Detroit LIVE: 2016 Nissan Titan

Nissan\'s next Titan is here.

The 2016 Nissan Titan promises to be a game-changer in the half-ton segment. The big news is the arrival of the Cummins V8 diesel, which seeks to offer heavy-duty power and capabilities in a light-duty truck

This will be the first application of renowned diesel experts Cummins' 5.0L V8, a deal that was inked as far back as 2007. Eight years of rigorous testing have resulted in a powerplant delivering 310hp and a whopping 555 lb-ft of torque.

The engine's compound turbo, one high pressure and one low, is key to providing a flat torque curve and keeping lag to a minimum. The block itself is made of the new material du jour, compacted graphite iron for strength, while the DOHC heads are cut from aluminum.

Mated to a 6-speed automatic, the result matches the Chevy Silverado 6.2L's 12,000-pound towing capacity but with fuel economy Nissan predicts will be 20 percent better than an equivalent gasoline-powered V8 (official figures will be announced closer to production date). It betters the Chevy, however, with a 2,000-pound payload.

Fully aware of what it will be used for, Nissan is offering two trailer hitch options, one of which is a gooseneck engineered from the beginning to be integrated with the frame, which is fully boxed. To make it easier to connect a trailer when you're on your own, the Titan will offer a trailer light-check system so no spotters are necessary.

Visually, the truck will adopt its own take on Nissan's new design language. Designers apparently started with the engine and shaped the sheetmetal around its mass to highlight the workhorse at the heart of the truck. Refinement was also important to the design, and Nissan is eager to point out the flushness of the shape as various elements meet.

Keeping up with an increasingly luxury-conscious truck buyer, Nissan is upping the ante with content and features as well. Zero gravity seats (just one of Nissan's collaborations with NASA), designed to contour the human body in total weightlessness, already proven to be extremely comfortable on the 2015 Murano, will now coddle the occupants. All seats will offer butt-warming capabilities, but front seats will have cooling as well.

A 7-inch touchscreen will offer the automaker's NissanConnect navigation and app suite. It will also serve as the display for Nissan's clever birds-eye Around View Monitor, a godsend when maneuvering in tight spaces. Moving object detection and blind spot warnings are some of the other safety features included and are sure to come in handy when you're thumping the 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system.

Thoughtful storage solutions abound, with removable, lockable, drainable and watertight storage boxes that can't be seen from street level. They can even be accessed even with camper top secured to the bed, and a 120v power outlet in the bed ensure you can practically live in it. Nissan's innovative Util-Track system of bed channels with adjustable tie-downs makes a return as well.

In the cabin, the center console that can swallow a 15-inch laptop. For King and Crew cab configurations will offer fold-up second row seats with lockable storage box beneath. Perhaps the feature most indicative of our times, cupholders will now be capable of holding 32-oz Gatorade bottles.

Nissan will debut the diesel-equipped top-spec trim level first, now christened the Titan XD, with its own petrol-powered V6 and V8 engines will follow at a later date.

Photos by Brian Williams.

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