Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Of course the Titan is of Japanese blood, but as Nissan would say, it’s designed in California, engineered in Michigan, tested in Arizona, built in Mississippi and powered by Indiana and Tennessee. Pickups are as American as the White House so the game plan for sales success of this 2016 full-size was to focus on core truck aficionados by poignantly meeting all of their needs and demands. After a full day of evaluations in Scottsdale, AZ I can say I “remember the Titans” and boy have they grown up since debuting in 2003.
The full-size truck market has been steadily increasing in sales since a low point in 2009 with the clear leader represented by the Ford F-150, then the Chevy Silverado, the RAM next, GMC’s Sierra following and the Japanese Tundra and Titan holding on at the bottom of the pile. It’s a serious segment to compete in and cannot be taken lightly. Hence the reason Nissan tightened every aspect of their prodigy from tough and rugged styling to a stalwart powertrain to technological innovations. But they just didn’t “do,” they listened to truck owners in terms of pricing and size strategy. The Titan XD slots between the traditional ½-ton and ¾-ton segment with a strong diesel engine and price point that doesn’t tack on added funds for unused horses (expect a traditional ½-ton Titan later in 2016). Basically, customers were looking to haul more but still contend within an economical disposition. Nissan also needed their newfangled workhorse to hit on performance, quality, reliability and durability marks.
“The full-size truck market is the toughest market to crack in the entire industry, with so many outstanding products available,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations U.S., Nissan North America, Inc. “This new Nissan TITAN XD is designed to offer buyers something the others don’t – combining outstanding towing and hauling capabilities and exceptional towing and hauling fuel economy.”
In Arizona I was able to get behind the wheel of a few of the models in various scenarios from hauling and off-roading to loading and geofencing. Going on sale at the end of 2016, Nissan says the Titan XD will come in three cab configurations, three bed lengths, two frame sizes, three powertrains, five grade levels (S, SV, PRO-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve) and both 4×4 and 4×2 variants. My drive partner and I began the day in a burgundy PRO-4X powered by the Cummins 5-liter V8 Turbo Diesel and paired with a heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission that allows the Titan XD to tow 12,314 pounds (properly equipped). Yet, the old-school column shifter is a bit antiquated and even its manual shift mode function felt unnatural. A 750-lb load was put in the bed during our initial run and maneuverability on the dirt course was still decent. Energy from the 310-horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque is released steadily through acceleration, but never felt overwhelming. A larger frame, stronger chassis, 14” ventilated disc brakes and reinforced double-wishbone front suspension are all a part of the vehicle’s assertive demeanor. The Titan shifts from 2wd to 4 high and back “on the fly” when riding up to 65 miles per hour.
Some pretty cool features include a removable and lockable in-bed storage box screwed to the walls of the bed, two available hitches with one being the integrated gooseneck, RearView Monitor for trailer hookup assistance, Around View Monitor for spotting obstructions around the Titan XD and Downhill Speed Control that provides better handle and downshifts when the brakes are applied. And we can’t forget about Trailer Sway Control and Trailer Brake Control, which communicates between the truck and trailer as it relates to turning the electric brake on/off.
Like all full-size pickups the Titan XD is cued by a large grille and flanked by sizeable LED headlights, extended running boards, tailgate lighting, spray-on bedliner (6.5-ft. bed length) Utili-track system with tie-down cleats and LED bed rail lighting. Our vehicle was padded with body cladding and rolled with sporty 18” two-toned rims wrapped in chunky 275/65 R18 Grabber rubber from General Tires (17” and 20” wheels available).
Step up and in the Titan XD and witness how remarkably better the interior space is, especially if you opt for the plush Platinum Reserve model. However, I’m going to need Nissan to get a bit more creative with their naming conventions, especially when King Ranchers and Big Horns are lurking the neighborhood. A pretty robust Rockford Fosgate premium audio system enhances your listening experience in a cabin elevated by heated seats, heated steering wheel, flat floor 2nd row seating, spacious storage compartments and a bevy of charging options through 120Vs, 12Vs and one USB port. I especially revel the rear seats that fold up without fiddling with a latch but then latch in place.
Long gone are the days when pickups where reserved for outdoorsmen and construction companies alone. I chop up trees in my yard and haul them away for example. Yet, I still like my multi-media and technology innovations. That’s where NissanConnect Services (powered by SiriusXM) comes into play. Complimentary for the first 6 months, there are three unique packages to choose from with NissanConnect Services Premium Plus empowering you with every feature including Stolen Vehicle Locator, Automatic Collision Notification, Remote Engine Start, Speed Alerts, Google Send to Car and Assisted Search to name a few. When I dialed up the customer care agent she was able to locate the nearest Home Depot and send directions to the Titan XD, but the total process took longer than I expected. The NissanConnect Services app will soon become your best friend. Moreover, with geofencing your kids will never lie again about their whereabouts.
Pricing starts around $40,000 for an XD S Crew Cab 4×2, $50,000 for the XD Crew Cab PRO-4X 4×4 and $60,000 if you want the XD Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4×4. Add $1,200 for destination and handling. Furthermore, you can always jazz up your Titan HD with Nissan Genuine Accessories such as WiFi, grilles, rims, DVDs, step rails, Etc. Nissan is off to a great start, nevertheless, it’s a long uphill battle currently dominated by that truck that’s built Ford tough!