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Cummins and Goins: 2019 Nissan Titan XD Review

If you want a Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD, you’d better act fast. Bad news first: Nissan is dropping the powerful diesel engine from the truck’s lineup when the Titan and Titan XD are redesigned for the 2020 model year. The good news is that the Titan XD will survive, but it will only offer the same gas engine as the standard Titan. The redesign isn’t expected until the end of the year, so if you’re looking for a tough truck with lots of torque, you can still get this engine in the 2019 Nissan Titan XD. Before the diesel Titan XD goes away, though, we got to take one last look at the truck for this weeklong test drive review with the off-road-ready Pro-4X trim level.

2019 Nissan Titan
2019 Nissan Titan XD Exterior

Nothing has changed in the overall design of the 2019 Nissan Titan XD, but the 2019 model year does bring some new colors to the available palette including this truck’s Midnight Pine Metallic. As its name would suggest, this color is an extremely dark shade of green that actually looks black in most light, but when it’s hit by direct sunlight, the paint has a sparkly green shine to it. It’s such an interesting color that several people inquired as to whether it was green or black and commented on the overall look. For such a dark, understated hue, it sure got a lot of attention.

Other than the new color, it’s business as usual for the Titan XD with its big, bold attitude. Although the Titan XD is offered with three cab configurations and two bed lengths, the PRO-4X trim is only available in Crew Cab form with the 6.5-foot bed. This off-road package adds a monochromatic paint job, a front skid plate, fender flares and 18-inch wheels with a dark finish and meaty Continental Grabber tires. In addition to the Pro-4X’s standard spray-in bedliner, this tester was also equipped with the optional ($1,445) Pro-4X Utility Package added more bed features such as Nissan’s Utili-track Channel System with four adjustable tie down cleats, a 120-volt outlet, LED under rail lighting, electronic locking tailgate and a rear bumper step; another $1,545 for the Premium Package brings some added luxury features inside as well as the lockable Titan boxes in the cargo bed.

2019 Nissan Titan

2019 Nissan Titan XD Interior

Since full-size trucks are built primarily for work, the ergonomics of the Titan XD’s cabin is designed for quick and easy use with big buttons and knobs to control major functions, but the Pro-4X adds some classy touches like the soft-touch upper dash pad, metallic cabin trim and stitched accents on the seats and steering wheel. This truck’s interior was upgraded with the $3,545 Pro-4X Convenience Package that added black leather seats with embroidered Pro-4X logo, heated front and rear (outboard) seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, NissanConnect Services and a remote engine starter, while the aforementioned Premium Package (a $1,545 option) brought Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor and ventilated front seats. Even with this optional equipment, the Titan XD Pro-4X isn’t as upscale as the range-topping Platinum Reserve trim level, but it still delivers a luxurious and practical interior with a combination of excellent cabin materials and an ergonomic layout. The only downside of the Titan’s cabin is the infotainment system, which looks and feels archaic next to the newer rivals especially from Ram Trucks.

With the exception of the front bench seat that comes standard on the S and SV trims, all other 2019 Nissan Titan XD trim levels get front bucket seats and a large center console. This five-passenger seating arrangement offers up plenty of room for occupants with plenty of secure, lockable storage space thanks to the compartments under the rear seats and the Titan Box option in the cargo bed; if bulkier items need to be hauled, the seats can fold out of the way to open up a flat-load floor. Bottom line, this truck is ready for work or play.

2019 Nissan Titan

2019 Nissan Titan XD Powertrain

Since our last seat time with the diesel-powered Titan XD, all the domestic automakers have introduced diesel engines for their half-ton trucks, but none come anywhere close to the power of the 2019 Nissan Titan XD’s optional 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 Turbo Diesel. This engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, which outperforms the smaller diesels from Ram (3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, 260 hp/480 lb-ft), General Motors (3.0L Duramax inline-six, 277 hp/460 lb-ft) and Ford (3.0L PowerStroke V-6, 250 hp/440 lb-ft). This engine is smooth, powerful and quiet, and it’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which in this diesel 4×4 configuration returned 16.8 mpg (according to the trip computer) after a week of mixed driving; trucks like the Titan XD are not rated by the EPA for fuel economy, so there are no official estimates.

Similar to GM’s Z71 package and Ford’s FX4, the Titan PRO-4X has been tuned for the trails without resulting in an overly harsh on-road dynamic. The package upgrades include Bilstein shocks, electronic locking rear differential, hill descent control, meaty all-terrain tires and skid plates for the fuel tank, oil pan and transfer case; Nissan even left off the running boards for added ground clearance.

2019 Nissan Titan

2019 Nissan Titan XD Safety

Even though the standard Titan received a four-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2019 Nissan Titan XD has not been tested yet. All Titan XD models come with six airbags including roof-mounted side curtain airbags, while the models with a back seat (King Cab and Crew Cab) get the Rear Door Alert system – an all-new feature that reminds the driver to check for kids in the back seat before getting out. This warning will hopefully prevent children from accidentally being left in cars; according to NHTSA, 53 kids died from heatstroke in 2018 as a result of being left unattended in a car.

2019 Nissan Titan

2019 Nissan Titan XD Overall

Whatever the reason buyers haven’t flocked to the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD, it could just come down to the fact that truck buyers are extremely brand loyal. This ultra-competitive segment is hotter than ever, but apparently 555 lb-ft of torque wasn’t enough to lure buyers away from other full-size trucks. It’s a shame, though, because the Titan XD – with or without the Cummins engine – is just as capable of being a work truck as it is a luxury truck for hauling a camper with a towing capacity rated at 11,960 pound in this Crew Cab 4×4 configuration. While this engine is going away, the 2020 Nissan Titan XD will stick around with gasoline power.

Like its towing capacity would suggest, the Titan XD was designed to be a step up from a half-ton but not quite a three-quarter ton, and the truck is priced accordingly. In base form, the 2019 Titan XD is priced starting at $32,990**, which is several thousand dollars less than a Silverado HD, and the Cummins engine option is far cheaper than traditional heavy-duty trucks at around $5,000. This means that a diesel Titan XD is attainable for under $40,000. In this Pro-4X configuration loaded up with all the options, you’re looking at an as-tested price of $62,590.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Nissan dealership and test drive the 2019 Nissan Titan XD today!

* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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