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Review of: 2016 Nissan Titan XD 4WD Crew Cab Platinum Reserve Gas

7.0

2016 Nissan Titan XD 4WD Crew Cab Platinum: Smaller niche than XD diesel is a gas

By G. R. Whale

Sep. 19, 2016

Powering a Titan XD with gasoline improves driving responses, load capacity and purchase price, while towing capacity and economy drop. One can foresee uses for this version—mason or builder on PEI, weekend boater that bikes to work—while accepting Nissan’s prediction the diesel will outsell it 2:1, but only by removing emotion can you choose correctly.

Pros & Cons

  • + Payload capacity
  • + Price
  • + Interior space
  • - Maneuverability
  • - Fuel economy
  • - Bland exhaust note
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  • Walkaround

    Apart from badges, power doesn’t affect styling, in this case the flagship trim festooned in chrome, and I’ll admit I prefer dark chrome wheels against pearl white than copper.

    Accessory bed boxes are not an easy reach for six-foot-three me over the bed sides so you’ve got to climb in, but their low-profile design will work better than Ram’s Rambox for bed shells or tonneau. Five rails let you secure things to any bed surface save the tailgate, and the big cleats are easy to adjust.

    A genuine matching spare wheel and tire ensure 4WD works just as well post-puncture.

    6.9Okay
  • Interior

    Only some switchgear and instruments vary from the diesel. Control layout and logic keep operation simple towing or not, there’s plenty of room front and back—which also means some controls right of map display are a reach, and stowage and comfort are hard to beat amongst “GVWR>8500” pickups.

    Materials range from plush leather for your bum to plastic lower trim easy to clean boot mud off…all grand until a messy grandkid or hound jumps in. The rear seat is comfortable in the middle despite no headrest and minor floor hump, it reconfigures more ways than any other brand and thoughtful details include seatback pockets and sub-seat bin design.

    7.2Good
  • Tech

    This is a function of trim, not engine, so you can get all-around cameras, solo trailer-light test, integrated trailer brake control and blind-spot warning. Inputs and nav are satisfactory if not class-leading, the display’s not as large as many pickups nor as intuitive as some, and CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t on the slate yet.

    Motorheads will be amused roles are reversed—no throttle in the gas engine but there is one in the diesel.

    6.1Okay
  • Driving

    Think of this as 60-80 per cent the capability of a three-quarter-ton pickup, the payoff better ride quality and cabin refinement. Although some Titans have more rated payload than some “big 3” HD pickups, those Detroit pickups offer a choice of axle ratios for bigger towing and loads, and Ram offers two gas engines.

    XD’s 5.6-litre first hit the road in a luxury ute, a refined engine with good response seemingly muted by gas-saving tuning: It feels more lively rev-matching manual downshifts than reluctantly forcing a more-power downshift, but tapping the tow/haul button helps a lot. And gas-saving tuning can do only so much with huge mass and considerable aero resistance, netting me (all unloaded) 20 L/100km in town, 13 highway, and an average of 15.5. That’s typically 3-5 L/100km less than my diesel XD experience and while a half-ton on board didn’t really change it, towing does.

    Summon all 390 horses and XD goes well for a 3,000-kg sled, part credit to the seven-speed automatic versus HD’s six-speeds. There’s muted idle tick and background purr at cruise—not the original Titan’s drone, but at moderate-to-heavy throttle the reedy tailpipe sounds out of place.

    The other big change is about 330 kg of missing mass relative the diesel, most on the front axle, so the XD gasser steers better and feels less ponderous. Steering is still high effort at maneuvering speeds and it needs lots of room, and it comes into its own with some speed. Ride is better than the diesel, the rear end just as well controlled and I’ve yet to get bobbed or pogo-sticked in either one.

    All the decibel-attenuation efforts that made the diesel not loud make this so quiet I could hear wind noise, presumably from the mirrors, seep in around 110kph, but I wouldn’t trade the mirrors for any.

    8.4Very good
  • Value

    As tools, pickups offer best value in the low-to-mid trim range; although the gas engine is $7,500 less than diesel, this one was still $71,000-plus with the bits added. If you assume—by classification or merely looking underneath—XD’s closest comparables are three-quarter-ton HD’s, the most similar are within $1,500.

    6.2Okay
  • Conclusion

    The XD gas niche is where a ton of payload and ride comfort are required, towing and commuting distances less frequent. If XD is the right truck and you don’t need 100 per cent payload (gas) or towing (diesel), the question becomes how much gas (and DEF, maintenance, etc.) can you get for $7,500 and when do kilometres reach the break-even point?

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