AUTOS

Detroit Auto Show: Nissan goes big with all-new Titan XD truck

Nissan would like to remind everyone that yes, it still builds full-size trucks.

The Japanese automaker used the very American Detroit Auto Show on Monday to unveil the all-new Titan XD truck. On sale towards the end of 2015, it’s the first of several second-generation Titan trucks Nissan is bringing to market in the next 18 months.

Nissan has been playing in the full-size truck world since 2003, but you wouldn’t know it based on recent sales. Over the past three years, it’s averaged around 16,600 sales a year -- about the same number of F-Series trucks Ford has sold every week and a half.

Nissan hopes to use the Titan XD to get back on track, and tap into some of the massive profits that fullsize truck brands reap in for automakers. It’s a unique model with a few tricks up its sleeve in the difficult quest to grab a few customers from the industry stalwarts from Ford, Chevy, and Ram.

“The full-size truck market is the toughest market to crank in the entire industry,” Fred Diaz, senior vice president of marketing, said ahead of the Titan’s debut. “This new Titan XD is designed to offer buyer something others don’t.”

The XD’s key trick is its size. Nissan sees daylight between the normal half-ton trucks (Ford F-150, Ram 1500) and heavy duty models, and says there are around 150,000 buyers a year who switch back and forth between the two segments.

The XD hopes to fill that gap. It promises the towing and payload of a heavy duty truck but the efficiency and lower cost of a half-ton model. It comes with a an all-new V-8 turbodiesel built by renowned engine manufacturer Cummins. The 5.0-liter engine will make around 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, and will be paired with a heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission.

Compared to the regular Titan, the XD will have a beefier chassis with a longer wheelbase, and will ride about 1.5 inches higher. The truck will also come with a spray-in bedliner, a removeable, in-bed storage system, a 360-degree camera for backing up to a trailer, and a trailer light check system that cycles through a trailer’s lights

In a nod to the exploding luxury truck market, Nissan will add the Platinum Reserve model to the Titan range. Loaded with features like quilted leather seats that are heated and cooled, a touchscreen navigation system, and a Rockford Fosgate sound system, this model will take on other high-zoot trucks in the $50,000 range like Ford’s King Ranch, Chevy’s Silverado High Country, and Toyota’s Tundra 1794 edition.

Later this year, Nissan will unveil the regular Titan half-ton model. Similarly styled as the XD, the Titan will have a 5.6-liter, direct-injected V-8 that makes around 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It will be paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A cheaper V-6 model -- primarily for commercial use -- will also be available.

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