2016 Nissan Titan XD: Who Is It For?


By Aaron Bragman

It's taken a decade, but finally an all-new Nissan Titan is here — but it's not just one model that's been revealed, Nissan intends to produce two new pickup trucks for the market. The base model is the traditional light-duty pickup we expected, just called the NP 1500 Titan. The other one is more unusual, called the Titan XD. It's billed by Nissan as a light-duty truck (also called the NP 1500, but equipped with a heavier-duty frame and chassis) that features a powerful 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins engine that will enable a customer to tow over 12,000 pounds and offer over 2,000 pounds of payload.

Nissan says that there are a lot of truck customers who want a little more capability than a typical light-duty pickup can provide, but don't necessarily need the huge abilities (and huge price tags) that come with most heavy-duty diesel trucks. Nissan maintains that this results in nearly 150,000 potential truck buyers who either buy a bigger, more capable, more expensive truck than they need, or settle for a smaller, less-expensive, less-capable truck and just basically cope with its occasional inadequacy.

Enter the new Nissan Titan XD. Nissan bills it as something of a "light-duty plus" pickup, with a more powerful Cummins turbo-diesel V-8 engine than the turbo-diesel V-6 Ram offers in its light-duty 1500, but not nearly as powerful (or expensive, presumably — we don't have pricing yet) as the Cummins, Power Stroke or Duramax offered in the Ram heavy duty, the Ford Super Duty or GM HD trucks. Yet regardless of what Nissan wants to call the Titan XD, we were told some Titan XDs will have a gross vehicle weight rating weight more than 8,500 pounds, putting it in the eyes of the U.S. government into the heavy-duty category. Maybe this is more of a "heavy-duty light" than a "light-duty plus" truck. In fact, given current EPA ratings, Nissan would not have to publish fuel economy ratings for any vehicles with GVWRs of more than 8,500 pounds, which could include all or several versions of the Titan XD. Our hope is that Nissan chooses the high road and publishes fuel economy ratings for all its Titan XD pickups, but that has not been officially announced.

All this leads us to wonder: Who are these underserved truck buyers that Nissan says it's discovered? The ones who have a trailer that's just a little bit too heavy for your typical light-duty pick-up, but that's much lighter than would necessitate a full-on heavy-duty truck? Are people searching for a Goldilocks truck — the light-duty is too light, the heavy-duty is too heavy, but something like a Titan XD is just right?




So we've decided to ask our loyal readers: Does this describe you? Would you be interested in a truck that slots somewhere between the top end of a light-duty's capability and the entry level of today's heavy-dutys? Do you still want the ease and comfort of a light-duty with heavy-duty capabilities? Got a good-sized trailer (maybe between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds) and you just don't think your Detroit Three light-duty truck will cut it? Do you like the capabilities of a diesel heavy-duty, but don't see the need to spend that much on a truck that can tow far more than you will ever need? Forget any bias you might have against a Japanese brand or your loyalty for your favorite pickup — this is a larger question that could impact our truck choices down the road if the Titan XD does well.

Let us know what you think and be as specific about your needs and requirements as possible.

Poll Question:

Which of these statements best describes you, as a pickup shopper/buyer/owner?

  • Yes, I'd love a truck more capable than the toughest light-duty, but don't want to spend big bucks to step up to a heavy-duty for capabilities I won't fully use.
  • No, I'm good with the pickup choices available to me today.

Manufacturer image; Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


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WTF is that??? talk about getting hit with the ugly stick. I think the engineers where smoking high when they designed this.

Kind of a convoluted stylying theme here, it's like they weren't sure what they were going to do.
Not liking the looks of it though.

Yes, the XD would work for me. I'm a contractor and have been using my 1/2 ton trucks as 3/4 ton trucks for 10 years now. Mostly hauling, not as much towing. My previous truck, a 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500 ext. cab long bed I equipped with 3/4 ton leaf springs so I could haul 2000+ pounds in the bed and that's on top of myself and a couple of hundred pounds of tools in the back of the cab. Retired it 5 months ago at 275,000 miles on original engine and transmission. Right now I have a 2004 F150 Crew cab which I use with the same purpose. I know there will be a lot of bashing on here claiming they only buy domestic which is a bunch of crap, not one of the big 3 are 100% American! This Titan is designed in the US, build in the US by Americans! I'm all for more competition, the next Tundra might get this Cummins too.

