G. Chambers Williams

Beefy 2019 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X designed for the highway or the trail

The first version of the new generation of Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup arrived for 2016, much bigger and bolder than its predecessor – and sporting a whopper of a Cummins diesel engine, a first for the Titan.

A few months later, a smaller, lighter version of the new Titan arrived, with a choice of V-6 or V-8 gasoline engines, using a different chassis that’s 14.7 inches shorter than that of the XD. Both the XD and the smaller Titan half-ton (1500) models come in three configurations: Single Cab, King Cab and Crew Cab.

Now for 2019, the beefy XD – the only heavy-duty pickup offered by a non-Detroit automaker -- has a starting price of $32,890 (plus $1,395 freight) for the base Single Cab model with rear-wheel drive and a 5.6-liter gasoline V-8 engine, or $38,520 for the same model with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel.

King Cab models start at $34,890 with the gas V-8 or $41,540 with the diesel, while Crew Cab versions begin at $38,170 with the gas engine or $43,510 with the diesel. Four-wheel drive is available at all levels, but is standard on the Pro-4X off-road version, which we tested for this report. The Pro-4X is available in King and Crew cab only.

The Pro-4X line begins at $47,110 for the King Cab gasoline model or $52,249 with the diesel, while Crew Cab gasoline models start at $49,390 and diesels at $54,730.

The 2019 Titan XD tops out at $65,310 for the fanciest and best-equipped version, the Platinum four-wheel drive with the diesel.

Platinum models come with lots of bling, including a premium leather interior with contrast stitching; and exterior chrome to give it an upscale look similar to the Ford F-series King Ranch, Chevrolet Silverado High Country and GMC Sierra Denali models.

New for 2019 in the XD is a seven-inch touch-screen audio/IT display with NissanConnect, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now standard on all models, Nissan says. Payload has been increased to a maximum of 2,990 pounds

Also new is a Fender Premium Audio System, which is included on Crew Cab SL and Platinum trim levels and optional on the Pro-4X Crew Cab and King Cab. The system has a 485-watt, nine-channel amplifier, and 12 speakers. It was included on our tester as part of the Pro-4X Utility Package ($1,445), which also brought the Utili-track cargo tiedown system, front and rear sonar parking aids, tailgate-area lighting, power-sliding rear window with defroster, electronic-locking tailgate, rear utility bed step, and under-rail LED cargo-bed lighting.

Other XD changes for 2019 include the Rear Door Alert system, which reminds drivers to check the back seat after the vehicle is parked, now standard on all King Cab and Crew Cab models; an additional USB media port (two total); two illuminated USB-A charge ports added to Pro-4X, SL and Platinum grades; a new body-color outer grille with gloss metallic black inner trim for the SV model (replaces the previous chrome grille trim) and an optional gooseneck trailer hitch system ($280, included on our tester).

There is also a larger DEF tank for the diesel engine, along with two new exterior paint colors: Midnight Pine Metallic (included on our tester) and Moab Sunset Metallic. Our tester also had the Monochrome Paint Package (no extra charge), which added body-color bumpers and over-fenders. Our vehicle’s interior was black.

As for the diesel engine, it’s a Cummins 5.0-liter turbocharged V-8, which packs 310 horsepower and a quite impressive 555 foot-pounds of torque. That gives the Titan XD a maximum trailer-towing weight of 12,200 pounds with rear-wheel drive, or 11,170 pounds with the four-wheel drive of our Pro-4X tester.

The XD is 18.2 inches longer than the previous-generation Titan Crew Cab, and about 1,800 pounds heavier.

Nissan says the XD is somewhere between the standard light-duty (half-ton) pickup class – such as the Silverado 1500 and F-150 – and the heavy-duty models (three-quarter-ton) such as the F-250/350, Ram 2500/3500 and Silverado 2500.

But Nissan believes that having two sizes of big pickups, even if the bigger one isn’t quite in the HD class, will allow it to reach 85 percent of the pickup consumer market. Toyota does not yet have such a two-model strategy for its full-size Tundra.

Driving this behemoth around felt like I was in one of the Silverado or F-series heavy duty trucks. Ram’s 1500 has been bigger than the others in the light-duty segment for some time, so the Titan XD feels more like a Ram 1500 than it does a Silverado 1500 or F-150.

As a longtime owner of the previous-generation Titan four-wheel-drive Crew Cab model, I can tell you this truck is nothing like the first generation, which was one of my favorite personal pickups ever, especially for the off-road exploring that has long been my passion.

