First Drive: 2016 Nissan Titan XD

– Nashville, Tennessee

Other than the race to build the world’s fastest performance car, there isn’t a more secretive, competitive, and cutthroat segment of the automotive market than the pursuit of the perfect pickup truck. You can’t afford to get it wrong with a fullsize pickup, especially if you’re not Chevrolet or Ford, which have essentially dominated the market since the category was created.

That’s why it’s impressive that other manufacturers have deigned to set foot in the game and claw for market share, and even more so that some have succeeded. The spirit of competition resulted in the original light-duty pickup trucks from Toyota and Nissan. Generations later, the challenger brands’ products are stronger than ever, but still struggling to make a name for themselves. Toyota surprised with a Tundra that elevated the status quo, and Honda innovated with the original Ridgeline – soon to be followed up – but the greatest success story has arguably been Nissan, which established a strong foundation on the Titan name over a decade ago, and has just launched the second generation of the truck.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

 

Both models will be dubbed “XD,” despite major differences under the hood.

We traveled to Nissan’s American backyard in Nashville to have a first look at the second member of the Titan XD family – not the diesel model we already know, but instead the one powered by a gasoline-fed V8. Both models will be dubbed “XD,” despite major differences under the hood, just as other pickup ...