Who is this truck for?

This is exactly the 2006 3/4 ton Ford Super Duty diesel promised thousands of customers that was never delivered.

If the new Titan can go around the block twice without breaking; then they have been able to do what Ford, GM, and Ram have not done for the past 10 years.

That is what buyers want. That is the buyer of the new Titan (assuming it actually works).

I've wanted something like a heavy half-ton. I will definitely want to see this truck in person before I make a final judgement call on the styling. It is a little shocking at first, that is for sure!

Yes, I'd love a truck more capable than the toughest light-duty, but don't want to spend big bucks to step up to a heavy-duty for capabilities I won't fully use.

Can you get that 5.0 diesel with the ZF 8hp75 transmission? (not just the Aisin extra heavy duty 6 speed auto)

Current 1/2 tons are already way more capable than they really need to be. 3/4 - 1 tons are mainly purchased for bragging rights, so I'm not sure if this Titan really has a home

sounds like a great set of choices. Just remember that Nissan isn't a company that expects to displace Ford or GM in the light duty truck market, they just want a place at the table.

Ford and Chevy have made it VERY expensive to choose a big V8 option in recent years. Big mistake. The cost of building at 6.2 is no greater than the cost of making a 5.3 but you won't find a GMC or Chevy thus equipped without paying a king's ransom.

Good move, Nissan. WTF is Toyota on this?

Will have to wait to see how it really looks but I like the idea of a smaller, more fuel efficient diesel engine with capability. The Ram ecodiesel falls short on the latter.

Yes for me. I run my Tundra at 8000 GVW on many weekends--I have Deaver add-a-leaf and Timbrens along with E tires. I can easily afford an "HD" pickup, but am a value oriented buyer.

This is the perfect truck for me - a ¾ ton vs a ½ or 1 ton, The Big 3 diesels are too big and too powerful. Way too much truck for me. With a 1500 pound payload the Tundra has only slightly higher payload than a Tacoma!

I had a first generation dodge back the early 90's and I see this truck as a replacement for that. Better MPG, more payload and affordable.

This truck is perfect for the majority of show horse owners. I'm in fact sitting at the Orlando airport getting ready to fly home from helping my girlfriend drive her horses down from New Jersey. She has a 08 Chevy Silverado 2500 with the Duramax and Alison trans. She uses a 2 horse bumper pull with a dressing room (filled with too much stuff) to take the boys up and down the east coast. To get to my point quickly her truck is getting up there in mileage and age and the price to replace that truck is insane this is the perfect replacement for her truck

Yes the XD would work for me. I would like more capacity than the 1/2 ton and a smaller diesel than the 3/4 ton trucks available today.

Would love the everyday driveability of a half ton for the commute with diesel economy. Adding the towing capacity for RV travel trailers for the weekends would make this a Goldilocks class for me. My current Titan sags 6 inches and I have to lug in 4th when towing my 7500lb trailer.

Yes, but it better be significantly less money than a 3/4 ton and have a significantly better towing prowess than 1/2 ton. And above all it better be rock solid reliable.

Love it! Yeah I see a bit of Ram, F-150, Super Duty, and previous Titan blended together, but I think the execution is terrific. Can't wait to find out more.

Great move by Nissan. This is a rare instance where the gutsy move is also the only option. The Titan will never be a true competitor in the market as long as its playing the same game under the same rules as everyone else. It would just be a never-ending cycle of playing catch-up and Nissan knew it.

Even though it took 10 freaking years, lots of respect for Nissan for following through on this diesel and adding a new (and categorically different) player to the market.

As for the looks, well, it seems like every manufacturer makes an ugly truck now, so in that respect they are on par with the likes of the 2015 F150, 2014 Silverado and every Tundra ever made.

