For Whom Does the 2016 Nissan Titan XD Roll?

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With all the requisite pomp and circumstance, Nissan recently celebrated the first all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD to roll off the production line in Canton, Miss. Nissan's Jose Munoz, executive vice president of Nissan Motor Co. and chairman of Nissan North America, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant had front-row seats for the Nov. 19 event.

But the big question about the segment-busting XD is whether there is a place for a full-size pickup that sits in between a traditional half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup. If you swallow the research Nissan is pushing, there are many people who want more than a half-ton can provide without making the trade-offs one has to make when choosing a heavy-duty platform. The problem we see is that when you look at the numbers, it's a much heavier truck with less payload capacity than many half-ton configurations, and it's not strong enough to pull the heavier loads that heavy-duty powertrains can handle.

There's no question that as trailers and toys get bigger, the pickups that tow them will have to change, but up to this point it seems like half-tons have done a pretty good job. We wonder if there are that many people who need to tow or carry heavier loads than most normal-sized half-tons can manage. Or put another way, is there really a need for this "tweener" or is this new pickup an answer to a question that no one in the pickup-buying world is asking?

Take the Ford F-150 as an example. There are several crew-cab and SuperCab F-150 models that offer more payload capacity than the much heavier Titan XD. Yes, the stronger and heavier frame of the XD does offer more than 1,000 pounds of extra gross vehicle weight (ranging between 8,800 and 8,990), but then again the aluminum-bodied F-150 weighs at least 2,000 pounds less (in some configurations even more) than the XD. That means that the Ford's max payload in a four-door crew cab is often much greater than(depending on trim and engine) the bigger and heavier XD.

From our vantage point, the Titan XD, regardless of how capable or well built it is, could turn out to be a niche vehicle player in a segment that has a ton of bandwidth. The most obvious example of this is the previous-generation Honda Ridgeline, which attempted to serve pickup buyers who didn't really want to own a pickup truck. The Titan XD clearly offers strength and traditional truck values but without the unique details of the Ridgeline. The Ridgeline didn't really look like a pickup or drive like a pickup, although it had some nice storage and bed access details that separated it from competitors.

The Titan XD's advantage is that it offers everything everyone else does — premium trim packages, good payload capacity, good towing capacity and a traditional look — but does it with a heavier truck. We'll concede that the 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins engine is a wonderfully unique selling point and could possibly be enough to separate the XD from the field. However, an engine of this size on a chassis this heavy (a crew-cab SL 4x2 we drove weighed more than 7,200 pounds) won't do well in the fuel-economy department. Some estimated reports have the Titan XD hitting the 15/20 mpg city/highway range, but we'll never know for sure. Nissan decided not to submit the Titan XD for EPA certification because it's not required for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 8,500 pounds. (We wish Nissan had submitted the truck for certification.) Those numbers are not bad, but they're not categorically different from the bigger turbo-diesel choices available from GM (6.6-liter V-8), Ford (6.7-liter V-8) and Ram (6.7-liter inline-six); each of those can tow and haul a lot more than the Titan XD.

Where the Titan XD crushes potential competitors is ride quality. With so much range and configurability available in the half-ton segment, heavy-duty pickups have focused on work-centered buyers, oftentimes fleets that purchase large, stripped versions. These are the brutes of the pickup world, designed to pull and haul loads bigger than they should, and their suspensions feel like it, especially when driving around town with an empty bed. Not so with the Titan XD. Drive the XD empty and you can tell the suspension engineers did an excellent job of balancing ride control and comfort.

The bottom line isn't how well the Titan XD does the same thing that all the other competitors do, or even whether it does any one of those things differently. The issue that concerns us most is whether there are buyers waiting for a truck that doesn't ride as well as any of the half-tons, won't carry as much as any of the other diesel-equipped three-quarter-tons and doesn't offer enough of the technology we're beginning to expect.

One last question: How can Nissan sell a diesel pickup truck that's presumably bought to tow or haul and offer only a 26-gallon fuel tank? The best-case scenario when towing a heavy load is that you'll be filling up every 200 or 300 miles; the worst case is much less than that. That's a lot of stopping over a long haul and one detail that has us thinking maybe Nissan doesn't quite have this new kind of buyer nailed down yet.

