The 2021 Nissan Titan XD isn’t exactly a heavy-duty or a light-duty truck, it’s something in between. That means it’s can’t pull as much as HD rivals such as the Ford Super Duty and it’s nowhere near as refined as half-ton pickups such as the damn-near-luxurious Ram 1500. Instead, the XD version simply provides more pulling and hauling power than the regular Nissan Titan, which we review separately. Although the XD was once offered with a Cummins diesel V-8 and more than one configuration, Nissan now only offers it with a 400-hp V-8, four-wheel drive, and a crew cab. This one-size-only lineup is uncommon among pickups, but at least it includes the most popular ingredients. Still, the 2021 Titan XD is perhaps the least popular truck around, but that’s because it tries to satisfy everyone versus focusing on folks who are apathetic towards domestic alternatives.
What’s New for 2021?
After a smattering of changes for the previous model year, the Titan XD enters 2021 without any significant alterations.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Considering the Titan XD’s status as an in-betweener, we’d suggest sticking with the low-end SV trim. This will maximize payload and towing capacity to help give the Titan XD a fighting chance against similarly priced HD competitors. Luckily, four-wheel drive is standard, and all Titan XD models come well-equipped with driver-assistance features and stylish 20-inch wheels.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The standard gasoline-powered 5.6-liter V-8 is quiet and refined; it makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. It is accompanied by a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive. Nissan’s tweener drives like a more civilized heavy-duty pickup without handling better or being able to haul as much. The Titan XD has a compliant ride for a big pickup with a heavy-duty frame, though light-duty pickups ride significantly better. The XD handles like a heavy-duty pickup, too, with lazy, uncommunicative steering and vague responses to your directional commands. Likewise, it is unwieldy to drive on the highway. The results for the XD we tested put it in the middle of the class. The soft, vague feel of the brake pedal wasn’t reassuring.
Towing and Payload Capacity
Whereas the Ford Super Duty can pull up to 37,000 pounds with a gooseneck hitch, the Titan XD can only handle 11,040 pounds with the same type of setup. The Nissan’s number drops to 10,880 pounds when it’s pulling a conventional trailer. Both maximum tow ratings are also less than half-ton trucks such as the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, which can each tug up to 12,000 pounds. They also match the XD’s max payload rating of 2240 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Titan XD qualifies as a heavy-duty vehicle under EPA rules, so its fuel economy is not rated by that federal agency.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
A practical but uninspired dash design doesn’t help the Titan XD stand out in this segment. The leather appointments in our Pro-4X test truck gussied up the interior, while the topmost Platinum Reserve model features fancier two-tone leather and open-pore wood trim. Nissan’s excellent Zero Gravity front and rear seats stole the show with their perfect balance of support and comfort, especially on long road trips. The Titan XD, which is offered solely in crew-cab configuration, can hold the most carry-on-sized suitcases behind the front seats in its class, and its low lift-over height helps when loading cargo into the bed. However, its cargo boxes are among the smallest in this set, and interior storage space for smaller items is less useful than the competition’s.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Base S and value-minded SV models come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but Pro-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve trims get a new 9.0-inch display as well as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The SV trim level and higher has a 5.0-inch gauge-cluster screen that can display diagnostics, fuel economy, and an off-road accelerometer. It also has a neat Trailer Light Check feature for singlehanded monitoring of the trailer’s lighting connections.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Titan XD has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It comes standard with a suite of driver-assistance features to help manage its mammoth measurements. Key safety equipment includes:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan’s warranty coverage for the Titan XD is one of the best; however, its shorter roadside assistance period and lack of complimentary scheduled maintenance diminish our praise.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 100,00 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs