The Nissan Titan XD is more than a light-duty truck but less than a heavy-duty one.

Nissan Titan XD SL 4WD CC Review

The Titan XD makes sense, once you think about it.

By: Wade Thiel

Web2Carz Senior Staff Writer

Published: April 27th, 2016

Nissan is trying something different with the Titan XD. It's attempting to pull buyers from a previously untapped area of the truck market and attract people who need a truck that's more than a light-duty pickup like the RAM 1500 or the Ford F-150 but don't really need a heavy-duty behemoth like the Ford F-250 or a Chevrolet Silverado 2500. The real question is, is there a market in this middle ground?

When compared to other trucks out there, the Titan XD fares both good and bad. If you look at it next to most light-duty pickup, it is awesome, but compare it to any heavy-duty pickup and it looks a little wimpy. Nissan has hit the middle ground between these two categories well, but it's unclear as to if that will transition to sales.

About as many Nissan Titans sold in all of 2014 as Ford F-150s did in five-days-time that same year, so Nissan had to find a way to make the Titan relevant. Splitting the difference between light-duty and heavy-duty trucks is how they chose to do it. Nissan's hopes to blaze a trail through uncharted territory. There's just no telling if the path the Titan is on will lead anywhere worth going.

  • Driving Impressions

    The first thing you'll notice when driving the Titan XD is the heft of the truck. It's a big, heavy pickup. At more than 7,100 lbs., the Titan XD makes any light duty pickup seem like a feathery dream. Still, despite the chubbiness of the truck, it handles remarkably well. The weight of the truck is felt in turns and when braking, but the truck's heavier steering and strong brakes instill a lot of confidence in almost any situation.

    In city streets, the Titan XD sticks out like a sore thumb due to its overall size. More than once we winced while squeezing through tight streets, but that's not what this truck is designed for. On the highway, the pickup shines with a smooth and quite ride and plenty of power. Country roads, too, are a dream as the healthy chug of the diesel seems to pair well with fields and streams passing by your windows.

    • Ride Quality: Smoother than we expected in almost all conditions thanks to well-dampened suspension and hydraulic cab mounts. Extremely quiet for a diesel, with little engine or road noise.
    • Steering: Heavier than any other light-duty pickups, especially at low speeds. Provides good road feel and a very stable feel in almost all situations.
    • Acceleration: Not exactly quick, but what can you expect with such a heavy truck.
    • Braking: Smooth, progressive and plenty powerful enough for the extra heavy Titan XD.
    • Handling: There's no denying the heft of this truck, but it handles its weight surprisingly well, resulting in a very stable feeling truck no matter the driving environment.

  • Technology and Safety

    The technology on the Titan XD is plentiful and you can always add more if you please by upgrading to a new trim level or adding optional packages. Our Titan XD was the SL trim and came equipped with power heated seats, heated mirrors, remote engine start, trailer brake control, trailer light check, multiple outlets throughout the interior, NissanConnnect with navigation, apps and more. While all of the important technology was there, accessing it wasn't always intuitive. You'd undoubtedly become accustomed to how the technology and controls operate over time, but we felt that other automakers integrate tech into their vehicle's better.

    • Infotainment Screen Size/Quality: 7-inch color display. The quality was only okay, and images and graphics could be sharper. The touchscreen was less sensitive than other vehicles we've recently driven, and we found ourselves utilizing buttons and knobs whenever we could.
    • Bluetooth Phone Pairing: Phone paired easily and reconnected upon entry with no issues.
    • Voice/Sound Quality: Call quality was great with no issues. The stereo system sounds superb no matter the volume.
    • Controls: There is a nice mix of buttons, knobs and touchscreen controls. While the controls looked simple, they were actually kind of cumbersome and could be laid out better.
    • Safety: Plenty of safety features and tech, including front, side and side curtain airbags, ABS braking, vehicle dynamic control, electronic brake force distribution and automatic collision notification.

  • Exterior Design and Styling

    From the outside, the Nissan looks big, and that's the first thing everyone says to you when you get out of it. When compared to other trucks, especially heavy duty trucks, the Nissan is simply par for the course, though. It's a big truck, don't get us wrong, but it's not all that much bigger than many other pickups on the road, although you may have trouble fitting it in a regular garage due to its ride height.

    • Front: The height of the hood and the large grille help make the Nissan seem huge. The nose is chrome-heavy, with the grille, bumper and headlight details all relying on chrome to contrast with the vehicle's body color.
    • Rear: The rear of the truck is about as high as the front, but it's much simpler, with large taillights, Titan XD badges and the Nissan logo being the only adornments to speak of.
    • Profile: The profile helps showcase the length of the crew cab and bed and really make the overall truck look long. Also, the chrome accents on the mirrors and door handles work nicely to provide contrast from the body color.