Um.... yeah I see a little bit of something in it. Ford, Ram, Chevy. Not sure the big nose fits this one. Funny they went from a short tiny nose to a big long and tall one . But suppose I'd buy it just because of the Cummins. And i think most people will do the same. It'll be interesting to see how many people will swap this engine into other brands.

I'm good with my current 1/2 ton. If I ever needed to step up to a 3/4 ton, I don't see needing a big diesel. The in-between truck's are already made though, they're the 3/4 ton gassers. It's cool that a smaller diesel is offered, but it's not like the market didn't already have other options.

@ 48419845
Thanks, the germans rate the transmission for sustained torque input.
Nissan could ask ZF to make a 2nd generation variant based upon the 8hp90, if need be. Just to make sure durability if far and away better than the Dodge & 8hp70 transmission.

No comment.

Price & mpg, then I can decide to buy or pass.

Thank you.

Iooks ok, just ok. Nissan following Ford again,remember the 7700 package. As for the diesel, not quite sure I get it for this application. I am sure it will prove far more useful than the RAM no payload Ecodiesel. I give Nissan credit for trying to find its niche , Toyota should take a lesson here.

@BenThere, I'd love to have that engine and tranny in a JK Rubicon!

Maybe. All depends on price and value. Also what rear axle (not gearing) they are using. The old modified DANA 44 variant was far too light duty for the gas application.

I'm solidly in the HD 3/4 ton camp, but would be open to a smaller diesel for the daily commute.

I have towed with 1/2, LD 3/4 tons (7,400 GVWR), over 8,500 GVWR 3/4 tons and 1 tons. The old rule of thumb of 6,000 lbs with a half-ton, 8,000 with a LD, 10,000 with a HD and a dually for over 10k is no longer even considered, but still seems to make good sense. For the occasional towing duties, pushing these limits may be okay, but based on my experiences with both old and modern trucks those numbers leave a nice margin of safety in power, handling and breaking.

If the new Titan XD has bigger brakes, a full-floating rear axle, and multistage leafs that don't sag with a heavy trailer, I would consider it.

3/4 ton gas pots have this market. Those that are strapped for cash and or fleet buyers wont be looking at the Nissan. this Nissan will be for people with money to burn.

If this is the best of what dodge offers (Cummins) without the worst of what dodge offers (unreliability) then this truck will turn the market upside down.

American manufacturers have been so focused on having the biggest torque number that they have forgotten what many of us want: A moderately sized diesel capable of towing but still getting good mileage in a reliable package.

It's the same idea of the baby duramax that GM had a few years ago. Few of us need 800 lbft of torque. All of us need reliability.

I can't wait for this thing.

This truck is basically a light 3/4 ton. As we have discussed many times previously. Current truck designations are meaningless (i.e. 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton). Class 1, 2, 3 etc. are more appropriate.

I personally am more interested in cargo capacity as that affects me more than towing ability. I would consider a truck like this if I needed to tow and haul considerably more often than I do now.

Ford and GM both offer 2k load capacity and 12k tow capacity. This truck would target that market but with an engine better suited for heavy work.

MotorTrend did say most HD buyers only tow 10-12k (IIRC).

But to answer the question:

Poll Question:

Which of these statements best describes you, as a pickup shopper/buyer/owner?

No, I'm good with the pickup choices available to me today.

With the caveat "I'd rather buy this truck as opposed to a HD diesel if I wanted to tow 8-12k as opposed to a gasser 1500. "
Currently, I don't need that much tow capacity.

@Kurt K - agreed.

Yes, for people who settled for a 2500 gas motors.
I have a tundra and towing 8,000 lbs in up hill is a joke, at 4,200 rpm, it falls short.
I think drivetrain is a thumbs up but overall look has to grow on me first...

I like the looks. Payload seems light but wait for the final numbers.
Wondering how fuel will be with size and number of gears. also hoping there is a larger fuel tank option at least in 36 gallon range.
Rear axle looks to be semi-floating with no hub protrusion but I'm not 100%.
I could see my self driving one in a king cab 8' box as long as it has a big fuel tank and can carry more weight than the new f-150s.
I will say they are still behind the competition tho with Ford talking 10 speed and with the aluminium body. I might have to get a 2017/18 F-150 especially if capability and fuel mileage are better.

