DETROIT – Nissan is branding 2016 as the Year of the Truck. But the automaker first started its assault on the country’s light truck market last year when it introduced the 2016 Titan XD Cummins V8 Turbo Diesel.
The turbo diesel was sort of a pocket pickup truck. It is a little smaller than a heavy duty pickup truck and a little bigger than a light duty pickup. Owners in market research surveys told Nissan that their trucks were either too big or too small. So Nissan tried to hit the sweat spot that it thought was in the middle.
Our test truck had a 5.0-liter Cummins V8 diesel engine that made 310 horsepower and a hefty 555 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Automakers are not required to list EPA fuel economy ratings for pickup trucks and Nissan didn’t. But one enthusiasts’ magazine ran its own test before the diesel went on sale last year and published a mpg rating of 15.8 in the city, 20.8 on the highway and 17.7 combined.
Official or not, the 2016 Titan XD Turbo Diesel is a formidable pickup truck. We had the Pro four-wheel-drive version of this truck and it was designed for toting and towing. The Titan turbo diesel 4X4 could tote 2,003 pounds and it could tow 12,204 lbs.
To put that in perspective, the Titan XD turbo diesel could probably pull our house (without the basement) and it could tow our garage maybe two of ‘em. And 2,003 lbs. is a little bit more than a ton. That’s more independent weight in terms of objects than you run into during a normal day.
Considering it was an almost heavy duty diesel pickup truck, the 2016 Nissan XD turbo diesel was pretty easy to drive. Acceleration was impressive mostly because the massive torque kicked in at a pretty low 1,600 RPMs.
The transmission was smooth, gear shifts were silky. We didn’t ask the gearbox to do anything strenuous. We left it in two-wheel drive for the entire test drive and didn’t bother with four-high or four-low drive.
We had the Pro-4X 4WD CC trim line. Amongst the equipment was an electronic tailgate lock. That’s an interesting way of saying its takes just one person, the driver, to hitch a trailer.
Our Pro 4X was loaded with option packages. The utility and audio package had parking sensors (front and rear), Utility-track® system with four tie-down cleats, tailgate area illumination, 110V outlet in bed, LED under rail bed lighting, power slide rear window with defogger, premium audio (12 speakers total), Rockford Fosgate-branded amplifier and an under-seat subwoofer.
Bells and warning lights went off on start up because we were parked next to the house in the driveway at the gate entrance leading to the garage. But we got used to it, besides the parking alert system could always be turned off.
The convenience package had leather seats with contrasting stich and PRO-4X embroidery, 4-way power assist seat, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with memory, compass on navigation display, NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps and NissanConnect Services.
There was also remote engine start, auto dimming outside mirror (driver’s side only), heated driver and passenger seat, engine remote start, memory driver seat with auto entry/exit feature and outside mirrors, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and an automatic dimming rearview mirror.
The PRO-4X luxury package featured driver and passenger ventilated (heated and cooled) seats, Around View® Monitor (with Moving Object Detection), Reverse Auto Tilt for the sideview mirrors and TITAN Box, lockable containers along both bed walls.
We were a little surprised that our test Titan did not have blind side alert. But we found out that it was what Nissan called a delete option. They told us “some owners would prefer not to have the blind spot warning if they tow a lot – as you can imagine, a trailer would cause the system to constantly go off. While you can certainly shut it off, some folks may prefer not to have the system installed in the first place.” If they don’t want it, there’s a $500 credit that goes along with decision.
We had a crew cab. As you can imagine that second row was spacious and certainly comfortable, mean to handle working men and woman. The seats were heated, there was 120 volt socket and the back cab window power slid open.
The front seat area was not overwhelming. By that we mean that the dials and switches were right sized rather than oversized. The Titan had push button start as well as entry; there were USB and auxiliary jacks. Also there were two 12 volt sockets in the front.
Truck had satellite radio, a CD plyer, voice controls and Bluetooth. There were also cameras that gave you a front and views from each corner. The Titan was a no nonsense truck with the sort of stuff that made you feel comfortable without being pampered. When it’s time to work, 2016 Nissan Titan was ready to go.
As tested, our 2016 Nissan Titan XD had a sticker of $58,165.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.