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December 18, 2015
By Keith McLaughlin

TITAN XD “JUST RIGHT” IN RUGGED DESERT ENVIRONMENT
2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
Fans of children’s literature and astrophysics alike are familiar with the “Goldilocks” zone. That’s the area that is just right for either a flaxen haired child’s comfort or for the foundations of life to form. There must be some of either camp at work at Nissan because that ethos has been embraced wholeheartedly in the new Titan XD pickup. The all new offering is designed to fill the void between the ½ ton and ¾ ton pick up market. According to Nissan, 150,000 U.S. pickup truck owners move up and down between the two segments annually, (15,000 in Canada) creating the opportunity to fill the “white space” between them.

Nissan picked a suitably rugged environment, the Arizona desert, to showcase its tough new truck to automotive journalists and dealers. While V6 and V8 gasoline engines will be available in Titan, the XD models tested all featured the new Cummins 5.0L Turbo Diesel engine.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
It’s the first commercial application of Cummins M2 two stage turbo system designed to reduce turbo lag through precision balancing between high and low pressure turbos. The engine features technology that reduces traditional “diesel clatter” and maintenance free ceramic glow plugs providing quick starts even in extreme temperatures. Engine weight was reduced in part by building the cylinder block out of compacted graphite iron (CGI), which is lighter and stronger than traditional iron. According to Nissan, Titan XD’s equipped with the Cummins diesel are expected to provide a projected 20 per cent fuel economy benefit over gasoline powered V8’s while towing full loads. The diesel engine is mated to a heavy duty six-speed Aisin automatic transmission developed and tuned specifically for the Titan XD. The result is a powerful and demonstrably quiet engine. The importance Nissan placed on reducing engine noise was elaborated nicely at one of the breaks during the driving day. Andrew Harkness from Nissan recounted how the Cummins engineers would do the “Tim Hortons” test on the XD. If a driver could place an order at a Tims drive thru with the truck idling and have both order and confirmation clearly understood, the engine was well on its way to meeting the low engine noise standard.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
Titan XD models utilize a unique frame and chassis to handle their Cummins diesel engines. Starting with a proven chassis design from Nissan Commercial Vehicles, the fully boxed, full length ladder frame is reinforced and strengthened, with added stiffness, vertical and lateral bending and torsional rigidity. It also features an almost 51 centimetre longer wheelbase than non-XD models. To maximize stability, handling and ride comfort, Titab XD uses a new heavy-duty, highly stable suspension design. The double-wishbone with stabilizer bar front suspension is reinforced and tuned for hard use and the rigid rear axle suspension utilizes hefty leaf springs and leaf bushings, along with twin-tube shock absorbers.

Hydraulic cab-mounts help isolate the occupants from the advanced Titan XD chassis. The new Titan XD rides on 17-inch, 18-inch or 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with LT245/75R17, LT275/65R18 or LT265/60R20 tires for strong all-weather/all surface traction. Braking is provided by a 4-wheel disc system with 14 inch plus ventilated discs front and rear with hydraulic power assist. Combined with other goodies like a larger radiator and engine cooling fan results in the Titan XD being capable of hauling up to a 2,000lb load, running a snow plow or towing up to 12,000 lbs. Other available towing aids are an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check system that allows one-person hook-up operation – checking turn signals, brake lights and running/clearance lights from inside the Titan cab.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
Also assisting trailer hook-ups is the Titan XD's available RearView Monitor with Trailer Guides. Titan XD’s towing and hauling capabilities were put to the test during the launch event where they were driven on what can only be generously described as dirt road (more like dirt rut) conditions with 750 lbs of shifting payload in the bed and later on highway while towing a excavator.

During the media event Nissan shared Titan’s concept goals, one of which was to have the new tough and rugged design compliment what lies beneath. The new truck doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Inspired by a theme of "powerful precision tool," the Titan XD exterior was in part influenced by the engine, to incorporate the high performance grille, charged air cooler and two-battery installation. The result is a truck with a bold, commanding presence and a fresh, modern technical feel.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
Commercial truck operators share Goldilocks opinion about the importance of finding a bed that’s “just right”. They will be pleased to know that the Titan XD will be available with an 8-foot bed on single cab models and a 6.5-foot bed on King and Crew cab versions. Titan’s Utili-track™ Bed Channel System continues, once again featuring four heavy-duty aluminum alloy cleats that move and lock anywhere along the walls, bed floor and header tracks giving the user myriad tie-down possibilities. The Titan XD features available dual lockable in-bed storage boxes that sit sight-unseen at street level and can hold a wide range of work equipment. The units are accessible from inside the bed without having to remove a camper top or tonneau cover. The water tight and drainable boxes are also removable for times when extra bed capacity is required. Other Titan XD bed features include the spray-on bedliner, flush-mounted LED bedrail lighting, cargo and tailgate lamps, 120-volt in-bed access and a damped tailgate that is easy to raise and lower.

Moving from bed to cab, Titan designers objective was to keep things simple but smarter, making owners’ lives easier by focusing on enhanced utility and on making the interior easy to use through improved layout of switches, driver controls and storage spaces.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
Front storage has been increased 33 per cent and rear storage 28 per cent over the previous generation Titan. New 2nd row underseat storage in King and Crew cab variants includes a locking lid for added security and an integrated fold-out flat floor. The centre console can hold a computer tablet with case or a 15-inch laptop. The Titan cabs convenient nooks and crannies for storage proved so voluminous that the most amiable auto journalist I shared most of my drive with managed to temporarily misplace his camera in one or another of them throughout the day. All switches are now grouped by function type and location is based on frequency of use. Other convenient interior design features include seven assist grips, console-side map pockets, 12-volt and 120-volt power outlets remote start with climate control function, and Rockford Fosgate premium 12-speaker audio system. The attention to detail includes moving the glove compartment handle to the left hand side for easier access by the driver.

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.
The Titan XD also features a tilt and telescoping steering column with a standard column-mounted transmission shifter lever, increasing the visibility and usability of the centre stack area and opening up the centre console for additional storage such as a diaper bag, as one of my driving companions cheerfully enthused. The premium grade instrument panel includes a combination of analog and digital gauges, along with a 5.0-inch colour display, unique diesel monitoring and maintenance displays, and 7.0-inch NissanConnectSM with Navigation, Mobile Apps and Services colour monitor.

Pick-up truck operators spend a lot of time behind the wheel. The standard front and rear Zero Gravity seats in the Titan King and Crew cab help maximize posture positioning for enhanced comfort during long-distance driving. Heating and cooling front seats are also available, along with a choice of water-repellant fabric or durable leather-appointments. Heated front and rear seats are available in both cloth and leather trim levels. Front bench seats will be featured on S and SV grade Titan XD’s, as well as a vinyl floor standard on S grade, appealing to the commercial operator.

Much like Goldilocks, the New Titan XD made itself right at home in the unforgiving climes of the Arizona desert, handling severe conditions with aplomb and like the golden haired heroine is poised to be a disruptive force to the Big 3 bears who currently dominate the heavy duty pick up market.








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