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This Is Why the All-New 2016 Nissan Titan Looks the Way It Does
January 13, 2015
by Robert Sorokanich

The big talk surrounding the all-new 2016 Nissan Titan pickup has focused on the Cummins diesel powerplant in the Titan XD, a 5.0-liter V-8 kicking out 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. But what about the design? We wondered how a brand approaches redesigning a truck that barely changed in a decade, so we spoke to Diane Allen, a 30-year Nissan vet and Nissan America’s chief designer, to get the details.

Where did you start with this new design?

Diane Allen: What we wanted to do was, we wanted a whole new look that’s fully capable, full size, no doubt about it. We needed to give it more of a power feel. We needed to take it up a notch, a couple notches. When we got the specs for this engine and realized what it meant to the shape of the front, we had to get a fresh start. The nose of this XD is 175 millimeters longer, 85 millimeters higher than today’s Titan.

Did you want to make it look like a diesel truck?

DA: We wanted to make it look like a true work truck. We’ve always been a play truck, but with this design we wanted to honor the new power and capability.

Some folks see a resemblance to the Ford F-150 in the new Titan.

DA: I think they’re looking at the dipped belt. To be honest, the sheetmetal beltline and bed are up substantially. To package the footprint of the mirror on the glass and have proper engineered scale, we had to keep the bottom of the mirror position. That’s why the glass dips down to maintain visibility to the mirror. There’s no copying, that was a pure engineer-driven thing.

We have a big robust body-side bone; we have real fenders that come up and dive down. This was designed and pretty much done before the Ford was revealed. You have to get to that point so they can make tooling, enlist suppliers, so our design was well done before we saw the Ford reveal. But if you stand side-by-side between the two, there’s no way you’ll think they look similar.

Ours is a more anatomical feel. Ford’s is more flat. And there’s a very interesting chamfered nose on ours, so the cross-car read is very interesting to look at. It’s got this nice power bend, and with the grille standing up next to it, it has a hardware feel to it. When you see this vehicle driving, because of these great cross-car reads and the stance of the vehicle, it’ll look like it’s moving even when it’s parked.
CONTINUE AT CAR AND DRIVER

Image courtesy of Car and Driver
 

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I definitely see a lot of the F-150 at some angles, and some of the new Ram 1500 in others.

I give kudos to them for delivering something much more "appealing" but there is definitely a bit of "meet too" in the design.

I also wonder how much of the look and approach to the new Titan is due to Fred Diaz now being at Nissan after his career at Chrysler running Ram?
 

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I think it looks like a Ram crossed with an F-150.
Not unique at all.

And honestly, not well executed.
 

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That's not good when days after the launch they have to go out for damage control and basically explain how they aren't copying anyone.
 

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I think what turns people off on this is some of the 'gilding the lilly' - and it is indeed pointless gilding without a function...

"One thing I want to point out: the Cummins badge on the fenders. Originally, we designed that to be open, an actual grille for airflow. But in testing, the Cummins engineers discovered that was actually hurting performance. Aerodynamically, it was impeding the engine’s cooling performance. So we turned it into a Cummins badge with a grille texture behind it. We would have loved for that to be an opening, but we couldn’t have it hurt the engine’s performance."

This is what Ford and Chevy pickups will look like next go around. They can't keep the perpendicular straight lines forever. The current Ford and Silvy are satisfying to traditionalists, but all those straight lines are very 80's.

Titan - especially look what they've done with the rocker panels - that's the future.



EDIT: One other gilding the lily element: The weird little indent on the top of the wheel flares. Why?
 

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First thing I thought when I saw it was that it looked a lot like the F150. The only thing that I think is real annoying is the dipped belt, which is a real Ford signature on their pickups. Though, I feel like Toyota has been endlessly copying Ford from the interior on the new Tundra (exactly like the last gen F150 (but not as nice) and every time I see a RAV4, I think it looks like an ugly Escape. I feel like I have become less and less a fan of GM but at least, like Ford, their designs are very original. I'm not a big fan of the new Silverado 1500 (they should put the HD grille on it and better looking wheels) but at least it looks classy like someone said above. The Tundra is horrible, the Titan is slightly better. The only thing that I don't really like on the Titan is the two-tone, which just seems overdone and the color combos seem to not really go well together. Oh yeah, and I thought the RAM Rebel & RAM Laramie Longhorn interior were overdone until I saw the Titan Platinum Reserve (also could that name be any longer or original?). The brown leather thing needs to stop. Seriously. If the High Country was available with a different color interior, I'd really be a fan.
 

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there really is NOT a lot you can do to a truck style wise EX with rounded designs like the Mazda / mits global trucks not "doing well"
and for the Ford drop down in the belt line on the door that was pinched from KenWorth
 

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I definitely see a lot of the F-150 at some angles, and some of the new Ram 1500 in others.

I give kudos to them for delivering something much more "appealing" but there is definitely a bit of "meet too" in the design.

I also wonder how much of the look and approach to the new Titan is due to Fred Diaz now being at Nissan after his career at Chrysler running Ram?
There is nothing appealing about that truck. The interior looks cheap and the outside is just ugly.
 

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there really is NOT a lot you can do to a truck style wise EX with rounded designs like the Mazda / mits global trucks not "doing well"
and for the Ford drop down in the belt line on the door that was pinched from KenWorth
There's lot one can do to look better and make a rig more efficient too,just have to posses great imagination

 

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It looks like a cheap Chinese ripoff of other people's truck - the truck version of the new Shamvette. It is not attractive, well-proportioned, nor does it look tough. It is the true truck for metrosexuals who are mistaking a big truck for manhood. Even Total Recall Motors does a better job at designing trucks - they just make them look like their old trucks.
 
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