Nissan Titan vs. Nissan Titan XD: Which is the Better Buy?04/14/2020
With many full-size pickups, there’s a pretty clear delineation between the half-ton and heavy-duty version. The Ford F-150 and the Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty, for instance, all live under the same F-Series umbrella but sport different styling, different engines, and even slightly different interiors. Very little differentiation exists between the revised and 2020 Nissan Titan XD. Nissan’s half-ton Titan and three-quarter-ton Titan XD both share the same general sheetmetal, same interior, and even the same engine and transmission. So which Titan is the better buy?
What, Exactly, Is the Same?
The two Titans share a lot more than their badges, names, and general designs. Under the hood of both the 2020 Titan and 2020 Titan XD sits Nissan’s Endurance 5.6-liter V-8, which produces 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, increases of 10 horsepower and 19 lb-ft over the 2019 model. They also share transmissions, a standard 9-speed automatic. A 5.0-liter Cummins-sourced turbodiesel V-8 used to be available on the Titan XD, but it was dropped for the 2020 model year.
The Titan XD comes with a longer bed, but its interior is the same size as that of a Titan crew cab, sporting the same five-passenger seating configuration and identical head-, knee-, leg-, and shoulder-room dimensions. Both trucks also share an upgraded 9-inch Apple CarPlay-friendly infotainment system and Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 driver assistance suite with forward collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beams, and lane departure warning.
What’s the Difference Between the Nissan Titan and Titan XD?
Not much, but also a whole lot. First off, there’s the matter of size—the Titan XD, being a heavy-duty three-quarter-ton truck with a 6.5-foot bed, its wheelbase and length are longer and its suspension stands taller than the Titan. The Titan crew cab with 5.5-foot bed (an extended cab with a 6.5-foot bed is also available on the Titan) sports a 139.8-inch wheelbase and is 228.2 inches long and 79.5 inches wide (the Pro4X trim adds 1.3 inches of length and 1.2 inches of width), and height ranges from 75.1-77.2 inches depending on model. The Titan XD, which only comes in a crew cab/6.5-foot box configuration, has a 151.6.-inch wheelbase and is 243.4 inches long, 79.5 inches wide, and 78.9 inches tall (with Pro4X bodywork altering those dimensions by similar amounts).
Mechanically, there are only two differences between the two Titans. One is in their standard drivetrains; the Titan comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while the Titan XD is only available with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is a $3,200 option on the Titan. The two trucks have different final drive ratios, too; the Titan’s is 3.69:1, while the Titan XD has a shorter 4:08:1 ratio.
How Much Can the Titan Tow and Haul?
In its most capable configuration, the Titan maxes out with a payload capacity of 1,680 pounds and a towing capacity of 9,210 pounds. The Titan XD, in its most capable configuration, has a maximum payload capacity of 2,450 pounds, a hitch towing capacity of 10,880 pounds, and a gooseneck towing capacity of 11,000 pounds.
Those figures are fairly middling for their respective classes. In the half-ton segment, the Ford F-150 can outhaul and out-tow both the Titan and Titan XD, with a 3,270-pound payload capacity and 13,200-pound tow capacity. Both the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 come close to besting the Titan XD’s payload capacity (2,300 pound and 2,280 pounds for the Ram and Chevy, respectively) and do beat the Nissan truck’s towing capacity, at 11,620 and 12,200 pounds, respectively.
Which Titan Is Better to Drive?
Despite a 780-pound difference between the Titan XD and lighter Titan, they both drive pretty similarly. The Titan’s 7.3-second 0-60 mph and 15.6-second quarter mile time is a tenth of a second quicker than the Titan XD’s, and it traps at 90.9 mph, 2.6 mph faster than the XD. The Titan stops shorter than the XD in 60-0 mph braking tests, 128 feet versus 138 feet, but both trucks round the figure eight in 28.4 seconds at 0.60 g average.
Out in the world, the two trucks drive more differently than the numbers would suggest. The Titan XD’s shorter gearing, for instance, really makes it feel quicker than the Titan, even if the numbers prove it isn’t. Unsurprisingly, the standard Titan feels much nimbler than its big brother. While both trucks’ light, overly boosted steering is worthy of neither praise nor criticism, the Titan XD’s aircraft carrier-like turning circle is certainly worth the latter. At 53.8 feet (versus the standard Titan’s 48.0-foot turning circle), any turn beyond 90 degrees in anything less than a wide-open field in the XD requires multiple points and lots of patience. Both trucks ride similarly; harsh impacts are well damped by the suspension, but a fair amount of head toss and body roll is transmitted to the cabin.
How Much Does a Nissan Titan Cost?
Prices for the 2020 Nissan Titan start at $37,785 for a rear-drive King Cab S model, but our well-equipped crew cab Titan Pro4X 4×4 stickered for $58,655. Prices for the 2020 Nissan Titan XD S start at $46,175, while our Titan XD SL tester was priced at $61,790.
Which Titan Is the Better Buy?
We’ll leave the issue of whether one should consider a Titan over its domestic rivals for another story, but between the two Titans, the standard half-ton Titan is the better buy. It’s cheaper, easier to drive, and available in more configurations. And, perhaps most important, its payload and towing numbers are at least sort-of class-competitive, making it a far more competitive pickup truck than the Titan XD.
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