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This truck is going to go down in history being bought by one of two kind of people.
PERSON 1. The Titan XD is way to much truck for there needs and they should have bought a Eco-Diesel that gets much better MPG and can pull all there light loads.
PERSON 2 buys the Titan XD and pulls the guts out of it working it way harder then the truck can handle .They should have bought a 3/4 ton truck with a higher GVWR and heavier duty parts to hand the work they do.
This is a jack of all trades and a master of nothing. This truck is just the physical embodiment of what Japan thinks about the american truck market. I see this truck being nothing more than a hyped up sales gimmick that will be completely out of production in 3-5 years leaving anyone how buys this "Goldilocks Version" truck regretting it. I don't care for all the hype for a truck that is clearly not in it for the long haul and is a niche vehicle. They small group that will even want this truck or use it for it's intended purpose will find it hard to get parts for this truck once it flops.
As a truck owner and buyer i don't see me even looking at this truck as a viable purchase until the year 2025 If it happens to survive past my 3-5 year death date . By 2025 they will have the bugs worked out and parts might be available. I just hope in 2025 i will still be in the niche that this truck is intended .

There is one big hole in your argument.

The truck is tilted towards the well heeled person who probably has a few acres, couple of horses and a couple of kids.

The husband goes to his middle class job everyday in his truck with all his fellow workers admiring the rattle of the diesel with the background rumble of a V8.

One the way home he stops at Home Depot to buy 20 or 30 2" flathead nails, to fix the trough in the kit form stable he put up incorrectly, with the horse float alongside of it.

His wife probably drives a SUV to take the kids to school in.

He likes it because it has a rather refined ride and can tow his boat on the highway at 75mph through hill and dale.

This truck is like the Ram, it is targeting the largest and most profitable sub segment in the pickup world.

The person who buys this is of the same mind as someone who buys a Colorado/Canyon.

Do they need a truck like this?

No. They want this truck and have the affluence to keep it on the road, like 75% of all pickup owners including myself, Lou, Jeff S, etc.

Do I need a fully blinged, leather, fully automated windscreen wiper, auto dimming mirrors and a sound system that would do well in any home?

I bought my pickup as a toy and lifestyle enhancer.

It is a sign of my upbringing as a middle class person who has and is living the dream.

In Australia when someone asks how your a doing and you reply "living the dream" means life's good.

The Titan is as much a work truck as a XLT F-150.

If you want a work truck, then buy a truck with vinyl floor mats, easy to clean, cheap fabric seats and minimal onboard entertainment.

You guys always talk of pickups as if they are real trucks.

Have a close look at one and tell me would you buy an XLT for your workers? Or, would a XL suffice.

This is where this Nissan will hit the sweet spot. It's a pickup that will tow your toys will little or no sweat.

Would you even tow 10 000lbs behind a F-150. Seriously, look at the gearbox. Look at the diff.

If you look at real trucks they have supersize components with similar size engines as many US pickups.

Pickups are a light vehicle designed for very occasional hard work.

Weigh a lot more, tows a little more, hauls the same or less than most half tons. Costs? probably more than a regular half ton and that engine will cost a lot up front and diesel is a lot more a gallon and the tests I'm reading are getting 12ish MPG (wonder why they didn't certify it to have that sitting on the window sticker?). Rides nice? Well at least you are getting something. IDK... Im having a hard time seeing the value here. If I really am serious about moving serious stuff/toys I would get a serous HD diesel. For not a lot more money. If I got enough work to do and value my money and still kinda care about MPG I get a half ton configured as needed. If I got money to burn and want to pretend I need a truck I get a midsize. Where does the Titan XD fit... Angry Fiat owners who gotta have a Cummins but in a package that performs more like a thirsty premium priced half ton? Its going to be interesting and maybe the regular Titan will fit into a more traditional spot and bring some innovation and refinement that those unhappy with the big 3 minus 1 could consider.

The stripper weighs 7000 lbs??? Look at the F150 Super Cab or RC with 3.5 ecoboost-look at how you can spec it-the payload and towing are huge.I think Nissan missed a bet here.

Here's hoping the light duty gasser meets the mark..with decent load values and MPGs. I am assuming it will have a lighter frame and drivetrain components....

Good luck will need it.

A lot of horse owners would give the Titan XD a look. Many of them tow three or four-horse trailers that crowd the limit of a half ton, and haul to shows or trails that are close enough not to make the 25 gallon tank an issue.

The real question for me is how the Titan XD compares to the Silverado 2500 with the 6.0 liter gas engine. It seems quite likely the Chevy will be a lot cheaper and have greater capacity, so the decision comes down to just how much more civilized the Titan is when not hauling.

