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2016 Nissan TITAN XD Platinum Reserve Review

The other other pickup By ,

It’s important for a car manufacturer to offer consumers many options. A packed portfolio, or showroom if you prefer, demonstrates to potential buyers that this brand has everything you need. Take General Motors, Mercedes-Benz or Nissan (Infiniti) for example; they currently have a product in nearly every conceivable segment. 

The Japanese automaker has targeted a larger slice of the sales pie for a long time and has been successful with its cars. In North America, pickup trucks account for a large portion of the pie, but here, attainment eludes Nissan. The pickup category has only a few players in it (unlike compact cars) and a breakthrough could be possible with the right product. Thing is, most truck buyers are forcefully faithful and will not dillydally over to another brand for fun. 

Nissan has been pecking at the elite pickup segment since 2004 with little or no real success. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, crash the party with an even bigger, more capable, and more powerful truck. But will the truck clan take notice? 

The Nissan plan
Nissan’s goal with the new 2016 TITAN XD is to offer light-duty truck guys and gals something a little more capable for equal or a few more dollars. In other words, the company is attempting to entice buyers with more for roughly the same money. 

To further sweeten the deal, Nissan is doing some serious name dropping with the likes of a Cummins diesel engine and Aisin automatic transmission. On these two points alone the TITAN XD will grab attention, but will it be able to sustain curiosity and bring more buyers to showrooms? This is the million-dollar question. 

POWERtrain
My immediate first impression after leaving the parking lot with my Cummins-powered Nissan TITAN XD Platinum Reserve model was that the engine had been seriously reworked. At the launch event late last year, I was disappointed by the Cummins’ lacklustre throttle response and overall grunt. My tester at the time must have been “sick” because this week’s test truck was healthy and in top shape. 

The 5.0L turbo-diesel V8’s 555 lb-ft of torque fly off the handle as of 1,600 rpm while the 310 horsepower arrive at 3,200 rpm. In the mix, the 6-speed autobox sends the power to the part-time 4WD system. This big Japanese truck is not quick off the mark, but the swell of torque gets it moving along with aplomb. 

Depending on the trim you select, the 2016 Nissan TITAN XD will tow 12,000 lbs, which is 500-1,500 lbs more than a comparably equipped Ford F-150. Payload numbers are not as advantageous where the former will top out at around 2,000 lbs while the latter is capable of many hundred pounds more. 

From behind the wheel, the Cummins never breaks a sweat; it simply does its job while fuel consumption varies very little. Of course, these are benefits if you’re buying the truck to tow on a regular basis. As a workhorse, the Nissan TITAN XD is much evolved; however, its extra-large size may pose an issue for some. Unlike the F-150 or Ram 1500 for example, there’s no escaping the TITAN XD’s outer dimensions with a more refined ride or quieter cabin. 

It will never let you forget
Between loads and hauls, the 2016 Nissan TITAN XD’s ride never lets you forget what you’re driving, even in my tested $75,000+ Platinum Reserve unit. The suspension is designed for work, not so much for pleasure and cruising. When unladen, uneven roads shake things up on board ― it’s not unexpected, but it’s difficult to accept in 2016 when most full-size trucks have managed to blend comfort and capability. Steering is heavy-ish and requires many turns from lock to lock. On the positive side, the powerful brakes can brush off the truck’s forward momentum with ease. 

With the TITAN XD, there never is “time-off” from the truck effect and I think this might be an issue for those aimed at by this product, especially in the upper trims. Super- and heavy-duty trucks are like this, but then this is what they do. And when pitted against these behemoths, the TITAN XD doesn't measure up on the capability scale. 

Large barge
From a purely aesthetic point of view, the new 2016 Nissan TITAN XD hits the mark. Top trims win numerous points for relying on street-biased 20” wheels and tires, and I’m especially a fan of two-tone paint jobs like the one on my tester. The PRO-4X model has more attitude, but the Platinum is the pinnacle of luxury within the lineup. 

Included here are niceties such as heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats, all of them covered in premium two-tone leather. NissanConnect services with SiriusXM radio, navigation, an around-view monitor, and loads more kit are fitted, as well. 

The dashboard’s design is simple and efficient. Some tasteful wood accents are present, but most of the materials are regular plastics that come together nicely. The seats are large and comfortable with multiple adjustments in Platinum trim. The power tilt and telescoping steering column greatly aids in finding a good driving position.

A TITANperhaps, but not in this segment
It’s very difficult to fault Nissan given the breadth of their effort, but somehow I don’t think the TITAN XD will be the runaway success it could be. The power and control exercised by the Big 3 are such that imposing one’s presence requires more than just a truck.

{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}In this segment, three major players are all that is needed. Toyota and Nissan would practically have to join forces and create a monster, but even then I don’t think the crossbreed would make much of a dent.

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2016 Nissan Titan XD
nissan titan-xd 2016
2016 Nissan Titan XD
Review this Vehicle
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Photos:M.St-Pierre
2016 Nissan Titan XD pictures