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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Will it handle a plow ok

On 2016 Nissan titan XD

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