Search This Blog

February 16, 2016

Enter the Titans

Normally, vehicle manufacturers like to share components or platforms across as many models as possible. But at the launch of the Nissan Titan “half ton” Rich Miller, Nissan's director of product planning for trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles said “The Titan and Titan XD do not share any common chassis components. Even the lug nuts are different."

The Titan XD (extreme duty) is a rough, tough full-size pickup with the Cummins ISV 5.0. This is the engine Cummins debuted in October 2013 with a promise it would appear in the Titan, and so it has, though, with a new name and power ratings.

In the XD, it’s the turbo diesel rated at 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of peak torque. As such, it falls between the 3.0 V6 diesel that’s proving very popular in the Ram 1500 for its economy and the bigger diesels that grace the full-size pickups, with diesels pushing close to 900 lb-ft of torque and staggering gross combination weights of up to 40,000 pounds.

But there is some commonality between the XD and lesser Titans: they use the same cab. So all promise to have plenty of room for five adults and the level of appointment that full-size trucks now sport.

The half-ton Titans, which will be available this summer, are sort of “white space” trucks that are a higher capacity than the competitive 1500s and mid-sized trucks but not as brutal as the full-size and dually models with their extreme towing capacity.

According to Nissan, pickup truck buyers regularly trade down to a lighter truck from a more robust model. At the same time about an equal number trade up. What the Titan is aiming at is being right sized to capture and keep these transient truck owners.

The regular Titan will have the Nissan’s 5.6-liter DOHC Endurance gasoline V8 but with new technology and new ratings of 390 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Nissan has announced a V6 will also be available but offers no details yet.

Today’s Titan offers a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds for King Cab and 9,400 pounds for Crew Cab – plenty for a camper and enough for a moderate-sized trailerable boat.

It’s likely that the underpinnings of the regular Titan will be the platform for whatever Nissan does with Armada. (I’ve always wondered why Nissan chose to name these two vehicles after a failed Spanish sea attack on Britain and the ship Titan(ic) that sank on its maiden voyage. Or maybe the truck was named after the Titans that were trounced by the Olympians and cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus.)

So that begs the question: What will the company do with the XD chassis to amortize the development cost over a broader range of vehicles. If I were a betting man, I’d expect to see some commonality of components between the XD and the big NV van.

Just a thought.