The Titan XD is making trouble in the full-size truck business!
Like many disruptive troublemakers, though, they are doing a great service to the rest of the class. Think of the rigid 1500 vs 2500 hierarchy of Fords and Chevys as the annoyed teacher, and buyers as the giggling classmates – in this broad metaphor.
The established players in the segment are deeply invested in the half-ton, full-ton distinctions. Beefier springs and a heavy-gauge chassis equals massive profits for the established truckmakers.
Nissan has shaken things up with its all-new, ground-up redesign of the 2016 Titan XD – or Every Duty. Its towing, hauling and gross combined vehicle weight ratings nicely split the difference between 1500-level machines and their big, tall 2500-spec brothers. The Nissan’s new advantages are many: more capability, in a more liveable and more affordable package than its entrenched rivals.
Who are the winners in this scenario? Truck buyers. Let Nissan take the hit on profit margins, and pounce on the chance to drive the segment-buster!? Yes.
We crowned the Titan the Best HD Pickup of 2016 back in March when testing out the Cummins V8TT diesel model.
A week in the diesel’s new gas sibling was extremely insightful. The Platinum Reserve trimline for our test 5.6L V8 helped us love the machine even more than before, of course. But it is really this gas motor that seals the deal. More fun, much quicker, much cheaper…! What’s not to love?
Very little, it turns out. We adored this truck so much we even nicknamed it: Black Magic.
2016 Nissan TITAN XD Platinum Reserve 5.6L V8 – HD Video Review
Fact checker’s note: the Toyota 5.7-liter V8 is, in fact, larger than this 5.6-liter. The unstoppably-powerful feel of this Titan caused your talking-head to momentarily forget all rivals.
Black Magic indeed!
A dark chrome bath for the Platinum Reserve Titan is a menacing mod to all the ultra-bright chrome on the SL and SV models below this range-topper. Every detail is matching black-chrome on the Platinum Reserve – right down to the running-board edges, the window surround, mirrors, tailgate garnish and, of course, the fridge-sized V-motion grille in front.
The advantage of black chrome? It is ultra classy, non-blinding and overall just a subtler, more premium look for any car or truck.
One as massive as this Titan XD, though? Oh yes. The dark finishes disappear outside of direct sunlight. They become musky, black chrome that absorbs whatever light into its rich depths.
This Black Magic makeover is gorgeous all around — right down to the 20-inch multispoke alloys. The overall design cleans up nicely beyond this finish swap in Platinum Reserve trim. Upgraded fender flares in contrast paintwork are delightful, as is the extra shield on the tailgate with its Platinum Reserve branding.
Time with the truck has dulled its sheer sense of scale to our eyes, but won’t to yours for many weeks. Why? At the end of the day, the Titan XD is massive from all sides. We especially love the monster-truck look the Titan XD achieves — somewhere between F-250 and Bigfoot?! The impossibly tall hood and grille are just the start. The ride height is gigantic, as are the swirl of very-modern, organic upper shoulders all around. The rear edges of the bodywork are almost rippling with muscle, and nicely match the nose arches doing the same.
Rich black paintwork on this Platinum Reserve helps bring out even more design detail in the big-rig hood, smoothed glasshouse and modern details throughout.
One you won’t see at first, but is extra important? The Endurance V8 badges in the hood vents to replace the Cummins branding on diesel-powered Titans.
Inside, this Endurance V8 fires up with a bellow and howl unlike any diesel. The engine note is enough to make you almost overlook the ridiculously luxe cabin appointments in this range-topper. At least, it is with the windows down!~
With them up, the Titan XD is easily the most-isolated and comfortable 2500-spec truck around. So quiet, in fact, at idle that the loudest sound you’ll hear will be the extra-powerful cooled seat fans. Delightful.
Same goes for the box-pattern of the Platinum Reserve seats. These contrast a saddle brown leather upper seat with exposed-pore brown lleather, black embossed seatbacks and black inner seats down below. All the better to vent back sweat! Those cooled and heated seats are ultra powerful, if we hadnt mentioned it, and even prompted your always-sweaty scribe to turn them down a notch.
Special luxury touches abound, like the exposed-pore woodgrain elements for part of the steering wheel and dashboard. And of course, a healthy slathering of black-chrome for all that would be bright chrome on cheaper SL and SV specifications.
Trailer-brake controls and blind-spot monitoring are welcome additions to the dual-view side mirrors and AroundView monitor. This parking aid is extra helpful on such a gigantic machine. Guidelines for where the truck is headed, parking proximity sensors all around and even camera-view for Drive as well as Reverse? A truly parkable HD truck.
Nicely functional Nav and infotainment touchscreens are intuitive and rapid-responsive to button taps. A final delight? The thumping Rockford Fosgate audio system — which truly jams out like a mobile DJ booth to any tunes in your library — or on XM, etc.
Like an isolation tank at idle, a thumping club at max volume, and a roaring monster-truck on hard throttle?
Can one truck immerse its drivers in so much sonic bliss? Oh yes.
On even half throttle, the Endurance V8 wakes the beast in any driver. Its free-flowing gurgle and deep burble becomes a heavyweight howl midway up its rev range. Then up top, zings like a racecar with a Spitfire blattttt!?
Yes to all.
We loved the throttle response of this gas V8 even more than its awesome engine/exhaust note. And loved its sheer speed more than its eager tip-in!
Paired with the standard seven-speed automatic, this truck legitimately flies down the road like a heavy bomber on takeoff. 390-ponies for the gas motor versus 310 for the turbodiesel really feels like an extra 200 ponies. Even while down on torque radically versus the Cummins diesel, the gas engine is much faster and much more fun to drive fast.
The only gripe we have on the road? Some normal-for-HD-trucks adjustments needed in handling fast corners. The truck has a fairly supple suspension and razor-accurate steering. But it likes to find a line around expressway corners and not deviate much. A mid-corner tightening or loosening of the steering angle can upset its balance slightly.
The tradeoff? Heavy Duty towing and payload ratings, but standard-duty speed and pricing.
Opting out of the Cummins diesel saves a ton of cash up front for truck owners. So much so, in fact, that the Platinum Reserve’s $56k pricing with the gasoline V8 lines up with the cloth-seated SL 4×4 we crowned “HD Truck of the Year” a few months back.
Even better? The base pricing for the gas motor are far friendlier. Just $35k gets you into this stonking truck-disrupter. Exact same power and speed as this loaded-up Platinum Reserve, and all coming with a best-in-segment 5-year/60k-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Impressive? Absolutely.
We loved “The Crusher,” as we dubbed the heavier-feeling diesel version of the new Titan XD. That much is clear.
But the lighter, quicker and more-rewarding gas Titan we called Black Magic?
Beyond love, and into a long-term level of deep respect. Paired with awe, attraction and true desire!
The Titan XD with its standard Endurance gasoline V8 takes the XD deep into the disruptor’s corner of tech innovators. More comfortable and cheaper than traditional 2500-sprung trucks, yet just as stout and — crucially — now far more fun to drive!?
Yes indeed. Pulling a double rabbit out of its hat, the Titan XD Platinum Reserve really must be Black Magic!
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.