If the outgoing generation of Nissan Titan is remembered for anything, it will be longevity. It’s been on sale for over a decade unchanged, while most of its competition has been redesigned twice.
So the 2016 Titan arrives not a moment too soon. Unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Nissan says it represents not just a new design, but a new class of truck.
That’s because the top-of-the-line Titan XD Nissan chose to roll out in Detroit is supposed to split the difference between a conventional half-ton truck and heavier-duty three-quarter and one-ton pickups.
To fulfill that mission, the XD gets a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8. Diesel engines are standard fare in heavy-duty trucks, but the only half-ton diesel currently available is the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which has a smaller 3.0-liter V6.
Nissan claims that unorthodox engine choice gives the Titan XD big power, without sacrificing fuel economy.
The Cummins engine produces a stout 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. It features sequential turbocharging, with a small turbo that can spool up quickly at low speeds, and big turbo for extra power, to eliminate lag.
In the Titan, it’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels, or all four.
Of course, the other side of the diesel coin is fuel economy, and the numbers on that aren’t in yet. Nissan will only say that the Cummins diesel will return 20 percent better mpg while towing full loads than a comparable gas V8.
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The diesel XD will eventually be joined by gasoline V8 and V6 options, and a variety of bed lengths and body styles. Lack of choice was one of the main criticisms of the old Titan.
No matter how it’s configured, the Titan looks absolutely brutish. Nissan says the massive front end is supposed to resemble a mask, but it seems more like a battering ram to us. A battering ram with lots of LEDs.
There’s also plenty of tech for buyers who want their trucks to be more than just dumb beasts of burden.
You can get a Titan with the same “NASA-inspired” Zero Gravity seats that debuted on the Altima, plus a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system and Nissan Connect infotainment system with navigation and app suite with a seven-inch touchscreen display.
To make docking this titanic truck easier, Nissan will also offer its Around View Monitor camera system, which provides a virtual bird’s-eye view over the truck and includes “moving-object detection.” The rear-view display also includes guide lines for backing up trailers.
The 2016 Nissan Titan goes on sale later this year. We’ll see if it lasts as long as its predecessor.