I hadn’t been this excited about a test drive of a vehicle in quite some time, not even for any sports car or luxury sedan. Nissan was offering me an extended test drive of their new foray into the truck market: the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the much-anticipated 5.0L V8 Cummins turbo diesel engine.
I had plans to test the Titan XD properly, not just any test drive where I take the vehicle around town on my normal daily commute and run some errands. No, the Titan XD was going to get a workout. In the end, I put 2,000 km on the XD over the course of my extended drive. I hauled a total of three cars for approximately 1,500 of those 2,000 km, I hauled engines and transmissions, picked up a door (the lightest task) and of course dealt with the daily grind as well.
A little background here — I used to own a 2005 Nissan Titan, I enjoyed my Titan for four years and did a lot of towing and hauling with it. Introduced as a 2004 model, the Titan was Nissan’s first real attempt at a full-size, half-ton pickup truck. On paper, it looked easily up to the task, but those first few years of the Titan were difficult in terms of sales and in the end reliability. There were many well-documented reliability issues with the Titan and my personal truck suffered them all.
From under-performing brakes, failed differentials, leaf-spring shackle failures (and eventually upgrades) and more, the Titan wasn’t a dream vehicle to own. The 5.6L V8 on the other hand was never an issue and it was plenty powerful for the jobs I tasked it with — perhaps not the most fuel-efficient of drivetrains though coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Nissan clearly knows that in order to be taken seriously in the truck segment they need to bring to the market something more capable and more desirable and something different to draw the loyal buyers away from Ford, GM and RAM – and for some, Toyota – all trucks that have been around long enough to be proven as workhorses (brand loyalties aside).
By introducing the XD, Nissan is offering more than a half-ton pickup, they are offering a vehicle that is built on a chassis that is almost a 3/4-ton but not quite. I think I understand the marketing scheme here and I certainly understand the truck — many truck buyers want the biggest truck on the block and stepping up to a rough riding 3/4 ton pickup for a daily driver is a little bit excessive. The Titan XD offers that niche macho huge truck feel without actually being that much larger than a 1/2 ton… if that makes any sense.
Quick Hits: 2016 Nissan Titan XD: 10 Things You Need to Know
What Nissan ended up delivering to me was the fully loaded Platinum Reserve edition Titan XD. A full (crew cab) four-door truck with a 6-foot 5-inch box, the most useful size for the daily grind – the 5-foot 4-inch boxes are just too small to hold anything and although an 8 foot box is a wonderful thing the few times you need the length, the truck would be nearly impossible to park.
The Platinum Reserve is loaded with options such as leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, front heated and cooled seats, rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, around-view monitor system (360-degree camera), parking sensors and more.