• 2016 Nissan Titan XD – First Towing and MPG Testing [Video]

    2016-Nissan-Titan-XD
    2016 Nissan Titan XD

    Avid TFLtruck viewers have likely seen recent videos of the yet-to-be-released 2016 Nissan Titan XD with a 5.0L V8 Cummins diesel putting out 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque. TFL’s Andre Smirnov had a chance to take the pickup down the highways and do some off-roading near Scottsdale, Arizona, and had good things to say about the truck’s characteristics in both scenarios.

    However, the all-important towing test of the diesel-powered truck was not entirely transparent… Andre was relegated to the passenger seat as a Nissan rep drove during the towing portion.

    To make the waters murkier, Andre did not have a chance to see inside the trailers, which were a reported weight of 9,000 pounds. For the record, Nissan claims it would have been happy to open the trailers if asked. See the video explaining what happened here.

    To make things right, Nissan graciously invited us back to Scottsdale and promised us a chance to tow… this time with flatbed trailers carrying Bobcats, for a total reported weight of 9,600 pounds.

    What we already knew:

    The Titan XD is a new truck that fits in somewhere between the light-duty and 2500 HD series trucks. A Nissan rep described it as similar to what a 3/4-ton truck was like around 2005. It is actually classified by the EPA as a Class 2B truck and thus no mpg numbers will be found on the window sticker. The first XD to be released for public consumption will be the Cummins-powered variety, with a gasoline V8 coming later. The only transmission will be a 6-speed Aisin automatic. During Andre’s first drive, the truck was described as quiet on the highway and capable on the off-road course. Watch the off-road test here.

    What we learned:

    Through the use of focus groups around the country, Nissan believes it has identified a gap in the marketplace wherein consumers want more than what a current 1/2-ton offers in the towing department but don’t feel the need to go all the way up to a 3/4-ton. Compared to a new standard Titan, which will be released after the XD, the XD has a completely different chassis and frame. It also has lower spring rates than one would find on a typical 3/4-ton truck. This is meant to give the truck a ride more like a 1/2-ton. A representative from Nissan explained that many truck owners are ready to trade in their 10-year old heavy-duty truck but feel the current heavy-duty offerings would be overkill for their needs. The company believes the diesel XD will be the answer for such a customer.

    Towing impressions:

    During Andre’s chance to feel the truck tow (from the passenger seat), he commented that he didn’t feel like the truck wanted to accelerate when going up grade when the pedal was floored. This time around his impression was confirmed. Behind the wheel, the XD had difficulty accelerating up hills with the Bobcat in tow, although while going up a 6 percent grade the truck never dropped below its cruise-control designated 70 mph. Brent Hagan, Senior Planner for Nissan’s Product Planning Department, explained their goal was never to create a truck that can drag race up a hill with a trailer. The focus was on creating a truck that could handle heavy loads while still being an exceptional daily-driver. Where the truck shined was on the downhill. The XD has a downhill speed control tow mode feature (aka. grade shifting), the driver taps the brake pedal while at the desired speed and the truck holds that speed until it reaches the bottom of the hill. During our 6 percent grade downhill test, the truck never went above the 70 mph.

    So will the XD fit into the marketplace the way Nissan hopes it will? Could it be your next light-heavyweight truck? It’s an interesting proposal Nissan has put forward and if you’re looking to trade in your 10-year-old heavy-duty truck it’s certainly worth looking at. Check out the towing video with mpg numbers provided by the truck’s computer below.

    Brian Waring
    Brian Waring
    Brian is an engineer by trade but his true passion is anything automotive. He wakes up every morning to search the web for the latest industry news. He enjoys taking his Tacoma 4×4 off-road in the mountains of Colorado where he spends his free time hiking, biking, and snowboarding with his wife and dogs near their Rocky Mountain home.
    http://tfltruck.com

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    41 thoughts on “2016 Nissan Titan XD – First Towing and MPG Testing [Video]

      1. I mean, it should since the new Chevy Colorado Duramax has its own little exhaust brake. If not, I’d be very surprised.

    1. So they claim they didn’t want a truck that drag races up a hill…. But the problem here is its about tapped out pulling 9,600 lbs up the grade. When I tow I like to know there is extra left and don’t want to have to hold pedal all the way to floor to keep moving on grade. With this being the case this truck has minimal to advantage over a half ton. Really probably power train logevity is about it and maybe is fatty curb weight feels more stable. I say get a heavy duty.

