still running after the event, something that can’t be said for every vehicle that’s entered the rodeo. Newsletter
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