Nissan had a problem—sales of their Titan pickup were anemic, only 12,000 deliveries last year. They decided to find a niche where Ford, Chevy and Ram didn’t have a model. Research showed that about 75,000 light-duty pickup owners wanted something more robust, and switched over to heavy-duty models each year. Furthermore, a like number of heavy-duty owners found their trucks too cumbersome to drive, and switched light-duty vehicles. Nissan decided to go after these buyers with a pickup that split the difference between the two. Enter the Titan XD.

However, the XD is more heavy-duty than light. It gets a fully boxed frame, and reinforced underpinnings. Its frame is a full 20-inches longer than a standard Titan, and its brakes are the largest on any consumer-grade pickup. It has a payload rating in excess of 2,000 lbs and it can tow more than 12,000 lbs. With a gross-vehicle weight of just over 8,500 pounds, it’s a heavy-duty pickup.

The Titan XD should appeal to those who regularly tow trailers. The heavy-duty frame is designed to enhance stability while towing. The built-in gooseneck trailer hitch looks easy to operate, and it should only take a minute or two to plug in the ball, and hook up the chain anchors. The driver can easily check the operation of the brake lights and turn signals just by pressing a button on the key fob. Additionally, the Titan XD offers trailer brake control, sway control and downhill speed control.

But the icing on the cake for this new Titan is its power plant, a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel. This is not the largest diesel on the market, but it generates 310 hp, and a monstrous 555 lb-ft of torque. No light-duty truck can match that. Fuel-economy numbers are not available yet, but I averaged 15.2 miles per gallon during the week I had it. But if you prefer gas engines, Nissan says that they will also be available later in the year.

Nissan will offer the Titan XD in Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab configurations, and in five levels of trim, S, SV, SL, PRO-4X and Platinum Reserve. My test vehicle was a Platinum Reserve crew-cab, and it was handsomely appointed with two-tone leather upholstery. The cabin was spacious with plenty of room for five adult passengers. A large storage compartment in the center armrest would easily swallow up a laptop computer. Amenities, like navigation, satellite radio and a heated steering wheel were all part of the package.

On the road, my Titan test pickup felt cumbersome to drive. It reacted slowly to driver input, and delivered zero feedback through the steering wheel. The ride quality was about average for a large pickup, with a bumpy ride on all but smooth freeway surfaces. Driving this 20-foot pickup in town can be a challenge, especially when you try to park it. However, I did not use the Titan XD for towing purposes, and this is the area in which it should excel.

Pricing or the Titan XD is expected to start at $40,000 for the S model, and range up to $60,000 for the Platinum Reserve. For those who don’t require a heavy-duty pickup, a series of light-duty Titans will debut later this year.



Heavy-Duty Capability

Designed For Towing

Cummins Diesel Power

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