2016 Nissan Titan XD pickup tows the fight to Detroit — diesel and all

·Editor at Large

With its debut over a decade ago and little changes within that time frame, the Nissan Titan pickup has gone stale. A new one was expected a few years back, but after a planned partnership with Chrysler fell through due to certain bankruptcy, those plans were put on hold. Until now.

The all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD, debuting today at the Detroit auto show, looks to steal marketshare from the mighty American brands — and a turbo diesel Cummins V-8 hopes to fill a new niche.

Nissan is well aware that it won't come close to matching sales numbers of Detroit's big three, but it does expect the new Titan to reach higher peaks. And the Japanese automaker is quick to point out that its new truck is built for Americans, by Americans, in America.

The 310 hp, 5.0-liter Cummins turbo diesel will produce 555 lb.-ft. of torque, tow more than 12,000 lbs. and has a payload of 2,000 lbs. And yet according to Nissan, it should net around a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to a gasoline-powered V-8. Nissan says it plugs the gap between full-size pickups and heavy duty trucks, offering buyers more versatility.

2016 Nissan Titan XD: Click for more images
2016 Nissan Titan XD: Click for more images

And it will need to, as truck buyers are incredibly brand loyal. Ram put a diesel option in its 1500, and to date take rates have only been about 10 percent — due to the higher purchase price and more costly fuel. But that engine isn't as potent as Nissan's, so the Japanese automaker hopes to improve significantly on that figure. A gasoline V-8 and V-6 will also be offered, with specifications for said engines being released at a later date, along with the new Titan XD's price.

With a current starting price of $29,400, Nissan sold little over 12,000 Titans in December, marking a 20 percent decrease from Dec. 2013. One thing's for certain, the arrival of the new Titan XD will boost that figure, but whether it will be enough to be considered a serious player by America's truckers is yet to be seen.







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