CANTON, Miss. -- At a really big automobile factory, one might logically expect to find some really big vehicles rolling off the assembly line -- and that's certainly the case at Nissan's $1.43 billion Canton manufacturing plant, which stretches for a mile along I-55 at Canton, Miss.
A parking lot at the end of the assembly line holds a bumper-to-bumper collection of husky full-size Titan trucks poised for shipment to Nissan dealers across the country.
The Titan XD Crew Cab of 2016 amounts to a new top-dog and heavy-duty trim designation for Titan's second-generation reset with a tip-to-tailgate fresh design.
In total, the Titan line expands with 2016 editions to encompass three powertrains, three cab configurations, three lengths for the truck bed, a choice of 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive traction mode and a total of five trim levels.
But the new Titan XD version scores a fully boxed ladder frame that's exclusive to the XD series, as well as a pair of big engines -- a gasoline-drinking V8 or a high-torque Cummins V8 turbo-diesel.
In contrast, the full-size Titan trucks for 2016 offer a gasoline V6 or V8.
Titan XD stands high and stretches long. It has a 151.6-inch wheelbase (that's about 20 inches longer than non-XD Titan issues), and it measures well over 20 feet in length, 6.5 feet tall and more than 6.5 feet wide. A full-size truck box in back draws out to 6.5 feet long.
To balance the truck's handling and ride comfort, Titan XD employs a new heavy-duty suspension arrangement. In front there's a double-wishbone configuration tied to a stabilizer bar and in the rear the rigid axle suspension draws on beefy leaf springs and leaf bushings plus twin-tube shocks. The axle is a large purpose-built unit by American Axle Manufacturing.
Optional suspension equipment includes an electronic locking rear differential.
Hydraulic cab-mounts on the XD chassis work to isolate passengers riding in the truck's cabin, resulting in smoother ride sensations.
Titan XD models roll on 17-, 18- or 20-inch wheels with all-weather/all surface tires.
Brakes consist of a 4-wheel disc system with 14.2-inch front and 14.4-inch rear ventilated discs linked to hydraulic power assistance.
Maximum power and torque stem from the new Cummins 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 rigged with a new Cummins M2 2-stage turbo system which helps pare turbo-lag by balancing high-pressure and low-pressure turbos. The big TD plant delivers 310 hp at 3200 rpm and truck-hauling torque of 555 lb-ft at only 1600 rpm through a heavy-duty Aisin 6-speed electronic automatic transmission.
Nissan says the XD maximum payload exceeds 2000 pounds and the maximum towing rating is over 12000 pounds when properly equipped.
A collection of electronic towing aids available for XD duty includes an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control, Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control and a Trailer Light Check.
Electronic driving aids also line the list of options, such as Nissan's RearView Monitor and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Front and Rear Sonar System and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Titan XD looks strong and assertive.
The exterior design features a massive prow anchored by a stepped hood and rectangular forward-protruding grille flashing V-angled struts and tucked between oversized corner headlamp clusters with LED headlights and signature DRLs. Rolled shoulders square off to forge flat flanks and there's a curvaceous arching line defining each big wheel well.
Streamlining devices boost the truck's aerodynamics: There are spoilers in front, on the roof and at the tailgate, a lid covering the front tow hook hole, plus underbody covers, rear tire wind deflectors and a seal between the cab and bed.
Titan's rear box contains channel rails in the floor, on side rails and atop the header panel. Utility cleats slide in or out of the rail grooves to forge an infinite number of tie-down points for securing a heaping load of cargo.