The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is odd man out, and deliberately so. There are certain divides in the pickup truck world that separate the compact, midsize, full-size and heavy duty trucks. Compacts we don’t have anymore, replaced entirely by the likes of GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. The heavy-duty truck—or three-quarter ton pickup—category is filled by the Ford F250, and the Chevy and GMC 2500.
However, the heart of the pickup truck market is the full-size “half-ton” pickup, home of the Ford F-150 versus Chevrolet Silverado 1500 slugfest for not only most popular truck but the biggest-selling “car” in America of any kind.
The GMC Sierra 1500 (the Silverado 1500’s body double), Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and last year’s Nissan Titan have tussled over the scraps of the half-ton market. Sales of this group pale in comparison to that of the F150 and Silverado 1500, but the numbers are still sufficient for each to hang around.
And the me-too marketing strategy works to an extent, but to thrive rather than just survive in a land of giants means giving truck buyers something different.
Enter the Nissan Titan XD. Speaking of giants, the Nissan Titan XD is titanic, not quite a three-quarter ton but more than a half. How big is it? We parked our test 2016 Nissan Titan XD alongside a prior generation Titan, and looking at the pair side by side, we had to walk around to the rear to see the other truck’s name badge to make sure it wasn’t the midsize Nissan Frontier.
So big that when we walked away we noticed other pickup drivers walking around it for a thorough once, no make that twice going over.
So big that we saw workers at a road construction zone stop leaning on their shovels long enough to watch the 2016 Nissan Titan XD roll past.
It’s more than just that chin-high hood size, however. Part of the thrill comes from the big Cummins 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8. It’s rated at 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, and it makes a diesel rattle that inspires a truck lover’s heart do the mamba, the samba and the Santa Maria.
Because Nissan has discovered a New World.
The Nissan Titan XD makes an impressive entry, especially our $61,795 Platinum Reserve model. Yes, this pickup trucks comes not only with a bed but a whole bedroom suite, and one with dark chrome trim and a grille brighter than an inheritance on dowager’s bosom, and yes, did we mention, um, huge. Not to mention the adornments on either fender, like more inheritance, though advertising the Cummins turbodiesel inside, as if anyone needed to be told.
Out back, and we’re hesitant to make an analogy, a chrome bar sweeps across the tailgate, emblazoned with “PLATINUM RESERVE.”
The broad seats are leather in chocolate and black, heated front and rear. The dash is broad and soft touch, the center console is wide—32-ounce soft drink cup holders wide—and the armrest broad, padded and cavernous underneath. For more room on the console, the shifter has been moved to the steering column.
The front seats are more like chairs and the rear seats in the crew cab—standard and extended cab Titans will also become available—is something less than a sofa but well suited and sized for adult and comfortable enough for complaint-free travel.
The Titan XD Platinum Reserve includes what a top tier vehicle should have, including a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with a seven-inch color display, plus all the usual satellite radio, navigation and travel and traffic infotainment. Nissan systems rank among the best, with a bright and clear screen, and ease of use second to none. The ability to switch easily from day to night illumination is appreciated as well.
Did we mention the Nissan Titan XD is big? Our test vehicle was equipped with front and rear park sensors, plus rear view and surround-view cameras, both displaying on the screen at the same time. With a touch of a button, the camera system can be activated in drive as well as reverse, welcome when parking and coloring within the lines. Yes, big.
The bed comes standard with spray-on liner, and the cargo management system includes tracks in the bed floor, recessed so they won’t interfere when they aren’t needed. The trunk locks—remotely, anoption—and the bed illuminated by not only one LED bank but two over the rear window, and there are four more—two each under each rail of the backup bed walls.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve is luxurious, but this truck can still work. With the diesel engine and with the right bits, the Titan can tow up 12,314 pounds, and it has a maximum payload capacity of 2,594 pounds when equipped with the (lighter) gas engine. As equipped with four-wheel drive, our test Titan was tow rated to 12,037 pounds. With a gooseneck hitch, the Titan XD has a gvwr of 19,450 pounds (or 8,950 for the truck alone). Frame of reference: Semi rigs are limited 80,000 pounds.