Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes behind the wheel of one of the most interesting trucks of the year. The 2016 Nissan Titan XD is all new, and powered by a 5.0L V8 Cummins diesel engine. The goal of the truck is to appeal to the people who want more than a half-ton pickup, but don’t need the capability of a full-three-quarter-ton. Nissan claims there’s a market there of at least 150,000 people annually. Will they succeed?

Considering my total time behind the wheel was around 30 minutes, including both on-road and off-road driving, it’s really difficult for me to give you a lot of driving impressions. On the road, it felt fine with a nice amount of sound deadening so you can have a pleasant conversation at a normal volume. But, if you get on the gas you can hear the turbo spool up as a wave of torque pushes you ahead.

The 5.0L V8 makes 555 lb-ft of torque, and for the most part it always feels available. Of course there’s turbo lag, but once on the boost the party gets started.

Interior fit and finish is comparable to any modern Nissan. Some of the things I like and didn’t like will come down to the personal preference of the person buying it. While I might favor the interior of a Ram 1500 Limited, others I talked to preferred the interior of the Titan XD Platinum Reserve.

Depending on how you configure the truck, it’ll tow between 10,608 pounds and 12,314 pounds. Keeping in mind that these numbers are for a full-on crew cab configuration (higher towing models coming later), that’s not too bad.

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Going with Cummins was a smart move for Nissan, and buys them some instant credibility in the truck market. Cummins is well-known for their performance and reliability. For some buyers, that’ll be exactly what they’re looking for.

If you’re looking for an overall final verdict, I don’t have one. There’s a lot of things I see that I like about the new Titan XD diesel, and it is already winning awards (the Texas Auto Writer’s Association Truck of Texas, for example), but there are still some things that aren’t known.

Pricing will be one of the key factors. Also, how will Nissan present this truck to the buying public? We like to buy our trucks with as much capability as we can. Considering the Titan XD is a Class 2B truck (3/4-ton class), will people look at something like the Ram 2500 with an available 900 lb-ft of torque and go that route? It’s hard to know for sure.

Hopefully we’ll get a chance to spend more time in the truck here in the near future to get a better grasp of living with the truck every day, as well as test that Cummins engine’s fuel economy and real-world towing capability. Until then, we like what we see, and wish Nissan the best of luck with their newest truck offering.

Photos via [Raven Studios Photography]

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