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2016 Nissan Titan: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is a game changer for Nissan, replacing its slow-selling 2015 Titan with a single crew-cab model and only one engine choice: a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8. Although Nissan plans to add a gasoline V8 and other cab configurations later in the model year, introducing this model out of the gate signals that Nissan is carving out a new niche between its half-ton pickup truck and heavy-duty (HD) competitors such as the Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and RAM 2500. The Titan XD's beefed-up frame, 12,314-lb tow rating and 8,800-lb gross vehicle weight rating place it squarely in the heavy-duty-pickup camp, although the XD's modest horsepower and torque ratings may have many buyers cross shopping it with half-ton trucks such as the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel and Ford F-150 EcoBoost.

Riding on the NV cargo-van platform, the 2016 Titan XD shares nothing in common with the 2015 Titan. The new platform produces a larger, stronger truck and the choice of a Cummins diesel engine, as well as an integrated gooseneck hitch point for a pickup truck that was designed for towing. From a styling standpoint, Nissan may have gone a bit overboard, with exaggerated front fender flares and a massive chrome grille and headlight treatment. Then again, this seems to be the trend set in motion by RAM and Ford, so the Titan XD will probably appeal to most pickup buyers.

What's New for 2016?

The all-new 2016 Titan XD marks the company's first foray into the HD pickup market. Later in the model year, a proper half-ton gasoline-powered truck will finish filling out the full-size Titan line.

What We Like

Strong frame; generous rear-seat legroom; good payload and towing numbers; handles better than most heavy-duty trucks; versatile bed and towing features

What We Don't

Modest hp and torque lags behind Chevy, Ford and RAM; Cummins turbodiesel acceleration feels a bit sluggish; infotainment system needs updating; 26-gallon fuel tank could be bigger

How Much?

$41,485-$64,000

Fuel Economy

The Titan XD offers only one engine: a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic and produces 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. As the Titan qualifies as a class 2b truck, Nissan does not have to report Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy.

Later in the model year, a 5.6-liter gasoline V8 will be introduced, possibly on the 2017 Titan half-ton.

Standard Features & Options

At its introduction, the 2016 Titan XD is offered in only one configuration: a crew cab with a 6.5-foot bed and turbodiesel V8 engine. The single body style is offered in five trims: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve.

The Titan XD S ($41,485, 2-wheel drive; $44,485, 4-wheel drive) comes with a 40/20/40-split bench front seat, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with a 5-inch display and USB/auxiliary inputs, NissanConnect with Bluetooth streaming and text messaging, stain-resistant cloth seats with vinyl bolsters, vinyl flooring, a manual sliding rear window, a locking tailgate with closing assist, 17-in steel wheels, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, push-button starting, a tilt-telescopic steering column, cruise control and air conditioning.

The SV ($45,255, 2-wheel drive; $48,205, 4-wheel drive) adds upgraded cloth seats, carpeting, a steering-wheel-mounted meter display control, Advanced Drive-Assist Display, Fine Vision instruments, satellite radio, an overhead console, power heated side mirrors, Siri Eyes Free, a chrome bumper and grille, front tow hooks, an integrated gooseneck hitch, oil-pan and fuel-tank skid plates (4x4) and trailer sway control.

The PRO-4X ($52,165) adds 4-wheel drive with a switch-operated 2-speed transfer case, 18-in alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, a full-size spare tire, Bilstein coil-over shocks, Hill Descent Control, bucket seats with a center console, an 8-way power front seat, a 7-in touchscreen audio display, NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt rear outlet, a rearview monitor, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, LED automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, a spray-in bedliner, radiator and transfer-case skid plates, a tow hitch with built-in 4- and 7-in pin connectors, a power-sliding rear window and rear-seat vents.

The SL ($53,225, 2-wheel drive; $56,225, 4-wheel drive) adds 20-in alloy wheels, leather seating, additional exterior chrome trim, the Utili-Track bed channel system, four movable aluminum bed cleats, cargo bed lights, LED lights under the bed rail, fixed running boards, puddle lights, heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat, a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio upgrade, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, remote starting, a front and rear sonar system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Platinum Reserve ($58,665, 2-wheel drive; $61,714, 4-wheel drive) adds a heated steering wheel, a trailer brake controller, a trailer light check, extendable split towing mirrors with reverse tilt-down functionality, the Around View monitor, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, interior wood trim and upgraded leather seating.

