Review: Nissan’s Titan XD is a beast of a pickup
The 2018 Nissan Titan XD is beyond huge, beyond titanic. It’s like Andre the Giant ringside, like the Yeti in a mountain snow, like Fortnite to a tween.
The XD likely stands for eXtra Duty since Nissan promotes it as heavy-duty capable but light-duty driveable, like a Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado or Ram 1500. Titan XD might be sized like the extended cab offerings of light-duty trucks, but it behaves like something much more.
Crank the V-8 diesel engine, and it could be mistaken for a semitruck. Drive it and empathize with long-haul truckers confronted with all the nuisance drivers buzzing about like gnats at dusk. Park it in an underground garage, and the nose sticks out like hair on a wart.
The Cummins 5-liter turbocharged V-8 engine churns out 555 pound-feet of torque, good enough to tow 12,640 pounds, ideal for lugging around your pet elephant. An equally heavy-duty six-speed Aisin automatic transmission developed exclusively for the Titan XD delivers power in a 4x4 system for off-road conquering.
Switching the selector to 2WD makes the Titan XD more manageable on roads, but there is no place for economy when it comes to fuel in this beast. Since it’s classified as heavy duty, there are no Environmental Protection Agency estimates for miles per gallon. We averaged 8.2 mpg around town and about 13 mpg on the highway, in 2WD.
It drives heavy, it shifts heavy, it handles heavy because that’s what it was made to do. Like light-duty trucks, which used to be called half-ton trucks until they exceeded a payload over 1,000 pounds, the XD is as long and wide as an F-150 SuperCrew Cab or any of the other extended cab offerings that seat five, maybe six. Titan XD weighs at least 1,500 pounds more than the light-duty competition but makes less horsepower. The XD diesel is all about the torque; the next best light-duty Ram 1500 generates 410 pound-feet, for context.
2019 Ram 1500 is the pickup for winning arguments.
The interior controls marry the old with the new. There is a 7-inch touch screen that looks tiny when flanked by big climate knobs and volume and tuning knobs. Most convenience functions can be handled with the redundant steering wheel controls. The tester came with leather and ventilated front seats with eight-way power driver seat and four-way passenger seat as part of the Pro-4X convenience package ($3,545). I don’t know if it’s worth it, but power folding side mirrors should be standard on a truck this massive. Throw in some running boards, too.
The rear seat area is spacious, with fold-up seats with a fold-flat floor to stack stuff over the seat housing. The bed has storage areas over the wheel wells, much smaller and more basic than a Ram box. A retractable step gives a necessary boost into the high-riding bed.
Titan XD is a work truck made for towing, hauling, grunting and guzzling. The light-duty trucks can do double duty as everyday drivers without being too taxing. Not the case with the Titan XD. Changing lanes is a trial, parking is a pain, but the PRO-4X trim level we tested very well could be the basis for the next war rig in the Mad Max franchise.