Titan XD Pickup in a New Weight Segment

December 2, 2015
Titan XD Pickup in a New Weight Segment

Nissan’s Titan XD pickup truck constitutes a new weight segment, with hauling and towing capacity between current 1/2- and 3/4-ton vehicles, executives said at a series of ride-and-drive events in Arizona. It could be called a 5/8-ton model, though they didn’t use that term.

The XD, for extra duty, retains the maneuverability and ride of a half-tonner but adds cargo-carrying and towing capacity without the bulk and expense of a three-quarter-tonner, Nissan people said. Its payload capacity is 2,091 pounds and towing capacity is 12,314 pounds.

“Why pay for something you don’t need?” said Rich Miller, a Titan product specialist, of 3/4-ton trucks. Yet 1/2-ton pickups often are too small for serious work. 

At least one participant in every focus group the company conducted during its market research said that they regularly pulled a trailer weighing about 8,000 pounds and didn’t need the 15,000-pound capacity of competitors’ 3/4-ton trucks, Miller said.

Although Nissan is a Japanese company, the XD was designed and mostly engineered in America, and is being built here, he said. The truck is assembled at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Miss., where XD production began in November 2015. Components, including the Cummins 5-liter diesel, are built in the United States.

 It will meet North American needs and is highly competitive with the established pickup brands. Commercial users are among the sales targets for the new model, Miller said.

Nissan executives fully realize that the Detroit-based Big Three makes are well entrenched, and that the Titan has been in last place among the five builders competing in the full-size pickup market, said Steve Parrett, a regional communications manager.

“We know that they’ve been at it much longer than we have,” Parrett said. “We’ll just have to work harder at it. One thing we can do is what we’ve done: create a new segment. And we know some commercial operators will look at this product and find use for it.”

Nissan’s research shows that 75,000 owners per year switch from three-quarter-tonners to half-tonners, and another 75,000 go up from half- to 3/4-ton vehicles. They will find what they really need with the Titan XD, he said.

The XD package includes the Cummins ISV5.0 V-8 diesel, with 310 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque, an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission, and a beefed-up chassis, Miller said. They account for an upcharge of about $15,000 over the half-ton gasoline-powered Titan, which itself is being updated for release later.

The chassis’ frame has fully boxed main rails with extra crossmember strength and stronger springs and shock absorbers in the front to carry the diesel’s weight as well as the extra payload and trailer weight, said Melaina Vasko, lead salability engineer on the XD project. 

Brakes were also enlarged compared to the 1/2-ton Titan’s, and the XD’s rear axle is stronger, she said. The Cummins diesel weighs about 300 pounds more than Nissan’s 5.6-liter gasoline V-8, and should deliver 20 percent better fuel economy. 

Many of the comfort, convenience and utility features from the earlier Titan are being offered on the XD, Miller said. They include factory sprayed-in lining for cargo beds, UtiliTrack tie-down system, and dampened supports for easy raising and lowering of the tailgate.

Factory installed under-bed supports for gooseneck and fifth-wheel hitches are also among options. Components slide and lock into recesses over the rear axle, and can be quickly removed to clear the floor for cargo hauling. 

New Titan Box cargo containers sit next to the inner walls, allowing full use even with a cap or tonneau cover installed. The boxes can be unbolted and removed to provide more cargo width.

XDs will come with 2-door Regular and 4-door King and crew cabs using 8-, 6.5- and 5-foot-long cargo beds. Five trim levels include S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. Interior appointments go from basic to luxury. Pricing is not finalized, but will be in the $40,000 to $60,000-plus range.