Thisi s a good compromise in my case. I tow 10500 lbs, too much for a 1/2 tonne and my 3/4 tonne doesn't know it's there. A 5.0 Cummins would be better on feul than my 6.7 and a much better ride. Only wish Ram had a 1500 Hd option. This truck will be seriously considered for my next purchase. The look will probably grow on me.

I tow more than I haul payload. My main needs would be torque for moving and keeping the load moving without struggle. 555lbtq would be perfect for my needs.

This is in the perfect category for many a buyer, include me in that mix

ARE YOU LISTENING TOYOTA???? BUILD IT, I called for this type of truck for YEARS, this will be a home run if they can pull of the QDR which Toyota already has. this truck will put everyone on notice that isn't already paying attention with something in the works like it.

I have a 2013 Ram 2500 Diesel Crew Cab with an 8' bed that I use to bumper pull a 35' dual axle camper. The camper weighs about 8500# loaded and I add about 400 pounds in the bed along with my family of four. My last truck was a 2010 F150 that could only pull it on flat and low hills but not where I wanted to go (tried and slowed to 15 mph with my foot to the floor). The Ram is complete overkill on size and capability but I love the truck and the motor.

This Titan would have been perfect (if available when I needed it) and as long as it looks better in person I would consider it as a trade. The spot where the A pillar meets the hood has a lot of different lines and directions and looks a little droopy. I don't care that it looks like other trucks, that might help it sell better.

This could be the nail in the coffin for the Tundra.

By the way...there is no F-150 that can be configured to tow 12000 #. I have tried every configuration and the max i can get is 10,700#. But like I've said before, the F-150 might advertise the weight (my 2010 was supposedly capable of towing 11,000#) but in real world you don't want to get close to the max numbers I was close to 60-75% and the weight was pushing the truck. My Ram 2500 diesel pulls and stops the load no problem.

I wonder if the Nissan has a jake brake like my Ram.

I like this truck and I think the Titan will do well in both configurations. Reliability and proven miles of the 5.0 aside, the mid duty will appeal to many.

The interior is night and day from the old model and looks to be on par with the other full-size trucks.

I did buy a 2014 Ram with the 6.4 and I do like the truck but I agree with anybody that says this 5.0 should be the mid engine offering on the at least one of the Big 3 HD's. In Ram's case, the 6.4 should be the base engine with the 5.0 and 6.7 Cummins as the options.

Pending on some real numbers and a year of 5.0's on the road to iron bugs out I'll include the Titan on my list. It is a bit of a ballsy move by Nissan but I think they'll come out of it OK. Nissan isn't trying to sell at the numbers of the Big 3 but they want a piece of the pie and I don't blame them. At least on paper so far they're looking pretty good. Having the light and mid duty strategy will harm Tundra more than anything.

I really like this XD package, ive always been interested in the 1500hd chevy and 7700 ford. I want a 1/2 ton size truck that can still ride comfortably and fit on tighter trails but id like to have the power of a lighter diesel. Like the early Dmax with its IFS smaller sized and more then adequate power.

The front end looks a little odd, but nothing a bull bar can't fix.

As Aaron alluded to the XD variant will take sales away from the Big 2 and FCA in the lighter HD segment.

This is a heavier truck than the F-150, so it will tow better if that floats your boat. It seems many decide that the more you can tow the better the pickup.

I'd expect it's FE to be better than the 3.5 EcoBoost and around the same as the 2.7 EcoBoost in real life driving not those ambitious EPA figures touted.

The front end looks a little odd, but nothing a bull bar can't fix.

As Aaron alluded to the XD variant will take sales away from the Big 2 and FCA in the lighter HD segment.

This is a heavier truck than the F-150, so it will tow better if that floats your boat. It seems many decide that the more you can tow the better the pickup.

I'd expect it's FE to be better than the 3.5 EcoBoost and around the same as the 2.7 EcoBoost in real life driving not those ambitious EPA figures touted.

Poll Question:

Which of these statements best describes you, as a pickup shopper/buyer/owner?

