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Auto review: 2019 Nissan Titan XD is suited for the highway or the trail

The new generation of the pickup offers upgraded infotainment and beefy construction. 

The 2019 Nissan Titan offers power and utility

The 2019 Nissan Titan offers power and utility in a fun-to-drive package. Photo Credit: Nissan/Nissan

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.

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 interior 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.

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.

2019 Nissan Titan XD

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

Price as tested: $62,940, including freight and options

Engine: 5.0-liter Cummins turbocharged diesel V-8

Transmission: Six-speed Aisin automatic

Power/torque: 310 hp; 555 foot-pounds

Trailer-towing capacity: 11,960 pounds

EPA fuel economy: Not available – vehicle is exempt.

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

Bottom line: Versatile hauler

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