By Mathew Barnes
- Large cabin
- Easy maintenance
- 360-degree camera system
- Incessant beeping and double dash warning lights
- Non-rubber floormats in an off-road package
- While you can set 18 preset XM radio stations, we couldn't figure out how to manually type in a station number.
We spent a week with a 2018 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X crew cab with the 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins turbo-diesel. We took a trip to Moab, Utah, for some off-highway fun — and even pulled a trailer along the way.
What It Is
The Nissan Titan XD is an "in-betweener," meaning it offers higher ratings than a typical half-ton truck, while being more efficient and easier to drive than a three-quarter-ton pickup. The starting price for our Titan XD Pro-4X crew cab with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel was $53,380, but ours came with the Pro-4X Utility, Convenience and Premium packages, bringing the total MSRP to $61,210.
The interior was quite comfortable, with heated front and rear leather seats, a heated steering wheel and cooled front seats. The cab felt larger than most of the other full-size pickups on the market; it easily fit four people and a car seat comfortably. There was a lot of storage room within the cabin and plenty of power outlets up front for charging devices. The rear had one 120-volt power outlet, which left rear passengers with only a few options for charging devices. The backside of the front seats had two separate storage slots instead of one, as in most vehicles. This allowed for better organization and reduced the risk of small items getting lost in the typically deeper pockets.
One item that would be a nice option in the Pro-4X is rubber floormats. The ones in our test truck were carpet, which worked fine, but when things get really muddy, it's nice to have the easily cleanable rubber. The gauges do provide significant information, including a diesel exhaust temperature gauge and turbo boost pressure gauge. The downside to many of the gauges was that they were simply marked with "L" for low and "H" for high, rather than giving a numerical value.
This truck was so large on the outside that it made the 18-inch wheels look small. Our Titan XD didn't come with optional side steps, making the climb into the cab a little difficult for shorter passengers. The mirrors were large and provided an excellent viewing area except when towing the widest of trailers. The bed had a storage box on each side, similar to the RamBox but a little smaller and more difficult to access; however, they were a convenient place to store the off-highway recovery gear and other dirty items that we didn't want inside the truck. The boxes were also lockable for added security, but required a physical key instead of being lockable via the key remote. The Titan XD also came with the Utility package that included a ton of convenient accessories like LED bed lighting, a rear utility step, a 120-volt bed outlet and an electronically locking tailgate.
This pickup is big all around, which provided for a commanding view of the road. The turning radius was larger than expected, so careful planning was needed to hit parking stalls just right. The ride was certainly stiffer than the current crop of half-ton trucks but definitely smoother than the 2500 competition.
The engine drove just like one would expect from a Cummins diesel. It didn't accelerate exceptionally fast, but there always seemed to be more torque on tap. The surround-view cameras were a major help in getting the truck in and out of tight spaces. With the Titan unloaded, we drove 176 miles, with two-thirds of that being on the freeway or highway and the rest being city driving. Over the course of that 176 miles, we averaged 16.7 mpg, which was a little lower than what we expected. It didn't seem to get any better fuel economy than its three-quarter-ton competitors, which diminished some of the Titan XD's value proposition.
Modern diesel engines do have some additional maintenance items that need to be addressed, and the Titan XD made keeping up with those extra tasks easy. The fuel filter was an easily accessible element inside of a canister located on top of the engine. The diesel exhaust fluid fill port is located right where it should be: next to the fuel filler. The water separator was also easy to access from underneath the truck and required no tools to drain, just a simple twist by hand of a yellow cap that's easy to see and access.
To be honest, living with this truck on a daily basis wasn't much different than living with any other pickup truck. Its large cabin was comfortable and easily fits a car seat behind a 6-foot-2-inch driver. The turning radius was clearly larger than a normal half ton, which took some getting used to. The power was great and the transmission was well controlled; the fuel mileage could have been better but wasn't horrible. Look for our towing and off-roading impressions in an upcoming piece.
Cars.com photos by Matthew Barnes