  • Driver and Passenger Comfort

    While the technology and layout of the controls might not be a strong suit in our eyes, other than that, the Titan XD is exceptionally comfortable. The crew cab offers tons of space to stretch out, making long road trips about as comfortable as they get. The leather-wrapped seats are as comfortable as they look, and provide supportive cushioning that keeps you feeling fresh even after a long haul.

    • Front Seats: The leather seats are supportive and reasonably well bolstered and were comfortable even after several hours of driving.
    • Rear Seats: The rear seats can fit three adults and have plenty of leg room. The seats also fold up and reveal under seat storage.
    • Visibility: Good forward visibility, although the A-pillars are a little thick. The large tow mirrors help with rear visibility and allow you to easily see what's hiding in your blind spots.

  • Storage and Cargo Room

    With the under seat storage, spacious back seating area and the full bed with bed boxes, the Nissan Titan XD is more than capable of hauling anything you need to take with you. While the bed boxes are handy, they also take up a portion of the bed. RAM's Ramboxes seem to be a better solution because the boxes are integrated into the sides of the bed and don't take up interior bed space. Still, the ability to lock up tools, straps or anything else that will fit in these bed boxes is a major plus.

    The center console is large and the door pockets and pockets on either side of the center console give you plenty of places to store items. The cup holders up front do block some of the usable storage space, but they are removable and adjustable, making their seemingly afterthought construction easy to live with.

    • Storage: Interior storage compartments are plentiful. From the massive center console to the standard glove box and the under rear seat storage, you'll never need additional pockets or boxes to put items.
    • Trunk/Cargo Room: The full-sized bed makes it easy to haul anything from furniture to a load of gravel or mulch and because the Titan XD comes equipped with bed boxes, you'll have a lockable place to store your tools.

  • Final Impressions

    We came away from our time with the Titan XD fans of the vehicle. It's very comfortable, drives nice in almost any situation, has plenty of power and can tow and haul more than a light-duty pickup. While we weren't crazy about how heavy the truck feels and felt that many of the features, like the bed boxes and infotainment system, should be batter, overall it's an impressive truck that sits in an interesting spot in the market.

    Our first glance at the price tag made us raise our eyebrows, but now that we think about how expensive some light-duty trucks can be ($50,000 easy for a top trim level with a few options) we realize that the Titan is on par if not a bargain with other trucks, especially when you consider that some heavy duty diesel engine trucks top $70k. The starting price of the Titan XD for the lowest trim level is around $40k for the diesel and about $35k for the gasoline, which seems to fit right in the middle of the light-duty and heavy-duty price points and once again reinforces the fact that this truck wedges itself in a unique spot in the market.

  • Price & Specifications

    Engine: 5.0-liter V8 Turbodiesel

    Transmission: Alsin 6-speed automatic

    Drivetrain/Layout: Four-wheel drive, front-engine

    Power Output: 310 hp, 555 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy (mpg): Observed 12 city / 22 highway (EPA has not yet rated this vehicle)

    Base Price: $55,030

    As Tested: $57,255 (incl. $1,195 destination charge)

    Standard Features: Shift-on-the-Fly 4WD System; 2-Speed Transfer Case with 4Hi & 4Lo; 4-Wheel Power Disc Brakes; 4-Wheel Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS); 20" Alloy Wheels; Full Size Spare Tire; LT265/60R20 Tires; Driver & Front Passenger, Side-Impact, & Curtain Air Bags; Lower Anchors &Tethers for Children (LATCH); 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Security System (VSS); Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System; automatic Collision Notification; Leather Captain's Chairs w/ Heated Seats; 8-Way Power Driver Seat w/ Adjustable Lumbar Support 4-Way Power Passenger Seat; 60/40 Rear Flip Up Bench seat; Column Shifter Manual Gear Select; Cruise Control; Remote Engine Start; Trailer Brake controller' Trailer Light Check function; Multiple Power Outlets; Rockford Fosgate Premium audio system with AM/FM/CD Aux Input, 7-inch Color Display and 12 Speakers; NissanConnect with Navigation, Mobile Apps and Services Nissan Connect Services; Nissan Voice Recognition for Navi & Audio Sirius XM Satellite Radio; Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link;USB connection Port w/ iPod Connectivity; Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System; Siri Eyes Free; Front & RearSonar system/RearView Monitor; Advanced Drive-Assist Display; Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control Auto-Dimming Inside Mirror with Homelink Universal Transceiver;Automatic On/Off Headlights; Fog Lights; Extendable, Folding, Heated tow Mirrors with Puddle Lamps; Chrome Outside Door Handles; Satin Chrome Grille; Power Sliding Rear Window; Running Boards; Integrated Gooseneck Hitch; Class IV Integrated Receiver Hitch; factory-Applied spray-on Bedliner; Utili-track Channel System with 4 Adjustable Tie-down Cleats; 110V Power Outlet inside Bed; LED Under Rail Bed Lighting; Front Tow Hooks

    Options on our test vehicle: Floor Mats; Blind Spot Warning Delete Package; Titan Box; Electronic Tailgate Lock

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