The Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve Was Born to Terrorize the Tony Countryside
Big, loud, lavish—and so very thirsty.
The world of pickups circa 2016 has primarily been split into two groups: lavish, three-ton displays of opulence; and work trucks. But with the Titan XD Platinum, Nissan has proven that those two groups are not mutually exclusive. With a cab like a rolling cigar lounge and a spray-lined bed with enough tie-downs to harness the Hindenburg, the Titan XD Platinum Reserve keeps both camps happy. Think of it like a “crossover” between a Range Rover and a farm truck.
I wouldn’t normally associate a truck with a Cummins diesel with any sort of temperature-controlled seats, but this Titan had heated and cooled seats up front, plus heated rear seats—a nice perk for the three 20-something friends that I drove around for the weekend. Since my friends are, how do you say, "jerks," they're usually quick to point out that they hate the backseat in whatever I'm driving. In an unexpected break from the normal script, everyone said some version of, “damn, this back is huge!” before they even climbed in.
I'd like to think that most people in the market for a pickup intend to use it for work or recreational purposes that actually require a larger vehicle. But even if that's true, it doesn’t preclude those people from enjoying a little luxury while going about their everyday activities. Rather than owning a fleet of vehicles to satisfy individual needs, the Platinum Reserve edition of the Titan hits all (well, most) of the fields. With a well insulated cabin and quilted leather stitching, the cab lets you forget you're driving a 19-foot, 10-inch-long diesel V8—but step outside and you're immediately reminded that the truck is nearly the size of a firetruck and capable of towing over 12,000 pounds. There was more chrome than I like, but that doesn’t mean this truck is afraid of getting dirty; with adjustable four-wheel drive and trailer-braking, you feel confident the truck will handle whatever situation you toss at it. (Well, maybe except cornering—it’s not so hot at that.)
Zeroing in on the “work” portion of the truck, the 79.2-inch bed comes with tracks, tie-down cleats, loops, 5th-wheel mounts, spray-on bedliner, and even bed lighting. In case that laundry list didn't paint the picture, the bed is meant for real work. In addition, the Titan will happily haul 2,106 pounds in the back, without looking like a lowrider. That's around the same size payload found in the F-150, and that’s plenty.
I was pleasantly surprised on the highway. Used to driving diesel Ford E350s, I was expecting a constant battle to stay with traffic, but instead I was greeted with a cruising machine. Thanks to a smooth, 6-speed automatic transmission, the Titan was able to hit 65 mph without the death shakes and steering column wobble you often find in larger trucks. Put it this way: I could take a sip of water without feeling like I was jeopardizing my own safety, and the safety of all those within a quarter mile of me. As far as changing lanes was concerned, I actually felt the truck had less blind spots than the majority of vehicles I've been in over the past few months. Thanks to the open cabin, large rear window, and split mirrors, I always felt aware of my surroundings. Actually, let me make one amendment: There was an approximately four-to-five-foot foot blind spot from the tip of the hood to the cement in front of you. Fortunately, Nissan noticed that, and installed a fancy “this truck is a monster” camera in the grill to account for it.
Because I spent the majority of my highway time on the Long Island Expressway and I-684, I was surrounded by plenty of boneheads. But when Joe Lane Weaver decided to jam the brakes in his white Acura TSX, the 7,480-pound truck quickly and easily grabbed hold of its disc brakes and knocked 20 mph off the cruising speed. Aside from a little chassis shuddering when hitting a bump, the truck handled the roads confidently—certainly better than you'd expect from a truck classified as somewhere between the F-150/Silverado 1500 and the F-250/Silverado 2500.
I guess at some point I have to talk about the mpg, so I’ll get that sore topic out of the way now. It’s terrible. I saw approximately 7 mpg in the city and 12.7 mpg on the highway. Honestly, typing out "7 mpg" seems like cursing, since it's basically like someone pouring diesel through a soda straw constantly, at all times, even when the truck is parked in the garage and you're watching TV, or asleep. And at times I really did try to boost my fuel economy by coasting, and babying the accelerator—but to no avail. I never even broke the 13-mpg mark. With horrific numbers like these, it's hard to justify this thing for any other reason than real work applications (and even then...). Weekend warriors need not apply.
2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve
PRICE (AS TESTED): $60,520 ($61,795)
POWERTRAIN: 5.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel, 310 hp, 555 lb-ft
PERFORMANCE: 0-60 9.6 seconds
PERSONALITY: Olympic lifter that wears $200 flannels