Some popular option packages include the SV Tow Convenience package that adds tow mirrors (manually extending with heat and puddle lamps), a trailer brake controller, a 7-pin wiring harness connector, an integrated gooseneck hitch and front tow hooks.

The SV Comfort and Convenience package brings the Intelligent Key system, cloth captain's seats with a center console, rear-seat 110-volt and 12-volt outlets, an 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, rear vents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview monitor, a power-sliding rear window with a defogger, auto on/off headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage-door opener and compass, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, 20-in aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, a 7-in touchscreen display and heated front seats.

The PRO-4X offers three packages (Utility and Audio, Convenience, and Luxury) that add features such as the Rockford Fosgate audio system, a power-sliding rear window, an illuminated bed, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, heated rear seats, the Around View monitor, a heated steering wheel and a power tilt-telescopic steering column.

The SL offers an upgraded tow package, while the Platinum Reserve has just one option: a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Safety

Nissan equips the 2016 Titan XD with a host of standard safety features, including side and side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitor. Optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and the Around View monitor.

The Titan XD has not yet been crash-tested.

Behind the Wheel

We sent a few of our editors to test the 2016 Nissan Titan XD. Overall, they liked the new truck, but they did find a few shortcomings.

Doug DeMuro wrote: "We drove the XD in a variety of conditions, both with an empty box and carrying a 750-lb payload. The XD is quiet and smooth, not nearly as stiff as most 3-quarter-ton pickups. It's not the grocery-getter and fashion-accessory truck that some light-duty trucks have become, but it delivers a comfortable, enjoyable ride on smooth roads and handles rougher pavement with ease. A towing demonstration proved that the engine had no trouble on a rising grade with a 7,500-lb trailer in tow. Minimum ground clearance of 9 inches on the 4x4 models made off-road driving fun and impressive -- the diesel powerplant is perfectly suited for the demands of rough trails and moderate obstacles."

Jason Fogelson had a slightly different take, noting, "On the road, the Titan offered an excellent driving experience. While some trucks are vague and skittish, the Titan XD handled difficult bumps and challenging potholes with surprising confidence, feeling more like an SUV than a pickup with an open bed. We were also impressed with the Titan's steering and cornering, which -- while not perfect -- were fairly predictable and devoid of traditional pickup-truck body roll. Admittedly, we noted a few flaws. For instance, despite the oft-discussed 310-hp 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8's excellent appearance on paper, we found acceleration to be a little lazy. We also noted a little interior noise, though that's nothing unusual for this segment. Overall, however, these are minor gripes about an otherwise excellent driving experience."

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Ford F-250 Super Duty -- Ford's heavy-duty pickup offers more bed, wheelbase and cab configurations than the Titan XD, plus its diesel engine deliver 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of torque. Ford's SYNC 3 is also a far better infotainment system than NissanConnect.

2016 Toyota Tundra -- The Tundra doesn't offer a diesel engine, but it does offer a choice between two V8 gasoline engines, a proven track record and a lower base price.

2016 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel -- The RAM 1500, equipped with the automaker's EcoDiesel V6, may be a light-duty truck, but it gets impressive fuel economy, can tow up to 9,200 pounds and offers various cab configurations.

Used GMC Sierra Denali HD -- The 2012-2015 GMC Sierra Denali HD offers a choice of powerful gasoline or diesel engines, is loaded with luxury features and will likely cost a lot less than a brand new SL or Platinum Reserve. Newer versions will also offer GMC's IntelliLink, which is superior to NissanConnect.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're using a truck to tow, haul and get dirty, we'd go with the SV 4x4 and opt for the three available packages (Tow Convenience, Comfort and Convenience, and Utility). Off-roaders should look to the PRO-4X. The Platinum Reserve competes well against Ford's King Ranch and RAM's Laramie Limited, but you should be prepared to pay through the nose.

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2016 Nissan Titan: New Car Review - Autotrader