By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
The new 2017 Nissan Titan XD, which is significantly different than the standard 2017 Titan, straddles the line between half-ton pickup trucks like the full-size Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, and the three-quarter-ton F-250 and Ram Heavy Duty 2500. Although they look nearly identical, the XD has a more robust frame than the half-ton Titan and offers a 5.0-liter V8 Cummins turbodiesel engine, which makes towing and hauling feel nearly effortless as well as increases fuel economy and range. Truck buyers who need to tow more than 12,300 pounds or carry more than 2,500 pounds of payload should look to a true heavy-duty, but those who are near the limits of a full-size truck's capacity should consider stepping up to the Titan XD.
There are half-ton trucks with similar towing capacity to the new Titan XD, but towing with the Nissan is more relaxed, thanks to its more robust frame and torque-rich Cummins V8 turbodiesel. The XD's comfortable ride and upscale interior are similar to what you'd find in a full-size truck.
Those who tow less frequently may be happier with a true half-ton. If you tow heavier trailers, look at a three-quarter or one-ton, which offers higher towing and payload capacities. Also, the new Titan XD doesn’t deliver the fuel economy, even with the Cummins engine, or the around-town agility of a half-ton.
Everything about the Nissan Titan XD was fresh just last year. Everything, even its frame and diesel engine. And for 2017 there’s a new Single Cab body style for the commercial fleet and work-truck market. Also, the non-XD half-ton version of the Titan debuts with standard V8 power.
Forget any preconceived notions you may have of a large diesel truck. The 2017 Nissan Titan XD isn’t noisy or uncomfortable. In fact, it’s downright luxurious. There’s a reason Texans...
... simply call big trucks like this “limousines.” You’re sitting in a quiet cabin with heated quilted leather seats while enjoying the truck's smooth ride. You can't even hear the Cummins turbodiesel unless you lower a window. The new XD does feel big at first, but you quickly get used to it. With 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque the Cummins makes acceleration decisive and linear, feeling more like a steady burn than a rocket launch. The Titan XD is much faster off the line than you would expect, however, and the Cummins V8 is plenty of engine for this 7,000-pound beast. Towing 9,500 pounds and hauling significant payload were easy tasks for our test vehicle.
CUMMINS TURBODIESEL V8
Torque makes diesel engines so desirable, and the 555 lb-ft of torque from the Titan XD’s Cummins go to good use. That power provides the new Titan XD with locomotive levels of thrust as well as better fuel economy and improved range over its naturally aspirated, gasoline-burning V8.
AROUND VIEW MONITOR
This feature is invaluable when parking a Titan XD. But it’s also helpful out on the trail where it can be used as you drive to see low obstacles, and when you’re hooking up a trailer, that camera system can help if you're working without a spotter.
Nissan’s new Titan XD brings together a tough, rugged design with available features that will please the most spoiled truck buyer. The top-of-the-line Platinum Reserve trim level gets you the best of the best, with debossed heated and cooled leather seats, open-pore wood accents and aluminum doorsill plates. The most attractive layout uses wood as an accent alongside very comfortable black-and-cocoa-brown 2-tone seats, dash and door panels. Our living room is jealous. Features like hands-free text messaging, navigation, NissanConnect with mobile apps, Bluetooth, and a 110-volt power outlet enhance everything from the daily drive to a cross-country road trip.
A huge design departure from the previous Titan, some have criticized the 2017 Titan XD's styling for looking too much like existing trucks, especially the best-selling Ford F-Series. Whatever, it sure looks tough and it draws a crowd. Some of the design was defined by necessity: For example, the front overhang was extended to accommodate the Cummins turbodiesel grille, charged air cooler and two batteries, and Nissan engineers prioritized aerodynamics in an attempt to maximize fuel economy. Most models come standard with an integrated gooseneck hitch; there's also a useful Utili-track bed-channel system plus watertight Titan Box storage boxes.
Standard on every new 2017 Titan XD is a segment-leading 5-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Hill-start assist also comes standard, as do aluminum step rails, 17-inch steel wheels and a removable, lockable tailgate. Six-passenger seating is offered only in the base model S; all others seat five. A hands-free, text-messaging assistant, 6-speaker stereo and USB ports come in all Titan XDs, as do steering-wheel controls, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear reading lights and NissanConnect with mobile apps. Skidplates are standard in every trim except S.
The new Titan XD comes as S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve, with two cabs, three bed lengths and 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD, 4WD). The V8 turbodiesel is the most significant option. Other options include 20-inch wheels, spray-in bedliner, integrated gooseneck hitch and trailer-sway control (both standard on all but the S), a 110-volt outlet in the truck bed and trailer-brake controller. Extendable, heated auto-dimming tow mirrors are also offered. Inside, Titan XD buyers can opt for heated/cooled leather power seats, 7-inch color touch screen, 12-speaker audio, satellite radio, navigation, Siri Eyes Free and a DVD entertainment system.
There are two engines offered in the Titan XD, a standard 390-horsepower 5.6-liter double-overhead-cam V8 with direct injection. It’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Optional is the big-dog Cummins turbodiesel that displaces 5.0 liters and makes 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed by a robust 6-speed automatic that can handle that tremendous amount of torque. Since the Titan XD is a larger, heavier truck than pickups such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or Ram 1500 (the XD's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or the maximum the truck can weigh, including payload, people and fluids, is more than 8,500 pounds), its fuel economy is not rated by the EPA.
390 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: Not rated
5.0-liter turbodiesel V8
310 horsepower @ 3,200 rpm
555 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: Not rated
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the Titan XD S equipped with the 5.6-liter gasoline V8 is right around $37,000. The 2WD S Crew Cab with the Cummins V8 turbodiesel starts around $42,000, and the top-of-the-line 4WD Platinum Reserve Crew Cab diesel starts at about $60,000. You can expect Single Cab models to cost less. King Cab models will be introduced in the future. For comparison, the least expensive Ford F-150 SuperCrew with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 12,100 pounds of towing capacity is about $44,000. To tow 12,000 pounds with a Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab costs at least $47,000. On the other end of the spectrum, an F-250 Crew Cab with the turbodiesel V8 and 14,000 pounds of towing capacity starts around $46,000. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2017 Nissan Titan XD.