Reviews

2018 Nissan Titan XD Introduction


The Nissan Titan XD is a semi-heavy-duty pickup, heavier-duty than a 1500-class half-ton truck, but lighter-duty than a 2500 three-quarter-ton. Titan XD shares little of the hardware of the regular Titan, such as the frame or chassis pieces, instead it is built on a heavy-duty boxed and gusseted frame, with cabin isolated from the chassis on hydraulic mounts.

The Titan XD is smoother than the heavy-duty Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and GMC Sierra 2500, and Ram 2500, but rides rougher than the light-duty F-150, Silverado 1500 or Ram 1500. It has a stout powertrain, either a 390-horsepower V8, or turbodiesel V8 boasting 555 foot-pounds of torque.

It comes as rear-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive. For 2018, there’s a new Midnight Appearance package.

Titan XD is rated to tow 12,000 pounds, give or take a bit depending on engine; we found it can comfortably handle 9,000-pound trailers. The bed is 5 feet 6 inches, whether Single Cab or Crew Cab, and the payload capacity is 2600 pounds, truly heavy duty. The Titan XD can handle a snowplow, although a manual transmission is not available.

Nissan might be a Japanese company, but the Titan XD is basically an American truck: designed in California, engineered in Michigan, tested in Arizona, and built in Mississippi. The V8 engines are built in Tennessee, while the diesels are built in Indiana.

There are two engines available: a 5.6-liter V8 making 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission; or a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8, with a heavy-duty Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission. The Cummins makes a fairly light 310 horsepower but pulls like a train, 12,310 pounds, using its 555 foot-pounds of torque at 1600 rpm; it’s also a costly engine. That’s a lot of torque, though it’s still less than what’s offered by the heavy-duty Ram, Ford and Chevy diesels.

The Cummins is the towing machine, set up for a gooseneck trailer, and for installing the ball and chain anchors very quickly. The standard rearview camera sees the hitch ball, very helpful when hooking up to a trailer. The camera was designed with this task in mind. All XDs also come standard with a trailer-brake controller that makes stopping smoother and more accurate than with an aftermarket setup.

Inside, the cab is comfortable, with supportive seats. The single cabs are work trucks, with a bench seat in the base model, while crew cabs offer luxurious passenger travel with everyday practicality. Each model upgrades the upholstery, from fabric to vinyl to plush leather on the Platinum Reserve. The navigation screen is small, but standard surround-view cameras help in tight places, along with cross-traffic alerts when backing up, and front and rear sensors when parking.

Underway, Titan XD feels tall, but crisp, taut, more agile than other heavy-duty pickups, although that’s probably not saying a lot. We might also say it handles like a sub-continent. The suspension is relatively firm and controlled, and the steering is direct.

Titan beds have a tie-down system that makes securing various cargoes easier, and available rails make it even easier. Locking storage boxes are optional. The tail gate is damped and opens smoothly and lowers easily, instead of slamming down or requiring muscle to lower it gently.

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