We will hand out our Best Pickup Truck of 2016 Award during Cars.com's Best of 2016 event Jan. 12 at the Fillmore Detroit. The awards presentation will cap two press days at the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Jan. 16 and runs through Jan. 24. There are six contenders for Best Pickup Truck of 2016, and we are providing a preview of each truck before the big reveal.
Our fifth preview focuses on the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.
The all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD isn't just breaking new ground for Nissan, though this is the automaker's first significant attempt to compete in the highly competitive and profitable full-size pickup truck marketplace. The Titan XD is also breaking new ground for the industry, offering a "tweener" model that sits smack in the middle of the well-established 1500/150 and 2500/250 pickup truck segments. Creating a full-size pickup with the foundational support of a heavy-duty truck, but with ride qualities more in line with a typical leaf-sprung half-ton model was innovative enough. Nissan upped the ante with the Titan XD's secret weapon: the smart and torquey Cummins turbo-diesel 5.0-liter V-8 that's rated at 555 pounds-feet of torque.
The Titan XD will only be offered with the Cummins engine and heavy-duty six-speed Aisin transmission, but it will be offered in five distinct trims to better compete with the premium luxury and off-road packages so popular with Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 buyers. There's a lot of risk taking with this new pickup, but there's enough meat on its bones as well to make us think this new "hybrid" will find a strong following.
Check back with us on Jan. 12 to see how the Titan XD stacks up and who the big winner is.
Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 4 to correct public show dates.
Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman, Mark Williams