If you're an ATV or UTV nut, there's a pretty good possibility that you're also likely a truck guy. Transporting an ATV or UTV to the trailhead can certainly be done in a number of ways, but the most efficient way for me has always been either in the bed of a truck or towed behind one on a trailer.
In the past, a good look at all of the available truck offerings would have revealed three distinct classes. The midsize trucks (Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline), the half-tons (GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan), and the Big-Daddy heavy duty three-quarter tons (GMC Sierra HD, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Super Duty, and the Ram HD) rounded out the choices. WIth the release of their new Titan XD, Nissan has essentially redefined the classification system and positioned their flagship truck in a class all by itself. For those keeping score, the Titan XD falls smack dab somewhere between the half-ton and three-quarter ton offerings, which some have dubbed a five-eighth ton truck. Like all of its three quarter ton competitors, the Titan XD is offered in both a gas and diesel version. Although, we luckily spent our time behind the wheel of the Cummins-powered diesel.
Replacing the aging Titan platform was long overdue. To Nissan's credit, they wiped the slate clean and started with a completely new design for both the standard Nissan Titan, as well as the larger Titan XD we tested. For a period of just under two weeks, I logged over 800 miles on our Nissan Titan XD Diesel Platinum Reserve demo model. I used it as a daily driver, a grocery getter, a basketball practice taxi, a tow rig, a family trip truck, an ATV hauler, and subjected it to a short stint "off-road".
As the current owner of a 2015 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Platinum, I've longed for a diesel version of this truck. When I bought the Tundra, I didn't really want to jump to a true three-quarter ton truck to go the diesel route because although I tow, I would never need the ability to tow more than 9-10k pounds. My ideal truck includes a torquey diesel with enough guts to pull as many ATV's/UTV's as I need, but also feels civilized, with enough creature comforts to serve as my family vehicle as well. The Nissan Titan XD is actually the first diesel truck I've driven that I felt could potentially fill that void for me. That being said, my guess is that a great deal of our readers may also find themselves looking for the same type of vehicle as my dream machine.
How Does it Drive?:
The Titan XD is VERY comfortable. The heated/cooled two-tone leather seats on the Platinum Reserve model are super comfortable and very supportive. The heated steering wheel was also a welcome addition on the chilly mornings I spent with the truck, because truth be told...I'm very delicate. Rolling down the road, the girth of the Titan XD is tough to overlook. It's BIG....REALLY BIG! My Tundra always felt large to me, but the Titan XD dwarfs it in overall length, height, and weight. The suspension is very comfortable and it handled my family of four fantastically well. On the highway, the smooth ride was immediately evident, and the interior is elegant enough to spoil the occupants. Around town, you'll no doubt notice the size of this monster. Tight turns and parallel parking took a bit of practice until I felt comfortable with the size. The Around View monitor certainly helped parking though, due to cameras being located at the front, rear, and under each mirror.
I dig almost everything about the Cummins® 5.0-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 Turbo Diesel. The oil burner is quiet, smooth, and torquey, throwing down 310HP and 555 ft-lb of torque. I had the truck over Thanksgiving, and in Pennsylvania temperatures got down into the high 20's overnight. In the mornings, the Cummins sparked to life effortlessly after just a few seconds of automatic preheating from the glow plugs. The Cummins likes RPM's, with a redline of 4,000 rpm. Off idle, with the hammer down, the two-stage turbo exhibits some noticeable turbo lag until the Cummins spools up to around 1700-1800 rpm. From that point on up through the mid and upper RPM range, the engine pulls like a mule! As far as diesel trucks go, the Titan XD's diesel engine was about as civilized as any I've ever driven, but it doesn't quite have the brutal torque of the 3/4 ton diesels.
On the highway and over rough terrain, the Titan XD provides a well-mannered, compliant ride. As I mentioned earlier, on the highway you hardly notice the size due to the comfy suspension. Around town though, the Titan XD is massive and it seems to be where I really noticed the wide turning radius. If you've got a tight driveway, be prepared to get used to cranking three-point turns. Also, at lower speeds, there is a noticeably heavier steering effort than at highway speeds. The suspension dampening on our Platinum Reserve model was certainly dialed more towards a comfy street ride than off-highway usage. We did take it off-road, but due to the low front air-dam present on Platinum Reserve models, I kept it pretty tame. Those looking to wheel more heavily would probably be happier with the PRO-4X model's higher front clearance, skid plates, and Bilstein shocks.
