Wayne Fitzgerald loves to fix, drive, and talk about vehicles, especially heavy-duty pickup trucks.
The Nissan Titan XD Diesel is a long-awaited arrival for the pickup truck world. No, its not the first half-ton pickup to have a diesel. No, its not the first truck to have a Cummins engine. The Nissan Titan XD is unique because it's a foreign truck with a domestic engine. And not just any engine, an engine made by an American icon. Yes, I know the XD was made in Mississippi, but it is still made by a foreign car manufacturer. That being said, the XD is breaking new ground in the pickup truck world. I think the XD is a great truck to look at. It seems modern and mean, and provides the modern amenities that a 2017 pickup should provide. The real question is: does it stack up against the competition? Does it live up to the hype? Does is it perform like we hoped it would?
When you think of Cummins diesel engines, what do you think of? I think of dependability, ruggedness, torque, fuel efficiency, and maybe the sound. That is exactly what Nissan wanted us to think when they put a Cummins engine in their truck. They want us to ascribe all that connotation with their brand. It is really a good marketing plan and seems to be working. But before I get carried away, we need to talk about the numbers. What kind of specs does this truck display? The 5.0L Cummins puts out 310 HP and 555lb/ft of torque. That is almost exactly what the 24 valve 5.9L Cummins put out in 2004. Those numbers aren't too bad when you consider the Ram Eco diesel cranks out 240 HP and 420 lb/ft of torque. But the Eco diesel wasn't really designed to be a towing giant like the Cummins was. A better comparison would be Ford. The Ford Ecoboost leads the class in HP and puts out 375 HP and 470 lb/ft of torque. But the true test is in the truck's ability to tow. The Titan XD beats out its toughest competitor in towing capacity by 1,430 lbs. At this point, the XD is definitely the truck to buy.
Performance is not everything in the pickup truck world. People also want to stop at the fuel station as little as possible. Cummins historically has been known for good fuel economy. Does the 5.0L keep up with the high standard put in place by its predecessors? Given its displacement and its technology, you would think it would be steps above other diesel engines. But in all reality, it is steps below. The internet reference site called Fuelly claims that the 2017 Titan XD gets an average of 14.5 mpg. That's not terrible for an HD truck but for 1500 that is terrible given the fact that Its diesel competitor, the Ram EcoDiesel is sipping only 22 mpg. The XD is in the same price range as HD trucks and the same mpg range as HD trucks but drastically underperforms when up against HD trucks. Is this a problem? I believe it most certainly is.
For me the most important topic to discuss is the performance, but I know there are a lot of people who think differently than me. I want to know what is under the hood while others want to know what the hood looks like. Since I am not writing this article for myself, let's discuss what the Titan XD looks like. The XD looks as it should. It has a bold, aggressive, and maybe even a manly appearance. The cab is spacious and comfortable. I am not a small man and I fit very well in the back seat with the front seat pushed all the way back. Leather is offered but is sometimes hard to find at the dealer. Overall, the truck is pleasing to the eye and comfortable to the touch.
I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Titan XD Cummins at a local dealer. As I drove the XD I specifically had the HD market in mind when forming my opinion. I had been going to different dealers test driving the different HD trucks and wanted to compare the XD to the group. Given the fuel economy and the price of the XD, I feel that this comparison is warranted. My first impression was that the XD was decently short compared to HD trucks. I didn't have the same feeling of owning the road. Personally, I love that feeling. As we drove along I felt as if I was in an SUV and not a truck. The interior pointed that direction as well as the ride quality and even the handling. I was hoping for more pep out of the Cummins engine but it just wasn't there. I love that Nissan put an Aisin transmission in the XD, but I didn't like how it shifted. The XD is a great vehicle to drive but it didn't feel enough like a truck.
At this point, we really need to answer the question that was raised at the begging of the article. Should you buy the 2017 Titan XD Diesel? My simple answer to that question is no. I don't think that it met up with the expectations, and I don't think it's a good buy. That being said, I do realize that a good bit of what I have said is just based on opinion. There are plenty who have bought the XD and love it. I am just not going to be one of those people.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.