I'd take a diesel XD with HD transmission and axles over a beefed up 1500 from the big 3 as a person who tows a camper and a boat and would be using it as a daily driver. So many of you are overlooking that the XDs listed are all premium trims. As in XLT or better. That is the reason for the cost. Go look up the premium versions of the other 1500s then add the packages that need to be added to get them to where they are exceeding the XD. You could make the same argument for skipping the HD F150 and going to the F250 as you make about the XD compared to the F250. Ford seems to think there is a market there. None of the competitors offer the mechanicals or a diesel in their beefed up 1500s like the XD without stepping up to an HD. Compred to the HD the XD is offering better daily liveabilty and mpg.

All that towing hype, and a 26 gal tank! That eliminates it for me.

It's an awfully fat pig for a six-lug heavy half-ton for sure. And, it doesn't offer a hauling advantage over the 'lightweight" F-150. Rugged diesel longevity [if you're into that] is the only possible upside provided you like buying more expensive fuel. I think most owners will be Nissan [or Toyota] product loyalists who want a Cummins badge on the fender.

Aiming for the "has 2 horses and only tows locally" is a very small target group. Hope there are enough of those folks unhappy with current beefier 3/4 and SRW 1 ton options and somewhat adequate 1/2 ton options. Yea sure we can probably almost find enough folks to fill a thimble that this truck would be "PERFECT" for... just like you can probably fill a small movie theater with folks that like the Ridgeline or a phone booth with Pontiac Aztek fans. The rest of us are scratching our heads and wondering why to pony up 4 or 5K for 5.0 Cummins when for another 5ish K you can have a big boy diesel in a big boy truck or keep your money and go for the most capable crop of half tons to date.

Clint - Because the "Big Boy diesels" ride like garbage and handle terrible as an unloaded daily driver. Add in that most people don't need 1000lb/ft of torque just to tow a 8-10,000lb camper or boat. Name one current "most capable" 1/2 ton that has a strong diesel mated to a transmission that is found in 1 ton trucks with a rear axle that is in 3/4 ton trucks. Add in if you tow heavy with any of those 1/2 ton gassers they will gulp fuel like a shamwow sucks up water

supercliffy - if most people don't use the capacities of their trucks then one shouldn't care or pay attention to what the cargo or tow limits are for them.


Anyone that plans on towing or hauling should know their limits even if they don't plan on carrying much or towing much.

You cited your friend with the Ram Laramie ecodiesel. Depending on configuration that truck will be 1000lbs to 1400 lbs. A trailer you described will probably be around 6,000lbs. That translates to 600 lbs of weight on the truck. Depending again on configuration that leaves 400-800 lbs left over for passengers and gear. If is just him and his wife then 400lbs left would be okay if the truck is totally empty. A family of four will easily add 600-800lbs with associated paraphernalia.

People get away with overloading all of the time but one shouldn't take that risk.

I don't see many Ram 1500's used as work trucks or towing or hauling much. That is what I see.

I have nothing against Ram 1500 other than poor cargo limits for what I want and poor durability ratings. Ram's durability ratings are improving and there is a rumour of a HD 1500 Ram.

The Nissan XD is too heavy to really be compared to 1/2 tons and most likely will be closer to HD's in price. A Ram ecodiesel is a better option as long as one isn't towing more than 8k. If one tows often then a 3/4 ton or 1 ton makes more sense than that of the XD.

I've driven a Ram 1500 pentastar with coil springs. It rode nice empty but wasn't vastly superior to my F150 with 350-500lbs in the box. My truck empty definitely rides rougher but I'm not worried about empty ride as that seldom ever happens with any of my trucks I've owned.

KeithCT - both the F150 and GM 1500's when equipped for max tow or HD cargo come with upgraded i.e. larger rear ends. Engine torque loads tend to be the determinate when a company picks a transmission to use.

If one actually needs to tow all the time then it makes sense to go to a diesel HD. If one is running empty the majority of time then do they really need a diesel HD or a Titan XD to begin with?

I know a few guys that had HD diesels when they did a lot of recreational towing. One went to a F150 EB 3.5. His comment was that loaded it was as hard as any other 1/2 ton gasser but empty was superior in mpg to even his previous diesel. He found that overall operating costs were better with the gasser. Some guys I know just put up with the rougher ride. I know another that uses a Chevy HD with 6.0. The guy is a heavy duty mechanic and preferes to eat the gas costs as opposed to the complexity and maintenance of diesels.

I'd like to see a shootout where 3/4 ton diesel HD's and max tow 1/2 tons from Ford and GM are tested against the XD together.

Each to their own. This site blog exists to debate various differences. Unfortunately PUTC does a poor job of regulating the comments which corrupt any legitimate discussions.

