Nissan Introduces the Latest Addition to the Family - The All-New Nissan Titan XD

At this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Nissan unveiled the Titan Warrior Concept (above).

This tough off-road warrior uses a Titan XD Crew Cab's standard wheelbase and overall length, but it's height was raised to 81.5 inches from 78.7. Next, this truck was shod with four 37-inch tall off-road tires on custom aluminum-alloy wheels. Such big shoes required that the suspension be widened to 86.6 inches.

This is just the beginning to the modifications, as there were some sheet metal changes as well, giving the truck a much meaner look than its street ready cousin. Think of it as a possible competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor and this truck doesn't seem so far-fetched.

Given the Titan is Nissan's first attempt to truly establish a unique identity, Larry Printz, Editor in Chief Automotive at, spoke with the truck's designer, Randy Rodriguez of Nissan Design. Rodriguez is a life-long Nissan fan, and we spoke to him about his passion for the brand, and what drives his design. And this is what Randy Rodriguez had to say...


Larry Printz: " I love the way this looks, much more so than the Nissan Titan that was produced."

Randy Rodriguez: "Yes, this is a more free intention of what design would have wanted."

Larry: "How realistic is it to assume that something like this truck will be produced? Would it be tough to do?

Randy: "Well, the truck is based on the Nissan Titan XD, so it's basically just suspension moved out a bit to make it wider, it's got bodywork, like fenders and bumpers. But it's not so crazy of a concept that it's not doable. We are gauging customer and media reaction to the truck."

Larry: "Is it hard to design a new full-size pickup from scratch with a clear mind given the styling dominance of Detroit's pickups? Does what's already there influence you what to do or influence you what not to do?"

Randy: "Obviously, we looked at the competition and what they are doing, but Nissan has its own DNA, our own vocabulary  in design, so when we approached this we approached it from the view that Nissan always does these really passionate and emotional designs. That's hen we came up with the name, the Titan. It's really strong, like Greek mythology. So the truck has a more anatomical quality about it. It's very muscular, and has a lot of that kind of influence in the truck. It has that Nissan DNA of being strong and powerful, and having its own uniqueness. But it's a big responsibility to break into the truck market, so that's why it's taken a long time but we've done a lot of homework, a lot of design engineering and salon of thought into designing a product that we feel will really resonate with the customer.

Larry: "Is this a clearer expression of what you wish the truck to look like, rather than the way the new truck looks in production right now?"

Randy: "I don't know if I can say that. (Laughs) It's a clearer expression of design. But I got the inspiration by watching movies like "Sparticus," Troy," "Gladiator" where you have this helmet or mask. Some of the original sketches for the truck were along these same lines. And this is more of a free expression of trying to do that."

Larry: "Did you work on the original version of the truck?"

Randy: "No, but I did some of the modifications like the grille; small things like that."

Larry: "Now from what I understand, you worked on the current 370Z."

Randy: "Yes"

Larry: "Talk about that."

Randy: "That was a dream because some of my very first cars were Datsuns like 280s, 510s. We have a lot of those cars. I probably had more than a dozen Z-Cars by the time I went to work for Nissan. That was a dream for me to work for Nissan, to be a car designer and to have a hand working on the 370Zs is actually like a dream for me. And actually, with the 370Z, you can see a lot more connection to a 240Z with some of the lines that I was trying to capture with that versus the previous one."

Larry: "Was it difficult being influenced by the 240's looks without being too retro or too literal?"

Randy: "Well, at Nissan Design, we don't like to do things that are too retro. We take cues and honour our DNA and honour our past, but push more into the future, advance the design for more modern times."

Larry: " So I guess this means that you're working on the next Z right now?"

Randy: (Laughs) I can't talk about our future product. (Laughs) but it's really a key model. Z means a lot to Nissan and the company wouldn't be what it is if there never was a 240Z, or a 510. So these cars are important are important to the history and the DNA of Nissan. It will always have a place in the lineup."

Larry: "Aside from the 240 Z, were there designs or designers who really influenced you?"

Randy: "Well, we look at all of our design and our portfolio. Like on this truck, the Titan, we look at all of our past hardbody trucks, previous Pathfinders. I think it's cool when you can bring some of those details and abstract it in a new way in designs so that there's still hints of things that people will remember."

Larry: "Which past Nissan model would you like to have a crack at updating, if you had the chance to bring up to date?"

Randy: "The 510. Even if it's not a real project, I am always drawing cars, I am always drawing Z-Cars or I am always drawing 510s. Those were the cars that really got me into the company. When I was a little kid, my father and my uncle had those cars. We ended up having those cars and you really want to see having those cars in the lineup again."

Larry: "How long have you been with Nissan?"

Randy: "Thirteen years."

Larry: "And your based out of California?"

Randy: "Yes, San Diego, California. It's really comfortable, it's really nice to live out there, but it's cool working at Nissan because they have a wide-ranging portfolio, so they let us work on sports cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, and there are a lot of concept vehicles. There are a lot of different things that we get to work on."

Larry: "As a designer, which type of vehicle is most challenging to work on?"

Randy: "For me personally, I have this sports aesthetic and gravitate towards things that are tough, I need to do sports cars or trucks. For me it feels really natural. The toughest is probably, the middle-of-the-road type of vehicle for me personally. I can still do it, but my passion lies with things that go fast that super low, or super high that can run run over something. It's more along those lines.

Larry: "I imagine that, as a designer, it's tough doing a great middle-of-the-road vehicle, and do it well."

Randy: "Yeah, it's really challenging, especially when there's such high volume and a lot of sales that there's heavy input from a lot of people. The company is split into many different groups and everybody has a say. And design is only one voice. It's definitely challenging,"

Larry: "Thank you for your time."

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VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

BASE PRICE (EST): $40,000

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve diesel V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 305 cu in, 4997 cc
Power: 310 hp @ 3200 rpm
Torque: 555 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Wheelbase: 151.6 in
Length: 242.8 in
Width: 80.7 in Height: 78.7 in
Passenger volume: 120 cu ft
Curb weight: 7360 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 9.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 28.2 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 10.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 17.0 sec @ 82 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 106 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 192 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.74 g

EPA city/highway driving: N/A
C/D observed: 15 mpg


Medford Nissan

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  1. Medford Nissan

    4560 Grumman Drive
    Medford, OR 97504

    • Sales: (541) 774-8400
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