2016 Nissan Titan Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Mitch McCullough Mitch McCullough Editor
June 27, 2016

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is a smart pick for semi-heavy pulling power, but if you rarely or never tow big trailers, you're better served by a light-duty pickup.

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD heavy-duty pickup is now available with Nissan's all-new 5.6-liter V-8. This is in addition to the Cummins turbodiesel 5.0-liter V-8 that will power most of the new Titan XD models.

The semi-heavy-duty Titan XD is intended to split the difference between light-duty and heavy-duty pickups, offering greater hauling and towing capability than, for example, a Ram 1500, yet with a smoother ride and lower cost than a Ram 2500.

A thoroughly revised version of the light-duty Titan, sometimes referred to as a half-ton, will be introduced later this year as the 2017 Titan. The 2017 Titan goes on sale late summer 2016, starting with the popular Crew Cab, followed by a regular cab in the fall, and a King Cab at the end of the 2016 calendar year. The 2017 Titan will come with the new 5.6-liter V8, followed later by a V6 option.

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The light-duty Titan and heavy-duty Titan XD look almost exactly alike, but that's where the similarities end. And though they look alike, they actually share few body panels. Park a Titan and a Titan XD next to each other and their size differential, especially height, is more noticeable.

Even more different is their basic construction: The Titan XD is built on a heavier chassis and frame than that of the Titan, and the XD uses stronger axles and a heavy-duty suspension. The XD is not just a light-duty pickup with a heavy-duty suspension, as what's been done in the past by other manufacturers. Nissan predicts slightly more than a third truck sales will be Titan XDs.

The new 5.6-liter V-8 is rated at 390 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Built near Decherd, Tennessee, the 5.6-liter engine runs on Regular gasoline, impressive given its high 11.2:1 compression ratio and dual overhead-cam head. The 2017 Titan and Titan XD will share the new 5.6-liter V-8 and 7-speed automatic transmission—the drivetrains are identical. The Titan XD gets it first, as a 2016 model.

The Titan XD also offers a Cummins turbodiesel 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 310 horsepower at 3,200 rpm and 555 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm, that last figure important for towing trailers.

The 5.6-liter engine delivers quicker acceleration performance and is less expensive both in terms of pricing and operating costs than the 5.0-liter diesel. And because it weighs about 500 pounds less, the gasoline engine offers a greater payload by about 500 pounds. For everyday driving, the gas engine provides a more responsive driving experience.

The diesel offers more torque for towing, however, which is the best reason for choosing the XD over the regular Titan. It's quiet, too quiet for some, but with a satisfying clatter that should please most diesel enthusiasts. Owners with 10,000-pound trailers may find themselves wishing for a little more pulling power, however.

Though the Titan wears a Nissan badge, it is an all-American truck, designed in California and engineered in Arizona and Michigan. The truck is built in Mississippi while the engine is manufactured in Tennessee.

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