I'd still take the big red motor Nissan has over an Eccoburst or EchoDiesel any day. And for all you complaining about the fuel tank size I doubt anybody here would not have stopped one or two times anyways before it was almost empty.
Lou people will overload anything. I have met many a Ford owner that believe the B.S. on their commercials. They see a number on TV and they believe my truck can tow that much! They have no idea of the axle ratio their truck even has. Plus they don't even realize they have to account for everyone in their truck let alone all their gear. But the same can be said of the vast majority of pickup truck owners. That being said I have driven my Ram hauling a loaded cargo trailer for many miles. My truck rode great and it hauled the trailer with ease all the way on a 3,000 km or 2,000 mile trip.
That being said I am hoping to see an non HD Titan and see how things look there since I will be in the market for a 2017 model.

Lou, you just summed up the XD trying to state a disadvantage. MPG unloaded there was no significant advantage to owning an HD diesel over a gasser. They were almost the same unloaded. That is why at the time when I bought my current truck I didn't look at a diesel. The only time I would get any advantage out of the diesel would be towing my camper. The XD should better the large gas V8's empty and also the big diesels in MPG empty, yet far more efficient towing. The EB is a great motor and has loads of power, but it does guzzle gas to put out that power. Take an 8000lb camper on a trip and which would you rather have? 8-9mpg or likely around 12mpg or better? That is why the XD gets away with a smaller fuel tank as well. Much is being made out of price, but so long as Ford and the others are cranking out $50-60k 1/2 tons that are less capable in many cases, I think Nissan will do just fine.

Keith... you are also missing that the Titan XD is a pig when it comes to MPG. Reports that its hitting 12 in normal driving. Its MPG "advantage" under tow will be minimal to a gasser or a big boy diesel and with diesel costing more and the $5K up front for the Cummins your running in a mouse exercise wheel thinking your saving money. If your daily driver is a pickup truck especially a big expensive one you better be doing work daily because your pissing money away. Get a car for daily driving if you don't have something to hitch up to, or aren't moving bunch of stuff in the bed almost daily. Trucks are too big and too inefficient to be used primarily to move 200lbs of operator around. The 7 to 10K occasional towing crowd already has very good options that also haul more, get better unladed MPG, and almost certainly cost less. If you got big boy work to do you need a big boy truck. Sorry about the ride put 2K lbs in the back it will settle down. I used to drive a truck daily and have been priced out of having a truck just for the sake of having a truck and driving it daily and honestly it was a financial blessing. I still have a truck but it only gets about a 100 miles a week as needed.

Clint, unless you buy a cheap econobox and I mean cheap it is not a good financial choice to buy a truck as a tow vehicle and a car as a daily driver. The math does not work out. A buddy of mine thought buying a $3500.00 motorcycle would pay for itself that year in fuel saving. He drives an F150. It calculated out to be around 4 years before the savings started. No if you want both a car and truck then fine but you really cannot justify the financial part of it. Just like my motorhome, sure I save on hotel cost and going out to eat all time on vacation but how much cost savings is there with a $150k motorhome. I justify it because I want it and my family enjoys the time in it.

If this truck got similar FE as the EcoFiat it would make sense over a gasser because this 5.0L will kick the snot out of the EcoFiat in towing. But similar FE to gas with a higher price tag, higher fuel cost, DEF, likely higher maint cost it is an option for a truck but not an economical choice. At least from what has been released that I have seen so far.

I love that a random mpg number of 12 around town has been assigned to a brand new truck that is not for sale yet and has due to classification has no EPA published figures. LOL

Do some actual thinking. What MPG does a Dodge 2500 with the lower rated Cummins get? Now look at the XD that runs the same transmission and a similar rearend yet runs a smaller displacement engine putting out ballpark power numbers.

Also factor in the truck tested is brand new with almost no break in and diesel notoriously get better with some miles on them.

BTW the $50-60k pricing you see for the XD includes the Cummins in a crew cab. There is no gas or King Cab/regular cab XDs available yet. Nissan stated they were releasing crewcabs first with the first two trims being the Platinum Reserve and the Pro4X. Those are 2 of the 3 highest trim levels Nissan offers.

Thank you for bringing up the same point that I have been thinking about. Personally I don't think there is a need for a truck like the Titan xd. The engine and transmission in this truck are the biggest selling points. Unfortunately they are offset by the staggering curb weight of this pig. Had this truck been 800-1,000lbs lighter they could have been on to something. Considering payload and towing capacity being so close to properly equipped half tons it doesn't really differentiate itself from a half ton. It does not get note worthy economy either. The truck also doesn't have the pleasure of being a hot rod when unloaded like many half ton and even diesel heavy duty trucks. Titan xd with Cummins is probably the slowest full size pick up on the market. I think the curb weight could be seen as the number one thing that prevented this truck from being a true tweener. Imagine 3k payload on 4 door model and 13,500 tow capacity. Also would have rode better, accelerated faster and be maneuvered more easily. Comes with a goose neck built in but a payload like a half ton?! To keep it short a potentially great truck let down by 800-1,000lbs of beef. This truck will really only sell to those wanting to be different or just love Nissan.

