The Titan XD: Not Your Hunting Truck, but It Could Be


In the past six years or so, I’ve been bitten by the hunting bug. I was introduced by a father figure-type and now it’s a wildfire that rages uncontrollably deep in my bones. Even in this mid-fall day where the leaves are falling from the branches and I can see my breath in the morning, I’d rather be hunting.

Wondering how this has anything to do with the Titan XD? Well, while I could have been laying down in the field calling in Canada geese, I was driving the all-new 2017 Nissan Titan XD. And for just a few minutes, I totally forgot about my addiction to gunpowder.

Get a Load of the Nissan Titan XD

Driving a truck has been a fairly recent thing for me. Stemming from the unpleasant experience of packing a deceased deer into the back of a crossover SUV, I decided a truck would be in order. Like hunting, driving a truck gets deep in your bones. And the Titan XD,  well, it’s the perfect blend of everything.

It’s a diesel engine with the famous Cummins name. The truck is touted as a three-quarter ton, although it’s probably better categorized as a heavy half. It’s rugged and sexy, and it’s so thoroughly stuffed with the finer things in life that you may forget you’re in a truck. At least, initially.

Initial Impressions

I was handed the Nissan Intelligent Key for the Titan XD I would be driving. As I walked up to the truck, I was already in love. That rugged appearance comes from its straight lines in, my opinion. Like a set jaw on a flannel-wearing lumberjack, the squared appearance somehow dictates how tough the truck is.

I drove the Platinum Reserve, which means it’s fully decked out. Long chrome side steps run the full length between the wheel wells. Not only are they sharp in appearance but they are helpful to access the box contents. Nice touch, Nissan.

Everything about the truck looks big – the four doors of the Crew Cab, the 20-inch chrome-clad rims, the bright and equally-large headlights, and the gaping grille. And while it’s all huge, the Titan XD gets an overall proportional appearance because of it.

The Lap of Luxury

Climbing inside the driver’s seat, it takes a moment to remember where you are. The cavernous interior feels like the old-school Humvee – remember how wide it is across the interior? Yet, it’s nothing like the stark utilitarian Hummer otherwise.

The interior leather wrap is beyond beautiful. Dual-tone leather is just the start, with detailed square stitching creating a refined industrial look. Glossy wooden accents are right at home. The large 7-inch infotainment display almost looks too small, but you realize it’s the grandiose features around that create that illusion.

The First Start

After a brief pause for the glow plugs, the engine turned over and roared to life. I actually smiled once I heard it idling. It has the typical rumble you’d expect from a diesel engine and the exhaust note is spot on.

Putting the truck in gear, I drove away from the dealership parking lot. You catch a whiff of the notorious diesel smell but forget about it the moment you hear the whistle of the turbocharger. That’s the only time I smelled the diesel fumes, but absolutely not the only time the turbocharger whistled. At that moment, I fell in love.

And the Drive…

I smiled when I laid into the throttle the first time pulling out of the parking lot. For its size and weight (7,500 lb), this truck is spunky. I didn’t notice a shift and the speedo was already at 50 miles per hour, but that says more about the 6-speed Aisin transmission than anything. I’ve never driven a truck with such a well-matched engine and transmission, and I’ve driven a lot of vehicles.

It’s so responsive no matter what speed you’re traveling. A little tweak of the throttle receives instant attention, and you’re off. Under light load, the Titan XD will get up to highway speed without the bump of a transmission shift at all.

That’s what 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque get you. The only downside I noted from the powertrain was due to the torque. Turning a corner under light acceleration, the transmission shifted. Unfortunately, it was raining lightly, and the rear wheels broke loose for a second during the shift. Traction control quickly kicked in and reined in the slippage, but the excessive torque number with an empty truck could contribute to early tire wear.

During the drive, I forgot I was in a diesel truck. It’s so quiet, I could hold a Yoga class inside. The heated seat and heated steering wheel took care of that slight chill from a wet fall day. And the ride is so smooth yet firm, I was left wondering how it was all possible. Afterwards, I was informed it was due to hydraulic body-to-frame mounts.


After enjoying a good cruise to the highway and dawdling around the city streets a bit, I grabbed a coffee at the Starbucks drive-thru. Opening the window in the closed-in drive-thru lane reminded me I was in a diesel truck with its lopping, loud idle. When I pulled up to the window, the front sensors picked up the post I was close to, setting off a cacophony inside the truck. My immediate thought was that it would be really annoying for any length of time, but the driver’s instruments told me I could press “Enter” on the steering wheel to stop the sound. Smart feature to have.

Overall Thoughts

The Nissan Titan XD is truly remarkable. Its towing capacity is 12,000 lb and there’s an emphasis on that. In the floor of the box, Nissan has integrated gooseneck connections. An innovative option is the Remote Trailer Light Check, initiating a trailer light sequence with the key fob so you don’t need a second person to help check your lights. As you’d expect, a trailer brake controller is integrated.

In the bed, you can get the optional Titan Storage Box setup. They are durable plastic locking boxes against the wheel wells, turning it into usable weatherproof storage space. There are LED lights under the bed rails, but those get blocked with the Titan boxes.

I’m head over heels for the Nissan Titan XD. The problem is that it’s not a hunting truck. It could be, but I don’t know anyone who will take this luxury truck through the brush or down rutted logging roads. While supremely capable, it’s more likely to be a mobile office or a ranch truck for hauling thoroughbred horses. And with a price tag around the $62,000 mark, it’s the big-name Texas ranchers who can afford it.