From the day Nissan dropped the Titan XD off, I started my search for the heaviest trailer I could find to do some real world towing tests. GNCC pro Chris Borich and his family are long-time friends of mine, so it wasn't terribly difficult to convince his Dad Joe to "donate" his 8 lug Chevy Suburban 2500 and monstrous car trailer to the cause. We tugged that heavy setup through the mountains around central PA for our own little torture test. Joe has owned and towed with many different tow rigs over Chris Borich's 20+ year GNCC racing career, so he was a great guy with valuable experience to put behind the wheel. Joe immediately noticed four things that stuck out for me about the truck as well...the interior is brilliant, the brakes are REALLY strong, turbo lag off idle is even more pronounced with 10,000 lbs behind the truck, and the Cummins tows really strong through the mid and upper RPM range. Overall, we were very impressed with the capabilities of the Titan XD diesel.
Would the Titan XD Diesel Make a Great "Family Truck"?:
This might be the most important question for many buyers. For guys like me, my truck is our main family vehicle. I need a vehicle that can haul and tow alot of crap. In addition to towing our ATV's/UTV's to our favorite ride spot, we also tow our boat back and forth to the beach a few times a summer. Because of the bed, we can take as many beach toys as we'd like without the need to "pack light". Personally, I'd love to own the Titan XD diesel, if for no other reason than the long distance towing I do to the beach. The 555 lb-ft of torque would make light work of my boat and the 26 gallon fuel tank would give me the range to make the trip without a fuel stop. Plus, the truck has great manners and doesn't really feel too "diesely", which might make it an easier sell for the reluctant wife who stereotypes diesel trucks as loud and obnoxious.
Is the Cummins Thirsty?:
Bopping around town running errands and such, I consistently got around 15 mpg. The best mileage I managed occurred on a 220 mile interstate round trip through the northern tier of Pennsylvania and into southern New York, where the Titan XD returned 17.9 mpg running 70-75 mph through the mountains. Those numbers aren't bad at all for a truck this size. The XD did go into what I believe was an emissions system regeneration cycle once, and during that time, mileage tanked considerably. At best, it got 5-6 mpg while the system cleaned itself out. In my observation, the in-town mileage didn't seem much better than most gasser trucks I've driven. However, on the highway where the Aisin 6 speed transmission was able to stretch its legs and rely on the torquey diesel to pull 6th gear, the diesel mileage really spikes. I'm pretty confident that on flat terrain, I could get very close to 20 mpg running the interstate.
Once upon a time, diesel fuel was cheap and diesel engines were not subjected to the stringent emission standards current new models are. With diesel fuel possessing about 14% more energy by volume than gasoline, using diesel engines for vehicles that need to work hard makes sense. However, all of the after-treatment systems that scrub the exhaust of contaminants unfortunately also crimp efficiency. The choice to go diesel over gas has to be a personal one worthy of the investment. The diesel option costs more, but it will certainly help the truck hold value when it's time to sell. I really like the Nissan Titan XD diesel. In my neck of the woods, the factory to dealer incentives have the diesel models currently selling for around the same time as gas models. For me, the option to buy the diesel would be obvious.
For some naysayers (mostly Dodge/Ram owners), mentioning Nissan and Cummins in the same sentence has become a bit blasphemous...sort of like asking for your filet mignon well-done with a side of A1 sauce to dip it in. For me, that relationship is quite the opposite, with possibly the most perfect fusion of Asian/American I could imagine, short of sushi covered in hot sauce, dipped in blue cheese dressing, and deep fried. The Nissan Titan XD diesel is legit, and the 10 year, 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty that it comes with is unheard of in the truck category. If you're in the market for an American made diesel truck with the capability to tow/haul almost anything you can throw at it, but without giving up the creature comforts of a phenomenally swanky interior, the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD is worthy of your consideration.
|2017 Nissan Titan XD Diesel Truck Review|
|Cummins diesel engine with 310HP/555 lb/ft torque|
|5 year, 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty (best in the business)|
|2910 pound payload capacity|
|Over 12,000 pound tow capacity|
|Heated steering wheel|
|Heated and cooled front seats|
|Heated rear seats|
|Smooth, quiet diesel torque|
|Very comfortable ride|
|LED lights in bed area|
|Utili-Track channels on bed walls/floor|
|Driver-Assist display displays TONS of info|
|Integrated gooseneck hitch standard|
|Noticeable turbo lag below about 1800RPM|
|Very wide turning radius|
|Platinum Reserve models low approach angle makes any serious off-roading risky|