Newest Nissan Titan XD could be ‘King’ of versatility
The extended cab version of Nissan’s “extra duty” Titan XD - the King Cab - arrived this spring, wrapping up an extended phase-in for the long Titan. The King Cab name goes back 40 years when Datsun, as the automaker was then known, created an extended-cab version of its stalwart 620 compact trucks.
Nissan took a different tack when it mapped out the long-overdue second generation of the Titan. There are two distinct families of Titans. Instead of a conventional heavy-duty pickup (or, in legacy terms, “three-quarter” or “one-ton” truck), the automaker came up with the Titan XD. The pickup is a ’tweener: Nissan reasoned that there are buyers who would prefer more payload and tow capability than a light pickup but can do without the higher tow ratings - and prices - of the competition’s heavy-duty workhorses.
Compared to the regular two-wheel-drive Titan King Cab, the XD equivalent is 2.4 inches longer, weighs 556 lbs. more and sits 2.7 inches higher. The XD’s ladder frame is derived from Nissan’s commercial vehicles and is fully boxed and reinforced. The XD shares its 139.8-inch wheelbase with its standard Titan King Cab sibling.
The Titan XD’s standard powertrain is Nissan’s Endurance V8 bolted to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Though its 5.6-liter displacement is a carryover, the new engine - also used in the regular Titan - now sports direct injection, an 11.2:1 compression ratio and Nissan’s latest valve event and lift control technology.
The results are a solid 390 hp and 394 lb.-ft. of torque, whereas the previous engine made 317 horses and 385 lb.-ft.
The 2WD Titan XD King Cab can pull a trailer weighing up to 11,380 lbs. and has a maximum payload rating of 2,710 lbs. with conventional receiver hitch. Nissan’s regular Titan specs out to 9,420 lbs. towing and a significantly lower payload: 1,610 lbs.
Those wanting more hauling capability can opt for a Cummins turbocharged 5.0-liter diesel V8 that produces 310 hp at 3,200 rpm and 555 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. Whether you need the boost is the $6,050 question as the diesel starts at $44,010 compared to the equivalent gasoline Titan XD SV extended cab’s $37,960 base price. The diesel, which is teamed with a 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission, has a tow ceiling of 12,510 lbs. Maximum payload is 2,290 lbs.
The 2017 Titan XD King Cab is offered in three grades S, SV and PRO-4X. MSRPs range from $33,560 for the gasoline S to $50,490 for a turbodiesel PRO-4X, which only comes in 4WD.
The SV and PRO-4X include a standard integrated gooseneck hitch which raises the towing limits (11,510 lbs. for 2WD and 11,180 lbs. for 4WD), conventional receiver hitch, trailer sway control, trailer brake controller and built-in 4-and 7-pin connector. With the S grade, only the receiver hitch and connector are available, and at extra cost.
The standard infotainment on the S and SV consists of a non-touch 5.0-inch color display and a six-speaker system that supports Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Nissan’s suite of mobile apps and plays AM/FM/MP3/WMA. There are steering wheel controls and auxiliary and USB inputs.
The PRO-4X gets you a 7.0-inch color touchscreen, NissanConnect with navigation and SiriusX Travel Link (subscription required) and voice recognition for navigation and audio. (Nissan’s comfort and convenience package for the SV includes the upgrade - and much more - for $2,530.) While the PRO-4X includes Siri Eyes Free, none of the 2017 Titan XDs are compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
There’s plenty of other available technology to help the driver keep things under control, though. Depending on trim level, the features include:
AroundView Monitor (AVM) gives the driver “eyes” all around the vehicle - also represented on the screen - from an overhead perspective. AVM makes getting into - or out of - tight parking spaces far less stressful. Sensors also detect moving objects near the vehicle and alert the driver.
Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert
Trailer light check enables the driver, using the key fob, to verify that running lights, turn signals and brake lights are operating as intended.
RearView Monitor with trailer guides help align the pickup with the trailer.
True to its mission, the Titan XD is equipped with tougher light truck (LT) tires. The standard running gear for the S and SV: 17-by-7.5 inch painted steel wheels and LT245/75 all-season tires. Tailored for on- and off-road use, the PRO-4X gets 18 x 7.5-inch six-lug aluminum alloy wheels and LT275/65 all-terrain rubber. Optional on the SV are 20 x 7.5-inch chrome alloy wheels wrapped with 265/60 all-season tires. All variants are equipped with workable full-size spare tires and wheels: 245/75R17 for the S or SV; 265/65R18 for the PRO-4X.
Of course, going the 4WD route will affect the XD’s tow and payload ratings slightly (as can choice of tires). The 2017 XD has a new transfer case and “shift-on-the-fly” four-wheel-drive that permits going between 2WD and 4WD instantaneously while driving as long as the speed is 60 mph or under. Modern gadgetry like hill descent control, hill-start assist, brake limited-slip differential, and a gauge to monitor pitch and roll angles are also baked in.
It was refreshing to pilot a pickup that wasn’t a crew cab. For those who don’t often carry passengers long distances, the King Cab strikes a nice compromise in functionality and convenience with the added bonuses of more pleasing proportions and an MSRP (for 2WD at least) in the low- to mid-thirties, all too rare these days.
All Titan XDs have 6.5-foot cargo beds with standard removable and lockable tailgate. The gate is nicely damped when lowered and a breeze to lift. The Titan XD sits high and is slightly raked. With 8.1 inches of ground clearance in the front and 8.7 inches at the rear, the running boards that are part of the aforementioned comfort and convenience package will likely come in handy. (Those specs are for the tested Titan XD, a 2WD. Interestingly, the 4WD version is listed as having 8.0 inches of front ground clearance with the same rear clearance.) Which means with stock tires - or all-terrain tread when its time to replace the tires - the 2WD Titan XD pickup will handle most farm and ranch duty with ease.
Nissan’s newest pickup also proved easy to live with. Though the stout gun metallic gray XD sat high and my standard height-challenged co-pilot initially needed a little, shall we say, encouragement, to mount up, she quickly got the hang of it. Access to the versatile rear compartment was super easy, thanks to the reverse-opening rear doors that open nearly 180 degrees.
Nissan isn’t shy about promoting its NASA-inspired “zero gravity” seat technology and its claims regarding posture and long-distance comfort. We must admit, we were pleasantly surprised by how well the beast rode. (The PRO-4X, which has standard Bilstein coil-over shocks, was not tested.)
The Titan XD King Cab was also quiet, thanks to improvements in aerodynamics and sealing.
2017 NISSAN TITAN XD SV
TYPE: Full-size pickup
BASE PRICE: $37,960
AS TESTED, INCLUDING DESTINATION: $42,905
MAJOR OPTIONS: SV comfort & convenience package, $2,530; SV utility package (must add SV comfort/convenience pkg.), $1,120
DRIVETRAIN: 5.6-liter V8; 7-speed auto; RWD
HORSEPOWER and TORQUE: 390 hp at 5,800 rpm/ 394 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
FUEL: gas, 87 octane; 26-gallon tank
EPA ESTIMATED MPG: (fuel economy ratings not required)
CURB WEIGHT: 6,040 lbs.
SAFETY: NHTSA, not rated; IIHS, not tested