    2. I’ll bet when they test the titan against the ecoboost ford that the ford out pulls it up the gauntlet. I’ll also say the titan won’t get but 1 mpg better with there diesel over the gas ecoboost. I think Nissan already knows it won’t beat the ford thats why there engineer drove.

    3. I know everyone like to compare the trucks on the Ike Guatlet, but the fact that is one of the steepest grades in the country and most of us will never tow those grades and if we do its only a once in a blue moon event. While I think this is a good test of a trucks ultimate strength, I’d like to see more towing testing in average highway driving, city driving. How does the truck handle the load overall, not just how fast it can make it up the Ike.

      1. I agree 100% with you John, as I live in Winnipeg. MB (Canadian prairies) who once in a couple of years will tow through the Canadian Rockies, I would to see a test as John suggests

        1. I totally agree. “Real world tests”. Will the XD tow my 27′ toy hauler at 70 with the cruise control? Because my 5.7 Tundra won’t. And, I could get at least 11mpg towing, I’d be quite happy.

    4. I think the Silverado 6.2 Ecotec will also out do this XD. The Half-Tons these days can compete with this XD no problem and I think will be a lot more worth your money

      1. I agree both 2015 6.2l Chevy and 2015 F150 3.5L ecoboost are basically already tweener trucks. They push plenty close enough to 3/4 ton grounds. I mean power wise a 6.2l with 8 speed in the 1500 is going to out pull the 2500 chevy with 6.0L. The 2500 chevy is just likely going to last longer under lets say… towing everyday. Same with Ford. 2015 F150 ecoboost has more towing power than a 6.2L F250. It has better torque curve and power to weight ratio. Again 3/4 gaser will just have better longevity and higher payload/towing capabilities. Really an ideal tweener would weigh 6,000-6500Lbs with a diesel roughly like that 5.0L cummins. I think the curb weight of the titan is throwing away its real strength in the market. I needs to lose like 1,000Lbs in beef. Its no shit about 600Lbs lighter than a loaded F350 single rear wheels and sprung light with less power. Personally I don’t think Titan XD compares on the interior either. Ram and chevy HD are already ahead and 2017 superduty brings even more.

    5. I have a 2012 3.5 Ford Eco booster that is rated at over 12k for towing. I don’t see the Nissan value advantage in either capability, mileage, or price. Nissan appears to be carving out a niche where there is none to be had.

    6. Yes I think it will be interesting to see how this truck performs compared to the Ecoboost & Chevy 6.2. Long term durability might be this Titan’s main advantage against the half tons.

      1. Yea I don’t doubt that engine and trans in the XD will outlast any half ton more than likely. The rest of the truck we will just have to see as previous titan was rated worse quality/reliable half ton. I don’t buy all this tows easier BS that Nissan and the media are pumping into everyone’s head. Half tons are not what they used to be. Chevy or Ford equipped right can easily handle their ratings. Really if you are towing 9-10K or more everyday you really should have a 3/4 ton diesel.

    7. The important thing here is that the truck wasn’t losing speed. If you are driving up any hill at 70 mph you don’t need to be passing other vehicles even if you’re not towing anything. I’m not really impressed with the mpg though.

      1. It wasn’t losing speed but it was pedal to the floor and wasn’t even at its tow limit. Not impressed. The fact is when you accelerate on a hill what does that look like. This truck just seems like no fun when unloaded either. Slower than RAM ecodiesel which is an economy engine. Come on….

        1. @Jerame – that’s a great point you brought out – isn’t this truck supposed to be able to tow over 12k lbs? Here it is at 9600lbs and cannot accelerate any further – that tells me on the same grade it wouldn’t be keeping its speed when fully loaded. Ford EcoBoost or Chevy 6.2L would tow this load and probably still have acceleration room.

          Nevertheless, I respect this engine and expect it to be very durable and reliable. Its just installed in the wrong truck with the wrong mission.

    8. Roman was hoping to get the truck to Colorado by the end of the month. That would be great. If they tow 10k lbs, I predict 9:20 at 4 mpg.