Thank you for bringing up the same point that I have been thinking about. Personally I don't think there is a need for a truck like the Titan xd. The engine and transmission in this truck are the biggest selling points. Unfortunately they are offset by the staggering curb weight of this pig. Had this truck been 800-1,000lbs lighter they could have been on to something. Considering payload and towing capacity being so close to properly equipped half tons it doesn't really differentiate itself from a half ton. It does not get note worthy economy either. The truck also doesn't have the pleasure of being a hot rod when unloaded like many half ton and even diesel heavy duty trucks. Titan xd with Cummins is probably the slowest full size pick up on the market. I think the curb weight could be seen as the number one thing that prevented this truck from being a true tweener. Imagine 3k payload on 4 door model and 13,500 tow capacity. Also would have rode better, accelerated faster and be maneuvered more easily. Comes with a goose neck built in but a payload like a half ton?! To keep it short a potentially great truck let down by 800-1,000lbs of beef. This truck will really only sell to those wanting to be different or just love Nissan.

Another note Nissan says there is a market for a tweener truck. Doubt they sell any more than Toyota does a Tacoma. Which would be a huge feat for Nissan I guess. I think there research is faulty just like their marketing. They claim f150 with 5.0l v8 is the most popular choice and that is why they tow tested against it. Not only did the Titan barley pull away from a gas natural aspired v8 of the same displacement as the turbo diesel but their facts aren't straight. Ecoboost makes up approx 80% or > of f150 sales. 3.5l ecoboost has way more low end torque than the 5.0l v8 and a torque curve similar to the larger diesel. The fact is Nissan knows the Titan xd wouldn't pull away from an ecoboost f150 up a hill. It's just sad to me that a tweener truck with a diesel won't even be compared by the best half ton tow rig from Ford. Major foul Nissan!

Something entertaining to me is the people claiming the xd is better built for someone towing 9k+ lbs everyday. If you tow 9k+ lbs everyday you are right you probably should get a more heavy duty truck. You should skip the xd and go right to a 3/4 ton. If you tow 9k everyday empty ride quality doesn't matter. Furthermore a true heavy duty 3/4 will pull 9k like it's not there and out last the xd while its at it. What's more is you will get a real payload and fuel economy that is so close to the xd you would wonder why there is need for a tweener. The tweener truck is intended for people that have big toys to tow on the weekend. Not really for a contractor to tow massive loads everyday. I laugh when people are like this truck is for the brick layers and such. Um no folks 3/4 and 1 tons are for brick layers. Titan xd is a blast from the past. Gives me flash backs to 2003.

We will still have to wait for a full review but again the Cummins Titan does not seem to be any sort of WOW factor. 9mpg towing a 9600lbs trailer, short distance though. From what I can tell the rear axle is not a full floating axle. So it has a standard axle found in 1/2 ton trucks. So the talk about a heavy duty axle is mute.

Just so everyone else out there knows. I just purchased a Yellow Nissan Titan XD 5/8 Ton truck. Simply put, I checked out the competition from the ground up, and for the money, none of the other competitors were less money, or as nice outside and inside. I love my new truck! There will be others like me out there that will also love this truck. I am not happy with the miles per gallon which I have personally tested on my truck to be 18 miles to the gallon right now (because it is new), but someones math is wrong here as at that 18 MPG, I, with a 26 gallon tank can go 442 miles before I am truly forced to fill up. Where do you come up with 200-300 miles to fill up. Lastly, I have an awesome speaker system with this truck. It has the Rockford/Fosgate name and has (12) speakers, one center speaker and one subwoofer for a total of (14) speakers. Also, I have an awesome interior that goes above and beyond anything else out there that I saw when looking to purchase a truck like this. I saw the RAM 1500's, the Ford F150's (which now are involved in a major recall from Ford), the Chevy Silverado's and other's but couldn't find any truck that was comparable to the Nissan that had as much in it, for the same value. Most of the others with the same options were approx. $4-$5,000 more than I paid. Sorry to say that this site hasn't done their homework, like I did. Anyway, say what you will, I am one happy Titan XD owner, and there will be more of us out there, so watch out. Also in closing, I have gotten nothing but praise from other owners of trucks (Different Brands), so I am well pleased.

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