Photo by Chris Wolski.

Photo by Chris Wolski.

Slotted between a traditional 1500- and 2500-type pickup truck, the all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD delivers both the comfortable, intuitive driving experience of a smaller truck and the capabilities typically associated with a ¾-ton truck.

During a media ride-and-drive in Arizona, I had the opportunity to put the truck through its paces on- and off-road, laden with cargo, and pulling a trailer.

The Titan XD is designed for capability. Equipped with a 5.0L Cummins V-8 Turbo Diesel, which delivers 310 hp and 555 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to a heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission, the Titan XD, surprisingly, didn’t feel over-powered to me. It had a nice smooth handling that you’d expect of a smaller pickup. Acceleration was good, automatic shift intervals were seamless, and overall highway driving while unladen was comfortable.

Taking the truck on an off-road course, featuring a 22% ascent over a solid rock face, was where I appreciated the truck’s power. It also helped that I was driving a PRO-4X trim level, which is designed specifically to handle rough terrain. Featuring rear-locking differential, the truck climbed the rock face with little effort. But, it wasn’t just the power; the handling was also on display — exhibiting extreme solidness over the sometimes difficult course.

After completing this course, the truck was then laden with a 750-pound cargo (the Titan XD has a cargo capacity of up to 2,091 pounds). While it didn’t change the ride much, the truck did feel a bit more firmly planted, but didn’t feel as if it was being dragged down by the cargo. The truck almost seemed to adjust to it, meeting the challenge of the added weight.

Towing is one of the hallmarks of the Titan XD. It has a number of features that I could see as being quite attractive to a fleet manager and his or her drivers. First, the driver can attach the truck to the trailer with the help of a RearView Monitor with trailer guides. I tested this and was able to line up the trailer with the ball hitch in one try. The trailer light check allows a driver on his or her own to make sure the trailer’s lights are working properly with just a touch of a button. This feature was developed by Nissan exclusively for the Titan XD. The Titan XD also has an integrated trailer brake controller and tow/haul mode with downhill speed control. The real test, though, was taking the Titan XD on the road with a 9,000-pound load (the Titan XD has a maximum towing rating of 12,314 pounds), including an uphill and downhill grade. This is where the Titan XD shined the most for me. I had little trouble pulling onto the highway, getting up to speed, ascending the hill or descending it. The downhill speed control worked very nicely, keeping the load from feeling as if it was bearing down on me.

Photo by Chris Wolski.

Photo by Chris Wolski.

It’s not just the capabilities that make the Titan XD a potential fleet option. The truck has large storage spaces inside the cabin, rugged dash and seat appointments, and the electronic contenting has a good mix of consumer friendly and work necessary (the RearView Monitor with trailer guides, all-around camera, forward curb camera, etc.) features.

A final 50-mile run from the towing site with a laden truck on a busy highway gave a real sense of what it would be like to be behind the wheel of the Titan XD on a busy day as a fleet driver. All I’ll say is that I could have driven 50 more miles.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but the Titan XD is expected to start in the $40,000 range, according to company officials. The Titan will have five trims: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. The S grade is the truck’s work grade. Trucks will be available in single-cab, king-cab, and crew-cab variants with beds ranging from 5-feet, 5-inches to 8-feet.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

About the author
Chris Wolski

Chris Wolski

Former Managing Editor

Chris Wolski is the former managing editor of Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, and Green Fleet.

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