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.
Dave on March 13, 2020:
Just purchased a new 2019 Nissan Titan Pro 4X diesel, I've put 1000 miles on it and so far nothing has gone wrong. I know its still brand new but I'm worried now that I purchased an unreliable truck. Time will tell but I can't afford to get stranded. The dealer made me a great deal, $61,061.00, retail down to $48,900.00, great deal but doesn't matter if it isn't dependable. Most all the reviews I've read didn't favor well, some praise the truck others recommend don't buy one. The only complaint I have so far is the fuel millage isn't good, it compares to the Toyota Tundra at 14 mpg combined. The Nissan service department said it needs to break in and I would see a noticeable improvement for about 8000, miles, just 7000 to go. I think before things get dicy I will trade it in about 6 months. The one great thing about this vehicle is it has a 5 year 100,000, miles bumper to bumper warranty. I was looking at installing some performance enhancements and one of those Phoenix 12.1 inch radio screens, but now I think I'll just drive it gingerly and get rid of it. Everything I've got is crossed and I hope I can get rid of it without to much of a loss. Wishful thinking I know. I think I'll go back to Subaru.
Will on July 27, 2019:
I own the 2017 titan turbo xd diesel 5.0 diesel engine and its in the shop because every time I make a turn it sounds like the front end is going to fall off .its a 1500 4 wheel drive and i feel I got fucked ive owned dodge trucks and feel like they were much better stronger and faster really don't get why people are raving about the Nissan
josh on July 08, 2019:
Had my Titan for 1.5 years and in the shop more times then I can count I'm on my second set of turbos and third set of full exhaust replacement horrible transmission shift and won't even use the stupid def needed for the exhaust had the EGR cooler replaced and gaskets along with the cab always filling with exhaust fumes horrible truck and horrible service do not buy this vehicle you will regret it.
Sam Sherrell on June 26, 2019:
I have had my Titan 2.5 years now and it’s been in and out of the shop two many time for the same engine trouble that no on seem to know how to fix it.
Want to trade mine in as soon as possible as nissan doesnt seem to care if they sold me a lemon
Mark on March 04, 2019:
I purchased my 2017 Nissan Titan XD used with on 12000 miles on it for a great price. The only issue I’ve had is Nissan changed out the wiring harnesses upgrade. No other issues. It performs great and rides As smooth as my wife’s GMC SUV. Great performance and great looking I would buy another but I think with the diesel it will last me a long time.
Michael on February 13, 2019:
I disagree with the Authors citing 14 MPG. real world hand calculated mine is between 16 and 18 depending on the amount of highway driving. Fuelly dot com will confirm this. It seems that the weight of this truck and the gear ratio is really what hold it down. Still averaging about 1 mpg better than the big three. Considering mine was the cost of a New Tundra in 2017 I feel like it was a very good Value. ride and interior refinement are better than the domestic. As far as the transmission isconcerned, That’s what tips the scales in favor of the Titan. Sure it isn’t a velvet smooth shift but that’s what separates the men from the boys when it comes to longevity and dependability. I drove just about every make and model before buying mine and I would not trade the Titan for for any 1/2 ton pickup on the market today. Sure you can spend more on a bigger truck if you need it, however most of us do not need 1000 ft lbs of torque to get the job done. This is a well rounded option with real world affordability and driveabiliy. My wife can drive it and she actually prefers it over her Yukon for it’s sure and stable ride on the interstate.
Daniel on December 11, 2018:
First of all a lbz with less than 100k miles will cost $35-40k. Would love to know where your buying trucks from!
And no where are these trucks priced the same as the 3 big diesels. Whoever reads this article and thought that is crazy. I traded a 2017 Silverado 1\2 ton in for my Titan XD diesel and price was just about the same. A diesel Silverado was going for 10k more. I traded my Silverado in because of transmission issues that GM said was normal( that's another story). But so far my Titan has been a pleasure.
And the Titan numbers are just that numbers! Fact is it's capable of more, lots more. Let's be real people.
Don't be so quick to judge go drive one and quit looking at numbers.
And one last thing, as with all things new in vehicles the first year is always buggy until things get ironed out wait a year. Doesn't matter the manufacturer ether!
Ryan on September 30, 2018:
What is really intersting to look at is, what are you getting with this truck over lets say a 2007 chevy LBZ duramax? For 20-30K you can get a diesel with 360HP and 660 torque, 6 speed Allison trans and under 100K miles. You can pay 25K for this chevy or 56K for this Titan XD. Surely the Titan has some new tech, but is it worth an extra 30K for a stock backup camera and warranty, with an inferior engine?
Dan V on August 22, 2018:
I agree completely. Have had numerous problems with my XD. Bought brand new and have had it in the shop 6 times alread, has left me stranded once across the state, Nissan has little to no help for customers once they've bought, and they have done nothing to fix the amount of wasted time I've had with dealing with a brand new truck.
Thank you for taking the time to write this and elloquently state what the other XD owners are dealing with.
RPT80 on July 30, 2018:
Thanks for the opinion and being honest. I also agree.