    9. When towing or driving one needs to have the ability to accelerate. I tow regularly up I-80 out of Salt Lake City. It is a 6% grade. What can be difficult is when you get behind Semi trucks and need to change lanes because they crawl up the steep grade going 20-30 MPH. You must be able to jump out and accelerate without getting run over. It sounds like this truck won’t be able to do that towing the amount of weight that we were told about at the auto shows. (12k pounds) Diesel in Salt Lake is 25% more than gas right now. ($1.94 vs. $2.49 per gallon) Unless this truck comes in at considerably less than MSRP, a 3/4 from one of the big three makes far more sense. I really wanted to like this truck, but I just don’t see how it can compete given it’s price point and capabilities.

      1. You could always stay in the semi lane, you might loose 1 minute going up the hill. but really this truck is faster then a 2004 F350.

    10. Watch the off-road video. Does anyone else notice the massive front overhang on this new Titan? Seriously, look at the front wheels – they are almost touching the front door cut line. Not good for off-road.

      It seems Nissan has carefully orchestrated everything with the launch of this truck – from towing against a Ford 5.0L to where it off roads. That tells me it has something to hide, which is that it is not competitive with the best from Ford / GM / Ram.

      Why on earth would you pit a very expensive, extra-cost diesel engine (top engine) on this new Titan against the “volume” seller gas V8 engine from a competitor, especially when that competitor offers a superior engine? It should be top engine to top engine. Shame on Nissan. Hopefully TFL can put the EcoBoost and GM 6.2L against this Titan XD and run them up the Ike.

    11. This must be the most polarizing truck to be launched since the Ford Ecoboost in 2010. I cannot wait to see some actual real world tests on this truck.. Payload #’s have been discussed, but I have not ever seen what the actual front and rear axles are rated for in pounds. Also, to maintain 70 mph with a 9600# load up a 6% grade is 5mph more than the speed limit in my part of the country. And pulling a skid steer is not the most aerodynamic load. MPG is going to be terrible. Heck, you see reports of 6.7 CTD and PS pulling UTV’s side by sides that are 1/8th of this load and getting 11 mpg just because the catch so much wind. My point, there so much yet to be learned about the Titan outside of these media events. Anyone willing to crawl up a dirt road with a GM brand Duramax equipped vehicle with its low DEF tank like the Titan did?

    12. It will be interesting how the market will accept this. Many people thought a v6 turbo fullsize pickup would never take off… But it did. But then it was already in a successful pickup. Nissan is not a successful pickup by sales numbers. But who knows as the cummins will help Nissan much like it did ram. It’s almost like Nissan took the engine and trans and designed everything around it but went light and heavy in a miss match in an effort to try keep the truck in the 1/2 ton class but by the time they were done they were in 3/4 ton class. One thing I think they went light on is the six lug semi floating axles…. Nothing hd about that but one of the reason the payload is down. Needs full floater and 8 lugs to do the work some are expecting them to do. Curious what capacity is left on the front axle with the heavy engine and trans and frame on this behemoth. You look at bed lengths and ideally the bed needs a long bed as it may require a sliding fifth for tight backing. Can it be done yes but a longer bed is better on a goose neck and 5ers. To me it almost looks like they werent great communication between power train and chassis and body engineers to hit there mark of a heavy half. They skimped on the axles and springs, went all beefy on the frame, engine, transmission, and then had to fit a body on it as after thought. Really long in the noise to fit all the radiators in front of the big engine and trans. It’s a weird duck for sure. Hopefully they sell a few to keep them in the game and improve its short comings. Price is going to be key.

    13. I think the Nissan engineers are to conservative like all Japanese companies are. They should’ve unleashed more power to this truck. There’s truly a reason why GM and Ford are the leaders in the truck world. They just do a better job building a truck that does what it’s supposed to do without all the hype. There’s no way I’d pay that price for a half ton when I can go buy a 3/4 ton that gets the same mileage, and is a beefier truck. Good job Andre! I like that guy.

      1. It was Nissan that kicked Ford’s butt in 2004 when they came out with the 5.6, same with Toyota with the 5.7 and 380 HP. Ford was using the lowly 5.4 which could not get out of its own way. Without Toyota and Nissan Ford would not have put it into high gear to make sure they don’t loose their lead. Competion is good.