It has shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, Hill Start and Hill Descent assist, an electronic locking rear differential, and 18-inch alloy wheels with dark paint finish. A full-size spare tire is included – a must for trail driving.

The Titan XD should please consumers who crave beefy pickups, and the 5.0-liter Cummins engine will satisfy most everyone’s power needs. Of course, keep in mind that this is still not an F-series Super Duty, Ram HD or Silverado HD, so it doesn’t have quite the trailer-towing capabilities some of those three-quarter-ton trucks can offer with their diesels.

Negotiating tight shopping center parking lots and downtown parking spaces is more challenging in the XD than in the previous-generation Titan, and the turning radius is a bit wider.

But other than having to negotiate tight parking spots because of its larger size, this truck was fun to drive, and quite powerful. It can get up to speed and beyond very quickly.

The engine and the six-speed Aisin automatic transmission work smoothly together for the most part, but there were some shifts that seemed slightly out of sync. And sometimes the diesel engine got a bit noisy inside the cab – especially when the transmission seemed to hold a bit too long in a lower gear during hard acceleration. Most people won’t care about that noise, but my front-seat passenger occasionally found it annoying.

The interior of this truck is designed to feel more like that of a luxury sedan, with very comfortable bucket seats up front, and a quite roomy rear bench seat that genuinely gave three adults plenty of leg, knee and headroom. The roof is so high that you can even wear a cowboy hat while you’re driving the Titan XD, so that’s certainly a plus in Texas.

Our tester came with the Pro-4X Convenience Package ($3.545), which added leather seats with contrast stitching and Pro-4X embroidery; a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat (to go with the standard eight-way power driver’s seat); heated front and rear seats; power/heated tilt/telescopic leather steering wheel with contrast stitching; memory for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering-wheel position; a compass on the navigation display; remote engine start; auto-dimming outside mirrors with (annoying) automatic reverse tilt-down; advanced NissanConnect services; and auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal garage/gate opener.

A Premium Package ($1,545), on our Titan XD, brought ventilated driver and passenger seats, Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor, and the Titan cargo box.

Front and rear are Nissan’s NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats, designed to be more ergonomic than standard seats, allowing for a comfortable ride, especially on long trips.

The large center console can serve as a mobile workstation. With the new Titan design, the shifter was moved to the steering column to free up storage space in the console, which includes two decent cupholders.

We had both a rearview camera and the Around View monitor showing up in the large color dash screen that also served the navigation and audio systems. With a truck this size, the Around View monitor is a great help when backing up in a crowded parking lot or while trying to line the vehicle up with a trailer.

No EPA fuel-economy estimates are available for the Titan XD, as it’s exempt from the rules because of its size. But we averaged just under 18 mpg during our weeklong test, which was about two-thirds highway driving.

Total sticker price for our test vehicle was $62,590, including freight and options.

The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at chambers@star-telegram.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.

2019 Nissan Titan XD Crew Cab Pro-4X Diesel

The package: Five-passenger, four-door, four-wheel-drive, Cummins V-8 turbo-diesel powered, heavy-duty pickup truck.

Highlights: This is Nissan’s full-size pickup with special off-road features, designed to compete with Ford F-series Super Duty and GM’s heavy-duty diesel-powered large trucks. It comes with a powerful Cummins V-8 diesel engine, King or Crew cab body with four doors, and a long list of standard or optional equipment.

Negatives: Much bulkier than the light-duty Titan that it replaced; somewhat noisy diesel engine, particularly during hard acceleration.

Engine: 5.0-liter Cummins turbocharged diesel V-8.

Transmission: Six-speed Aisin automatic.

Power/torque: 310 HP./555 foot-pounds.

Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.

Length: 243.6 inches.

Curb weight: 7,323 pounds.

Electronic stability control: Standard.

Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side-curtain both rows.

Trailer-towing capacity: 11,960 pounds.

EPA fuel economy: Not available – vehicle is exempt.

Fuel capacity/type: 26.0 gallons/ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Base price: $54,730, plus $1,395 freight.

Price as tested: $62,940, including freight and options (2019 Titan XD Pro-4X Diesel Crew Cab).

Major competitors: Chevrolet 2500, GMC Sierra 2500, Ram 2500HD, Ford F-250.

On the Road rating: 9.2 (of a possible 10).

Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.

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