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First off, I love trucks; in fact I used to have an old '86 F-150 4x4 which I bought new. It was a base level regular cab with an 8-foot bed, a classic work truck. Once you've had a truck, and then gotten rid of it, you'll regret it forever. I sure did. I never replaced it because I couldn't really justify it, as I used it "as a truck" so infrequently. Still miss it though...

That said I really was looking forward to this new Nissan 5/8-ton diesel truck. Once introduced, my balloon quickly deflated. I love the state-of-the-art new 5.0L Cummins diesel engine. I even like the upgraded 5.6L gas V8 along with the new 6-speed automatic. Once past these goodies, it all goes south for me.

Nissan has been known to push the styling envelope with a number of their products. Even some of their more conservative looking products were quite handsome. The mid-size Frontier's styling has aged well. The outgoing Titan was also handsome, but to my eye, it didn't age quite as well as the Frontier. But this new Titan; what were they thinking?

Okay, I know this truck has to sell well. I also know truck buyers are notoriously conservative, especially when it comes to styling. So I get playing it safe in terms of looks. I really do. Where I have problems with the styling is they literally ripped off the looks of the Ford Super Duty – right down to the debossed "TITAN" name on the grille shell. You would not be incorrect in thinking this might be a Chinese Ford copy, to sell in their market. Couldn't they have developed a look that was distinctly Nissan, and still stayed conservative? Geez...

Then there's that ugly chrome wart on the front fender which serves as an identifier for what engine the truck has. It has to be one of the all-time worst looking vehicle badges ever; truly an embarrassment from one of the better-respected industry design studios. How that got approved is a true mystery, and does not reflect well upon those in decision-making positions at Nissan design.

Another design-engineering problem that really irks me is the optional in-bed storage boxes that run the length of the bed sides. Unlike the similar optional Ram "Ramboxes," they can't be accessed from outside the bed. You have to be inside the truck bed to use them – and if the bed is fully loaded, you may not be able to access them at all. That's unforgivably stupid design.

The last issue I have with this truck is the weight, which is 6,700+ pounds, That's heavy – really heavy! In fact, that's 500 pounds more than my old F-150's GVW! Speaking of GVW, the Titan XD is rated at 8,800 pounds. That's more than the GVW of heavy-duty 3/4-tons from Detroit used to be not that long ago. Worse still, the payload is just so-so, in the 2K-2.5K range, with most models I suspect closer to the lower figure. Many new aluminum-bodied F-150s are close to or just above a 2K payload, and can be optioned out to 3.3K. When the aluminum-bodied Ford F-250 Super Duty hits the market next fall, its payload will absolutely crush this Titan XD, while likely having a similar curb weight. The XD's heavy curb weight will surely take its toll on performance and fuel mileage as well.

So, long-story-short, the 5/8-ton Titan XD is a great idea, but is lacking in execution in some key areas. I wish Nissan well, but I think it could to continue to be a struggle for them.

Related Video:

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