        1. @ Jerry:

          “Nissan kicked Ford’s butt..” Huh? In horsepower, yes…but in sales, no. Same with Toyota. I like horsepower, so does everyone…but apparently you have to make an appealing truck to go along with that horsepower, or no one buys it. Nissan and Toyota kicked GM’s butt, too, by your standards…but those trucks barely register on the sales charts.

          As for the “lowly 5.4,” by 2009 It was making more horsepower and only 20lb-ft less than Nissan’s 5.6L. Really, fairly respectable, and a long-lived engine.

          1. It also has to do with the frame, gears,…. max towing on the Ford F-150 in 2004 was 9,500 lbs, Nissan’s was 100 lbs less at 9,400 lbs. From our research material, Ford has never seen Nissan or Toyota a competitor in the truck market. I can only assume GM and Dodge feel the same.

          2. I’m not talking about sales, I’m talking about making a modern innovative product and the Titan was ahead of its times. Sales suffurd because the pickup market is a very loyal bunch and its hard to sway people over escpecially with a Japanese name attached.

            1. The Titan was a decent engine in a crappy truck that never saw any real updates. There is more to a truck than its 0-60 and the buyers of the Toyotas and Nissans were swayed buy the low price and decent power.

          3. troverman,s for the “lowly 5.4,” by 2009 It was making more horsepower and only 20lb-ft less than Nissan’s 5.6L. Really, fairly respectable, and a long-lived engine. I had a Titan for nine years the Ford might have been the same on paper but Nissan had far less power loss to the rear reals. Like 0-60 in 9.1 for the Ford and 6.8 for the Nissan.

    14. Andre, were you able to confirm the gear ratio of the F150? Given Nissans choice, the 5.0 (probably their worst towing engine) I wouldn’t be surprised if it had 3.31 or 3.55 gears.

      This is really disappointing for Nissan.

      1. @Mike:

        Ford offers 4 engines – I’m quite sure the 5.0L will out-pull the 2.7L turbo and 3.5L naturally aspirated V6 engines. As for axle ratio, who knows what is was, but 3.73 would be ideal for the 5.0L.

    15. The 3.5 na is nearly nonexistant and the 2.7tt might actually be a better towing engine, especially at elevation. The baby eco is a towing monster despite having lower towing ratings than the 5.0 I doubt the 5.0 that Nissan used had the 3.73 since they are never found in the lots.

      1. I realize the 3.73 would be ideal…but I suspect the truck had 3.55 or 3.31, to try and further prove a point about the Nissans superiority.

        I would also assume the 2.7 EB is a better tow engine than the 5.0 at elevation.

      2. I own a 2.7 I regularly tow 8000lbs with it and a few occasions have towed closer to 10,000lbs. I know pushing it but power wise handles it fine. Now I have towed the same 8000lb load with a 2014 5L and it feels almost anemic compared to the 2.7. Same goes in comparing it to a 2011 hemi I had as well as a 2012 titan. Can’t say enough good about the 2.7 just not the rest of the truck.

    16. What a fiasco event for Nissan Product Marketing. The Ford benchmark should have been the 3.5L ecoboost and you should obviously have been allowed to drive the trucks and look into the trailers. So yes this was a laughable PR attempt from Nissan and I am glad you share a good laugh with us.

      Thanks for being transparent about how this went.

    17. You would not believe how much ridicule I took from my buddies for buying a new 2012 Nissan Titan SV. Everyone bought brand new domestic trucks including three new Ford f-150’s, two new Dodges(one 1500, one 3500), one new Chevy z71 Silverado, and one new GMC Max 1500. All domestic brands have been in the shop multiple times for warranty work including leaking trans and axle seals(Ford f-150 ecoboost and Chev Z71), faulty shocks with multiple replacements(Dodge 3500, replaced truck with a Ford!), faulty radiator(Chev Z71), multiple faulty electrical modules(Ford f-150), failure to start in cold temp(Dodge Ram 1500, had to replace truck!). Guess what! After three years, and 125,000 kms that crappy Nissan was the ONLY truck that has never had a problem!! Not to mention the Nissan was under 30K!! Who would’ve thunk it! Lol

    18. I don’t understand why people keep bringing up max tow capacities. Why would anyone tow at max capacity with a half ton? Not smart. Stay within a decent range, and you’ll be rewarded with a little more efficiency. Ok, so, maybe it’s ok to max out on short trips, but long and frequent journeys should be pulled by a more suitable truck. IMO, of course.

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