Nissan offers up a pricey, muscular pickup

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Nissan offers a five-year/100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on its Titan XD Platinum Reserve.

I spent a week earlier this month partaking of Platinum Reserve.

Platinum Reserve sounds like an 18-year-old single malt whiskey, but all it really shares with that distilled ambrosia is a top-shelf price tag. The Platinum Reserve is the most upmarket rendition of the Titan XD, Nissan’s heavy-duty full-sized pickup. While the Titan XD starts at $32,040 with a regular cab, two-wheel-drive and a gas engine, the test truck, with its crew cab, Cummins diesel engine, four-wheel-drive and a luxury litany that included everything but a Louis XIV armoire, checked in at $65,405.

That’s a pricey pickup, but the tag is about par for the course when you’re talking big, muscular trucks fitted with all the goodies. And the Titan XD does have Schwarzenegger-ish credentials. Properly equipped, it can haul up to 2,710 pounds and tow over six tons. (I didn’t have any trouble towing a 9,600-pound trailer with the Platinum Reserve diesel.)

The XD comes in three cab sizes — regular, extended, and crew — and five trim levels. There are two engine offerings: the standard, 5.6-liter gas V-8 buttoned to a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and the optional 5-liter turbo diesel, which joins forces with a six-speed automatic. The gas engine develops 390 horsepower and 394 pounds-feet of torque. The diesel in the tester engenders 310 horses and a whopping 555 pounds-feet of torque, which is the real measure of grunt.

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The 2018 Titan XD offers three body styles and two bed lengths.

The Platinum Reserve tester proved attractive enough in that chunky, macho way that pickups have to look if they want to sell. I found the badging a bit excessive, though. It seemed as if everywhere I looked there was big chrome script announcing that this was a Titan or a Titan XD and that it was fitted with a Cummins turbodiesel and 4WD. The alloy wheels were big 20-inchers shod with General Grabbers. I wasn’t sure if they were wheels or chariots of the gods.

The interior followed through with the exterior’s massive, substantive feel. It was upmarket in the sense that it was leathery and fitted with luxe touches such as heated rear seats. Not so luxurious was the fact that the door surfaces were hard plastic, except for the armrests and the small inserts above them. The front seats proved reasonably comfortable, the back ones not so much. On the plus side, the rear seating afforded generous leg and head room and enough space on the bench for three adult tushes.

The XD driving experience included sound dampening that wasn’t as good as the ride comfort. The truck had a very solid feel, handled decently, and, with all that torque, was able to forget how heavy it was when it came out of the chute.

True, the Platinum Reserve isn’t the most able XD off-roader. The Pro-4X, with its protective skid plates and locking differential, takes those laurels. But it doesn’t fit into an essentially on-road category like an all-wheel-drive crossover, either. It has off-road requisites such as good ground clearance and a two-speed transfer case that affords low-range gearing.

The tester included some clever storage wrinkles in the cab, such as the rear bench under-seat stowing. But the real nifty was the tester’s one option: a $750 cargo bed package. This included composite, locking storage boxes that ran the length of each bed sidewall, an electronic tailgate lock, and  a step you could pull down to afford easier access to the bed.

The EPA doesn’t compute mileage estimates for heavy-duty pickups. I got 16.6 mpg in mixed driving.

The XD has an extraordinary five-year/100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

2018 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve (4WD diesel)

Base price: $63,360
As tested: $65,405
Standard equipment: 5-liter turbodiesel, six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive, and niceties like a surround camera system and heated, ventilated, leather-trimmed power front seats
Options: Cargo bed storage boxes, electronic tailgate lock and bed step
Fuel economy: No EPA rating
Engine performance: Adequate
Handling: Decent
Ride quality: Fine
Styling: Sufficiently macho
Warranty: Five years/100,000 miles bumper to bumper
Three Bens: Good