Pickups are enjoying a strong presence in the US market, but that means competition is fierce. Practical trucks can cover uses from kid-carrier to lux-mobile, and the traditional heavyweights from Ford and GM could tow a small planet. Sadly, this leaves the 2018 Nissan Titan XD without much terrain to claim. It has its virtues, but it’s overkill for a light-duty pickup and can’t keep up with the big boys. In an industry this competitive, compromise can be a killer.

Best Value

The 2018 Nissan Titan XD’s best attribute is it offers a healthy feature set (and a supremely good warranty) at good value. For most buyers, this means grabbing a crew cab with its usable second row and 6.5-foot bed. A payload capacity over 2,000 pounds should be plenty for most.

Speaking of capacities, the available Cummins diesel engine improves towing less than you’d think. The aging but capable gas V8 is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. Upgrading to the SV trim adds front tow hooks and a better audio system, and it unlocks useful packages. Buyers who need the practicality might consider the bed-focused Utility Package.

Our Titan XD is far from the cheapest in the lineup, but for a luxurious ride and the XD’s capability, it’s not a bad value.

  • Model: 2018 Nissan Titan XD Crew Cab SV
  • Engine: 5.6-liter V8
  • Output: 390 hp / 394 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 15 City / 21 Hwy
  • Options: Convenience Package ($2,695, automatic headlights, 20-inch rims, running boards, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, navigation, seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, mobile apps, voice recognition, XM radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, console power outlets, power back window)
  • Base Price: $45,675 (including the $1,295 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $48,370

Performance

Nissan Titan XD

Both of the Titan XD’s engines are competent, offering up to 12,640 pounds of towing capacity. The Cummins diesel boosts torque to 555 pound-feet. A reinforced chassis helps durability, and the steering is mostly well-sorted.

But, overall, the Titan XD is a mid-pack performer. The transmissions are down a speed or two on rivals, and they can be hesitant to shift. The torque on the diesel doesn’t hold a candle to the HD engines from American companies. And don’t expect nimble turns or high efficiency – the Titan XD wants to be a heavyweight, and it handles (and drinks) like one too.

Style

The Titan XD’s exterior is imposing but restrained, with an extra-tall grille and streamlined, sharp lines. Rims run from 17 inches all the way up to 20, and 2018’s new Midnight Appearance package adds fresh exterior accents (in black, of course). Not that the Titan XD can be called stealthy, at 20 feet and over 5,000 pounds. The ride is another high point – compared to many rivals, the Titan XD is smooth and comfortable. Then there’s the warranty of five years or 100,000 miles, bumper to bumper.

The interior can range from spartan to deluxe, but Nissan’s interiors aren’t as pleasant as they could be. The center console is clunky in all trims, as is the instrument display. Even with the touchscreen, the infotainment system lags behind modern rivals. None of these are fatal flaws, but with the Titan’s competition, refinement counts.

The Best and Worst Things

The engine and warranty make a tempting combination, but it’s hard to find any superlatives to bestow on the Titan XD. It’s solid enough, but it’s filling an awfully small niche.

Right For? Wrong For?

Nissan Titan XD

The Titan XD would be excellent for that rare buyer who does need just a bit more than mid-weight trucks can offer. Especially with a nifty feature set, the XD will please by offering decent value.

But on either side of that fine line lie the majority of pickup buyers, either utilitarian power-users or everyday citizens. The former would be better served by a tried-and-true heavy-duty truck, and the latter will be better off in a more versatile light- or medium-duty.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Nissan Titan XD tries valiantly to fill a gap, but disappears into it instead. It’s too unwieldy to match lighter trucks but not burly enough to out-gun the establishment. A solid feature set and warranty help, but aren't enough to overcome flaws like a clunky transmission and dated systems. In the end, it’s a miss.