Sorry, tree huggers. Reports of death for the truly big pickup trucks were greatly exaggerated — or at least premature.
Fuel shortages and eco-consciousness were supposedly destined to make all of our vehicles smaller — bringing the dawn of an era populated only by plug-ins and hybrids. But, gas prices are coming down, and we still need to move some things larger than a house plant.
Jump to NAIAS 2015 in Detroit as Nissan rumbled forth with the 2016 Titan XD – a four dour light duty pickup truck aimed squarely at the market-dominating models built by Ford, GMC and Chevrolet. Powered by a 5.0 liter, 8-cylinder engine producing 310 horsepower with 555 foot pounds of torque, this Titan XD can tow more than 12,000 pounds with a payload of more than 2,000.
Don’t let the “light duty” tag fool you. It’s big enough to comfortably seat five and rides high enough for a crushed Prius and two Smart Car corpses to fit up under its fenders.
However, lest the climate change crowd completely lose their Chicken Little heads over the introduction of another gas guzzling, air defiling beast, the Titan XD does not guzzle said gas at all. In fact, it doesn’t burn any gas. It’s big engine is clean burning diesel.
The question becomes will North America (especially the U.S.) buy a big, mass market diesel truck. Americans still live under the delusion that diesel engines somehow make the saints cry and run on black magic — while the rest of the world enjoy diesel’s better fuel economy and more reliable engine designs. Time will tell if vehicles like the Titan XD can change that perception.