2016 Nissan Titan XD long-term update: Road tripping

In addition to hauling lots of mulch and gravel, the Titan makes for a better-than-passable people-hauler, too.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

This big, blue Nissan Titan XD has been living with me for more than six months now, taking up a large chunk of my driveway and making its considerable presence known to every visitor. I have to say, it's looked pretty majestic perched there on its 20-inch wheels and lifted suspension, but what's really endeared the truck to me is, of course, its more practical benefits.

Primary among them are its towing and hauling capabilities, which I explored in the first and second updates, but the more time I spend with the Titan XD the more I appreciate its big and comfortable cabin. Yes, it's a long way up into the truck, and even at 6-feet tall, I appreciate the generous grab handle and running boards, but once inside you'll find plenty of room for five comfortably -- or, as was more commonly the case for me, two adults in the front seats and a couple of large dogs in the back. The rear bench seat meant they had plenty of room to spread out, and the way those rear seats flip upward quickly meant I could keep them on the floor if someone had been playing in the muck. They're not unlike Honda's Magic Seats in that regard. 

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Pupper approved.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Because of the room and the comfort, the Titan has actually been a frequent road trip machine, making numerous trips up to extreme northern New York state to visit family and shuttling myself and some friends up to Ticonderoga -- no, not for a French and Indian War reenactment, rather to visit the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour. This is a nearly perfect, though curiously located, Enterprise bridge recreation that is not to be missed by any self-respecting Trekker. On the way up, the Titan's Rockford Fosgate sound system had plenty of clarity for a constant stream of Trek-related podcasts, and on my own I've certainly enjoyed its prodigious bass in repeated streamings of Metallica's latest. 

But there is one pretty sizable mark against the Titan XD as a road-trip shuttle, and that's the running cost. The Cummins-powered diesel really sucks down the fuel, even considering the size of the truck. I've been as light on the throttle as possible, and in our testing thus far we're averaging 16.9 miles per gallon. On one long highway stretch I managed to top 22 mpg, but in some around-town segments featuring lots of short trips we've seen as low as 13. That's... well, that's not great. Yes, this is a big truck, but given that it's burning diesel I'd hoped for better. 

Nissan Titan XD DEF port

Definitely don't forget the DEF.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Along with the diesel comes the diesel emissions fluid, or DEF. This ammonia-based fluid is sprayed onto the exhaust, cutting down emissions. In our 6,000 miles of testing, so far we've had to refill that tank twice, giving us over 1,000 miles per gallon of DEF. The DEF filler is right next to the gas filler and, if you happen to have access to a service station that has a DEF pump (like Flying J or TA stations) the process is simple. But, if you're like me and you have to buy the stuff in separate containers, this will quickly become a bit of a frustration.

You see, DEF is typically sold in either 1- or 2.5-gallon containers. The Titan, meanwhile, has a DEF tank that's slightly smaller than 5 gallons. Run it to empty and you can't quite fit two 2.5 gallon containers in there, while the single gallon DEF containers cost considerably more. In other words, you'll either never fill the talk, or will be left with a near-empty container of DEF sloshing around. Here's hoping for a full 5-gallon tank in the future.

But beyond that, the truck has been a faultless companion so far, towing cars, hauling lumber and bringing home enough cubic yards of mulch and topsoil to keep my EV-driving wife amenable to its presence. Indeed, the Titan XD has some more chore duty ahead, which we'll catalog in my next and, unfortunately, final long-term update next month.

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