Nissan’s 2016 Titan XD pickup, now in production and heading to dealers, is a new weight segment, with hauling and towing capacity between current ½- and ¾-ton vehicles, executives said at a series of ride-and-drive events outside of Phoenix this week.
The XD is what amounts to a 5/8-ton truck that retains the maneuverability and ride of a half-tonner yet adds cargo hauling capacity without the bulk and expense of a three-quarter-tonner, Nissan people said.
The XD was designed and mostly engineered in America, and is being built here, said Rich Miller, a product specialist on the Titan. It will meet North American needs and is highly competitive with the established pickup brands. Commercial users are among the sales targets for the new model.
Nissan executives fully realize that the Detroit-based Big Three makes are well entrenched, and that the Titan has been in last place among the five builders competing in the full-size pickup market, said Steve Parrett, a regional communications manager.
“We know that they’ve been at it much longer than we have,” Parrett said. “We’ll just have to work harder at it. One thing we can do is what we’ve done – create a new segment. And we know some commercial operators who we think will look at this product and find use for it.”
The XD, for extra duty, fills a gap left as competitor pickups got bigger and heavier, Miller said. Such trucks were smaller and lower rated in capacity 10 years ago, but have grown in size and price.
“Why pay for something you don’t need?” he said of ¾-ton trucks. But customers should be able to buy something more capable than ½-ton models. The Titan XD, with payload capacity of 2,091 pounds and towing capacity of 12,314 pounds, is exactly that.
At least one participant in every focus group the company conducted during its market research said that he regularly pulled a trailer weighing about 8,000 pounds, and didn’t need the 15,000-pound capacity of competitors’ ¾-ton trucks, Miller said.
Nissan’s research shows that 75,000 owners per year switch from three-quarter-tonners to half-tonners, and another 75,000 go up from half- to ¾-ton vehicles. They will find what they really need with the Titan XD, he said.
Good ride quality comes with the ability to softer springs and shocks than on a ¾-ton pickup. On-highway and off-road experiences in several XDs showed that they rode smoothly whether loaded or empty, and handled and accelerated well when running alone or while pulling a 9,600-pound equipment trailer (a drive report will come soon on TruckingInfo.com and in HDT magazine).
The XD package includes the Cummins 5-liter V-8 diesel, with 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque, an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission, and a beefed-up chassis, Miller said. They account for an upcharge of about $15,000 over the half-ton gasoline-powered Titan, which itself is being updated for release later.
With the ISV5.0 diesel having been previously publicized, Miller and his colleagues talked much more about the chassis. It has fully boxed main rails with extra crossmember strength and higher capacity in the front half to carry the diesel’s weight as well as the extra payload and trailer weight, said Melaina Vasko, lead salability engineer on the XD project.
Suspension components and brakes were also enlarged compared to the ½-ton Titan’s, and the XD’s rear axle is stronger, she said. The Cummins diesel weighs about 300 pounds more than Nissan’s 5.6-liter gasoline V-8, and should deliver 20% better fuel economy.
Will the gasoline V-8 be offered in the XD? Yes, said spokesman Phil Lienert, and an announcement on that will come in two or three weeks.
Many of the comfort, convenience and utility features from the earlier Titan are being offered on the XD, Miller said. They include factory sprayed-in lining for cargo beds, UtiliTrack tie-down system, and dampened supports for easy raising and lowering of the tailgate.
Factory installed under-bed supports for gooseneck and fifth-wheel hitches are also among options. Components slide and lock into recesses over the rear axle, and can be quickly removed to clear the floor for cargo hauling.
New Titan Box cargo containers sit next to the inner walls, allowing full use even with a cap or tonneau cover installed. The boxes can be unbolted and removed to provide more cargo width.
XDs will come with 2-door Regular and 4-door King and crew cabs using 8-, 6.5- and 5-foot-long cargo beds. Five trim levels include S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. Interior appointments go from basic to luxury. Pricing is not finalized, but will be in the $40,000 to $60,000-plus range.
Titan XDs went into production at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Miss., last month, and will be available for purchase by the end of December, Miller said. The gasoline-engine version will be available about two months later.