Yes, I'd love a truck more capable than the toughest light-duty, but don't want to spend big bucks to step up to a heavy-duty for capabilities I won't fully use.
No, I'm good with the pickup choices available to me today.

Have you looked at the prices for 1/2 tons these days?
Some cases the 3/4 ton is cheaper than a 1/2 ton.
Just go to this very site and look up the V8 shootout and the 3/4 ton gas shoot out.

I do not want my 1/2 ton to ride like a 3/4 ton. That is why they make different trucks in the same brand.

Japanese trucks don't have these choices. The Toyota tundra was between 1/2 ton 3/4 ton because they did not have a 3/4 ton choice. As a result ride quality off road suffers.


No, I'm good with the pickup choices available to me today. Ram has done a great job with both ride and capability. The 3/4 ton Ram has the best ride with the most capability of the big 3. The 1500 has the best ride and out handles G.M. and Ford when loaded.


Give it a rest. I have exactly what you're pushing; a 2014 Ram 2500 6.4. It's a great truck and I like it.

But, you can't spam everybody into thinking that this new Titan is not a good option compared to what's currently available.

It might turn out to be a dud but it might turn out to be exactly what the market is looking for. On paper, this Titan is exactly what I need whether it has a 5.0 Cummins or a new 5.6.

Well, compared to the 800 l payload of the RAM Eco Diesel it has a lot of cojones.

It is a good looking truck. I can't wait to see the shorter wheelbase version in lighter duty 1500.

They have a lot of room to play in-I saw my first 2015 F150 Saturday-MSRP was $61367.99!!! This for a half ton gasser!?

A lot of landscapers around here will look hard at this XD.
It better have a factory snow plow package.

I wish Nissan well.

I'm guessing the lighter-duty models will not have the big, bulky front end like the XD, especially since they won't be using diesel engines. I still want to see a regular cab model though.

Cummins owner, Cummins doesnt offer a Compression release engine brake(Jacobs brake) on their 6.7 diesel for the ram pick up. they do offer an exhaust break that works by modulating the turbo sliding nozzle ring to restrict the flow of exhaust gases from the engine. I bet the new 5.0 will use a system like this too.

@kibsford86 - good catch. Jake brake is a different animal. All of the current pickup trucks exhaust brake through the turbocharger.

@HemiV8 - Ram 1500 does not have a dog in this fight. Both Ford and GM have 1/2 tons that overlap with 3/4 ton trucks. This truck targets that overlap.

The Ram 1500 Ecodiesel is aimed at the SUV buyer wanting great mpg and be able to carry a small amount of stuff without stinking up the passenger cabin.

This truck targets the upper end of the 1/2 ton class and the gasser end of the 3/4 ton class. The 5.0 will not come close to the empty mpg of the Ecodiesel but will get good mpg under loads that the Ram 1500 would collapse under.

Fred Diaz has earned his money with his strategy for building and marketing this truck.

We forget that this engine was supposed to go into the Ram 1500. We also have forgotten that Diaz has Ram's head.

Diaz has an ax to grind with Ram and this is his tool.

Yes! Its for me! I currently have a ford heavy half (seven lug wheels, 2400lbs payload) that I'll need to replace soon. I'd like a smaller diesel, but the dodges have no payload for even my tiny slide in camper. This titan xd could be it...

This would be perfect for me! Half tons don't cut my needs and the big diesels are too expensive. If there is a work edition of the XD Titan with a longbed that seats 4 would be perfect at 30k

Does anyone else think there will be an NP2500 at some point?

To answer the below question honestly, neither answer is correct, even the base model NP 1500 is more truck than I need, so I am NOT good with the choices available today, but getting bigger is NOT the answer.

What I really want is a truck as small as or smaller than the Frontier with better interior design and comfort and a stronger engine/tranny combo for better performance and economy. As for looks? I do like the looks of the new Titan--but that's as far as it goes.

"Which of these statements best describes you, as a pickup shopper/buyer/owner?

"Yes, I'd love a truck more capable than the toughest light-duty, but don't want to spend big bucks to step up to a heavy-duty for capabilities I won't fully use.
"No, I'm good with the pickup choices available to me today."

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