It has become the tale of two Nissan Titans. We’ve known the big Titan XD with that massive Cummins diesel V-8 under its large Roman-nose front end. Now it has a little brother, if a half-ton Titan (minus the XD label) qualifies as little.

Dimensionally, Titan versus Titan XD finds the smaller version 14.6 inches shorter on a wheelbase that is 11.8 inches less than the big guy. Titan is 2.8 inches lower than the XD and rides on its own boxed frame with a double A-arm suspension up front and a live axle on leaf springs out back.

NEW YORK (March 24, 2016) – Nissan today previewed the upcoming TITAN Crew Cab half-ton pickup, which arrives at Nissan dealers nationwide this summer, at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. The standard bearer of Nissan's family of TITAN pickups, the 2017 TITAN Crew Cab is powered by a new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 gasoline engine.

Both Titans share the same width—and with good reason. For all their differences front, back, and underneath, the pair of Titans share the same four-door crew cab from A-pillar to C-pillar. That brings with it the expected five- or six-place seating. The rear seats fold to create a lockable storage bin and a flat load-bearing floor. Up front is a very workable layout with a navigation screen up high, controls placed logically, and a steering-column-mounted shift lever, helping free up generous storage space.

The Titan brothers do look somewhat different. Because Nissan does not offer the Titan with the big diesel, the Nissan design team in La Jolla, California, could fit it with a smaller nose, one with a bit more shape. Working to improve aerodynamic performance, the Titan has such detailing as an active grille shutter, underfloor covers, and spoilers under the front chin, at the back of the cab roof, and on top of the tailgate.
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Out back is a 5.5-foot bed with a tailgate that is damped for lowering so it doesn’t bang down when you open it. Options include the likes of a spray-in bed liner, a variety of channels with tie-down cleats and hooks, lighting, and lockable storage boxes.

Instead of that bruiser of a turbodiesel V-8, the 1/2-ton Titan uses a 5.6-liter gasoline V-8, with a V-6 coming in the future. The 5.6-liter Endurance V-8—an option in the Titan XD—produces 390 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. This puts the new direct-injected engine 73 horsepower ahead of its predecessor V-8. Torque is bumped by 9 lb-ft to 394 at 4,000 rpm.

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Backing the V-8 is a 7-speed automatic. Being a big pickup, you can order the Titan with two- or four-wheel drive. While we’re on numbers, fuel economy for the Titan comes in at 15/21/18 city/highway/combined. Another number that’s important to many pickup owners is towing capacity, which is 9,390 pounds (2×4 version). Nissan happily points out that it beats the F-150/Ram/Tundra/Silverado competition.

“Truckie” used to be a pejorative adjective that described what it was like to live with a pickup, feeling every bump, wrestling it down some roads. Not anymore. Mind you, this is still a truck, but steering effort, response, and such are at a level that you can actually enjoy the Titan on a curving road. Again, it’s not a sports car, but it’s not a struggle, either.

The 2016 Nissan TITAN XD, which made its world debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is set to shake up the highly competitive full-size pickup segment when it goes on sale in the United States and Canada beginning in late 2015 - with a bold all-new design that stakes out a unique position in the segment between traditional heavy-duty and light-duty entries.

As for ride quality, a Nissan engineer explained that they “rounded” the Titan’s reactions to bumps, etc. You still know the road imperfections are there, but they are better separated from you than in the past. In fact, the total driving experience is smoother and quieter thanks to such features as a hydraulic body mount for the cab, better engine isolation, and laminated front side glass.

For the time being the Titan is only offered as a crew cab, but single cab and king cab versions are on the horizon. No surprise there are five different models, with S, SV, and SL bringing added features up the line toward the check-all-boxes Platinum Reserve version. You name it, you can have it, from Around View Monitor to hill-descent control to a trailer brake controller to 110-volt outlets front and back. Off-roaders will head straight to the fifth model, the PRO-4X version with its electronic locking rear differential and Bilstein shocks.

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When Nissan product planners noodled over final specs and features for the Titan, the competition’s sales must have weighed upon them. Ford’s F-150 has led U.S. light-vehicle sales for the past 34 years. Tucked in right behind are Chevrolet’s Silverado, and the Ram pickup. One of Nissan’s countermeasures is a five-year, 100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. The Detroit three and Toyota’s Tacoma come in at three years, 36,000 miles.

Will that turn the trick? Titan sales begin in late August, with prices ranging from $34,780 to $55,400.

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2017 Nissan Titan Specifications
On Sale: Now
Price: $34,780 (base)
Engine: 5.6L DOHC 32-valve V-8/390 hp @ 5,800 rpm, 394 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, RWD/AWD pickup
EPA Mileage: 15/21 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 228.1 x 79.5 x 76.0 in
Wheelbase: 139.8 in
Weight: 5,508 lb
0-60 MPH: 7.0 sec (est)
Top Speed: N/A