CALL OF DUTY
Nissan’s Titan XD Pro-4X King Cab is a solid middle-of-the-road full-size pickup.
That’s anything but faint praise. The extended cab Titan XD Pro-4X is the kind of full-size pickup that many buyers — especially if haven’t pledged a blood oath to one particular brand or the other — could easily wind up taking home after doing their research and a test drive or three. Good-looking, quiet and, for a big vehicle, easy to maneuver, the screaming-yellow 2018 Titan XD Pro-4X we borrowed also had a compliant ride and excellent sightlines.
Pickups like the Titan XD are for those who never want to be without a work truck for hauling or towing. A truck that can stash an occasional two or three extra passengers. A truck that’s as home on dirt or in muck as it is on asphalt. And the clincher: the rig ought to slide into the garage with room to spare, thereby keeping your shiny work tool out of sight of neighbors who will wonder if they can borrow it. Which means, of course, you will end up doing the driving.
In this age of gilded pickups galore, the Titan XD Pro-4X is no fancy-pants highway freighter that ensconces driver and passengers in the finest of branded cowhides. But neither is it Spartan. In addition to the standard front captain’s chairs, which Nissan says incorporate lessons from NASA, there’s a comprehensive roster of cabin niceties. All in all, the Titan XD Pro-4X King Cab scores a win in the interior department.
When it comes to value, you can also plunk down the Titan in the win column. With plenty of top-flight light pickups knocking on the $70,000 threshold, the Cummins-powered diesel XD Pro-4X’s $50,940 starting price should raise nary an eyebrow. And keep in mind that that’s just the official suggested price. Summer — officially here or not — means factory and dealer incentives, spiffs for loyal Nissan customers and/or members of the military that could be shave several thousand dollars off the window sticker total as motivated dealers make room for 2019s.
Nissan introduced the Titan XD in 2016, positioning the truck between traditional half-ton pickup and the heavy-duty three-quarter/one-ton trucks. Think of the XD as a standard Titan that delivers an extra (Xtra?) margin of hauling and towing capability. Check out the numbers:
The 5.6-liter Endurance V8-powered regular Titan 4x4 king cab has a rated payload of 1,630 lbs. and, with traditional ball-type hitch, has a towing limit of 9,250 lbs. The GVWR (short for gross vehicle weight rating, which is the maximum weight of a vehicle with passengers, fuel, fluids and cargo) is 7,300 lbs.
The 4x4 XD King Cab with that same 390-hp gasoline V8, can pull up to 11,060 lbs. and has a payload of 2,590 lbs. — gains of 1,100 lbs. and 960 lbs., respectively over the Titan. GVWR goes up to 8,800 lbs.
The 310-horse 5.0-liter Cummins turbo diesel generates 555 lb.-ft. of torque, bumping the XD’s tow rating up an additional 1,100 lbs. — to 12,160 lbs. Due to the diesel XD being a whopping 653 lbs. heavier — its curb weight is 7,113! — the nod goes to the gas XD when comparing payloads. With a rating of 2,130 lbs., the diesel comes up 460 lbs. short. The GVWR rises 190 lbs. to 8,990.
Titan XDs are built to take the heavier burdens, thanks to a fully boxed ladder frame that’s based on a Nissan commercial chassis. The King Cab wheelbase measures 139.8 inches, the same as the regular Titan extended cab but bumper-to-bumper is 3 inches longer at 231.3 inches. Compared to the more popular crew cab Titan XD, the King Cab is about a foot shorter.
The cylinder heads of the Cummins 5-liter V8 are aluminum alloy while the block is made of an alloy of aluminum and compacted graphite iron, which Nissan says is lighter and stronger than the iron traditionally used for diesel blocks. The turbocharged engine has a stainless steel exhaust system and is paired with an Aisin six-speed automatic trans. (Gas XDs have a seven-speed.) There’s an 18-quart reservoir for the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) that’s required for emissions compliance. The fuel tank is on the smallish side for a diesel, 26 gallons (the same capacity as gas Titan XDs).
The Pro-4x is a mid-level trim in crew cab Titan XDs but the off-road tailored version tops the pecking order with the extended cabs, so there are plenty of features like rear cross traffic alert, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps and a 7-inch display. While the screen is color, the resolution and contrast aren’t best in class, especially on bright days. The infotainment consists of a six-speaker audio system with SiriusXM radio and Bluetooth audio and phone. It’s worth noting that while there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, there is a CD player.
On the plus side, Nissan’s clever trailer light check function does away with the need to recruit a friend or family member to help the driver confirm the trailer’s electrical connections are operating correctly. We also appreciated practical no-extra cost touches like a 120-volt outlet and AC vent on the back of the center console, trailer brake controller, intelligent key, integrated gooseneck hitch and class IV receiver, 4-pin/7-pin wiring hookup, removable locking tailgate and extendable, heated tow mirrors with puddle lamps.
Nissan toughens up the Titan XD Pro-4X with skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, radiator and oil pan. A bedliner (spray-on) is also standard.
The Titan XD we drove had the Pro-4X convenience package ($3,295) that adds leather seats and embroidered Pro-4X call outs, four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, memory for seat, steering wheel and side mirrors, remote engine start, auto-dimming mirrors and Homelink transceiver.
The Pro-4X utility package ($1,445) throws in front and rear sonar, tailgate area illumination, 120-volt outlet in the bed, power sliding rear window and defrost, Nissan’s Utili-track system with adjustable cleats, electronic locking tailgate, a rear bumper step for easier bed access and a 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio upgrade.
The premium package includes lockable Titan storage boxes, ventilated front seats, side mirrors that tilt down when the driver shifts to reverse and, for even more precise positioning, Nissan’s “around view” monitor that displays views to the sides, front and rear of the Titan XD. The bundle runs $1,545.
The loaner was slathered in “solarflare yellow” that definitely helps making other drivers aware of the Titan XD Pro-4X. It’s $395 extra.
It’s a quiet, well-mannered engine, but unless you tow regularly, you should realistically weigh whether you need the added capability of the diesel. Besides the added initial cost, there are the issues of availability and cost of diesel fuel in many areas, and the need to keep the diesel exhaust fluid topped off. With the deep discounts that are likely available, you could wind up with a well-optioned gas Titan XD for well under $50,000 — in either the extended cab or far more abundant crew cabs.