After more than 30,000 miles with our long-term 2016 Nissan Titan Crew Cab XD Pro-4X with the available 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V-8, we have developed a love-hate relationship with the big yellow truck. In most cases the Titan XD proved useful, but we did find some capability shortcomings and a few ongoing issues.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD represents the first attempt by a non-American automaker to offer a full-size pickup larger than a half-ton. With the realization that a niche market segment exists between the traditional light-duty half-ton and heavy-duty three-quarter-ton pickups, Nissan aimed for something in between. The automaker benchmarked 10-year-old domestic three-quarter-ton pickups for the (unofficially called) eXtra Duty Titan. Unfortunately, modern half-ton pickups have already surpassed that benchmark—at least in payload capacity.
In our third Titan XD update, associate editor Scott Evans compared the Titan’s payload specs to the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and full-size Ford F-150 and F-250 Super Duty pickups. Although Evans was able to use the Titan XD for the majority of his landscaping needs, he did need to rent a Ford F-250 for the truly heavy-duty chores. “It might not haul like a domestic heavy-duty,” Evans wrote, “but what it can haul, it hauls well.”
That’s not to say that the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD didn’t prove useful. Not long after inheriting the Titan XD, I began the first of many adventures helping friends move both long and short distances. I was even given the opportunity to tow a couple of vehicles long-distance. The 5.0-liter Cummins 32-valve DOHC turbodiesel V-8 makes 310 hp at 3,200 rpm and 555 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm and is backed by an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.
On two separate occasions I used the Titan XD for towing: first a 2014 Jeep Patriot and later a 2002 Saturn Ion. With a maximum towing capacity of 12,037 pounds for a Cummins-powered four-wheel-drive Titan XD, neither of the compact vehicles and tow dolly combos came close to half of the XD’s max tow rating. In fact, even from a dead stop, the XD didn’t even notice the cars hooked onto the back. I kept an eye on my rearview mirrors to ensure the cars were still attached.
For comparison, when I used our previous long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel to tow my newly purchased 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham, I noticed a slight tug upon initial start before effortlessly getting up to speed. The Ram with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 (240 hp at 3,200 rpm and 420 lb-ft at 2.000 rpm) has a max tow rating of 8,550 pounds. Although the Cutlass’ midsize body-on-frame platform (and tandem trailer combo) were much heavier than the compact vehicles I towed with the Titan XD, for frequent towing chores, the Titan XD might have the advantage over the half-ton Ram.
In addition to towing long distances, the Titan XD proved useful for hauling over both long and short distances. The rear crew cab was routinely packed to the ceiling with boxes and odds and ends while the bed was stuffed with either furniture or appliances—sometimes both. The bed offers lots of useful tie-down points, including adjustable hooks along the top of the bed.
Although the Titan Boxes were useful for storing ratchet straps, bungee cords, and a tow hitch, they did eat up lots of real estate in the bed. Fortunately, they are removable. Just four bolts (two star bolts at each end and two socket heads inside the lockable compartment) hold the Titan Boxes to the bed sides. They were easy to remove and fairly easy to replace, thanks to my trusty rubber mallet used to line the bolt holes up. Note: With the Titan Box hinges mounted toward the inside of the bed, the lid can be difficult to open when the bed was full.
The Titan XD Pro-4X was also used for fun. After taking the big yellow pickup off-road with the factory-equipped General Grabber APT tires, we swapped them out for a set of all-new Continental TerrainContact A/T off-road tires and headed back to the dirt. Although all this tire swapping was for a tire comparison, off-road driving in the Pro-4X felt more like play than work. Motor Trend hot shoe Randy Pobst also borrowed the Titan XD to haul his 1975 Honda XL350 motorcycle from Los Angeles up to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
With the odometer showing more than 30,000 miles, we took our Titan XD in for its third service, which consisted of an oil and filter change, a tire rotation, a battery service, a new air filter, a new cabin air filter, a new radiator cap, new wiper blades, a coolant system service, an air-conditioning service, fuel conditioner, and a brake inspection. Total cost of the third service came to $532.99. While at the dealership, we had the reoccurring issues checked out. The total cost of service for the year came to $1,506. Our 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 diesel long-termer cost about $563 for service over the same time frame, and our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel cost $775.
We also were informed that the power steering fluid was low. The tech drained and filled the power steering fluid and checked the system lock to lock, which seemed to clear up the binding and moaning coming from the steering system. Additionally, the infotainment system was updated to fix the Bluetooth glitch that caused a piercing sound to come through the speakers just before the system rebooted (the issue only happened during lengthy phone calls). The infotainment update also fixed the system’s flickering backlighting. The intermittent passenger seat-belt light issue (where the light turned on several hours into drive, even when the passenger seat was empty) was not repeatable. These issues never recurred during our remaining time with the Titan.
Over the course of 31,521 miles, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD Crew Cab Pro-4X with the Cummins turbodiesel averaged 15.2 mpg. Those miles weren’t easy. During that time, the Titan XD slogged its way through the daily Los Angeles commute (one to two hours each way), made the trek out to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, traveled up to Central California and the Bay Area multiple times, and traversed the Rocky Mountains seven times. Six trips were up to Salt Lake City (with a loaded bed and rear cab each time, plus two trips towing), and once we made our way to northern Colorado during a severe snow storm.
Despite the aforementioned issues, the Titan XD eagerly tackled every job we threw at it. Although the Titan XD is targeted at the slim market segment of consumers needing something in between a half-ton and a three-quarter-ton, we would likely opt for a modern half-ton pickup if we needed to haul more than 1,600 pounds regularly, or a modern three-quarter-ton pickup if we needed to tow more than six tons on a regular basis.
If our primary need was to routinely tow less than six tons and occasionally help friends move, we wouldn’t hesitate to give the Nissan Titan XD with the Cummins turbodiesel a permanent spot in our personal garage.
More on our long-term Nissan Titan XD here:
|SERVICE LIFE||13 mo / 31,521 mi|
|OPTIONS||PRO-4X Convenience Package ($3,310: Heated leather seats, remote adjustable driver seat w/memory), PRO-4X Luxury Package ($1,510: Ventilated front seats, Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Titan box), PRO-4X Utility and Audio Package ($1,100: parking sensors, Utili-Track cargo management, tailgate illumination, Rockford Fosgate audio system); premium paint ($395), electric tailgate lock ($345), splash guards ($235)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$59,060|
|AVG ECON/CO2||15.2 mpg / 1.46 lb/mi|
|PROBLEM AREAS||Bluetooth connection, front suspension squeak, steering moan|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$1,506 (8-DEF refill; 3-oil change, inspection, tire rotation; 2-air filter, in-cabin air filter; 1-fuel filter, brake fluid flush, coolant flush)|
|NORMAL-WEAR COST||$30.25 (windshield wipers)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$41,100|
|*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years|
|2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X 4WD|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbodiesel, 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||304.9 cu in/4,997 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||310 hp @ 3,200 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||555 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||23.7 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||14.2-in vented disc; 14.4-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||7.5 x 18 in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES||LT275/65R18 (123/120R) General Grabber APT|
|TRACK, F/R||68.6/68.6 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||243.6 x 80.7 x 78.4 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||53.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||7,340 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||59/41%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||41.0/40.4 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.8/38.5 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||63.3/63.6 in|
|PICKUP BOX L x W x H||78.7 x 61.7 x 20.8 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||59.3 cu ft|
|WIDTH BET WHEELHOUSES||50.0 in|
|PAYLOAD CAPACITY||1,650 lb|
|TOWING CAPACITY||12,037 lb|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||5.1|
|QUARTER MILE||17.0 sec @ 81.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||135 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.70 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||29.8 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,750 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$59,060|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/100,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||26.0 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||Not rated|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||15.8/20.8/17.7 mpg|