Riding on a big high after being named “Truck of Texas” by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) which annually pits the industry’s best trucks, SUVs, and CUVs against one another in a grueling two-day test, Nissan reveals to the world an off-road machine meant to take the Titan higher: Referred to as the Titan Warrior Concept, Nissan has taken the Titan XD to whole new level with what it calls “unapologetic, aggressive, athletic styling features that declare the concept’s off-road adventure intent and Nissan’s optimism for the truck market.”
“Truck buyers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for more content and more unique offerings,” José Muñoz, Nissan’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “Even though our all-new 2016 Titan XD just started arriving at Nissan dealers nationwide last month, we are already exploring new territory where Titan might go in the future.”
It looks of things this truck could go damn near anywhere too, and while we’ll get to the off-road bits soon enough, let’s turn to the Warrior’s interior for a moment: According to Nissan, the interior design team wanted to give the truck a unique polished “chronograph” look and feel, a decision that resulted in them focusing on materials and small details more than they normally would while remaining true to an underlying performance theme. Take the Warrior’s seats for example, which are cloaked in a carbon-colored high-strength seat fabric that has been trimmed with “Magma” orange accents, all of which complements all that real carbon fiber trim work, those subtle polished chrome finishes, and all that leather that has also been accented with Magma orange stitching.
One of the more interesting touches is the Warrior’s custom-built metal steering wheel primarily milled down from a single block of aluminum until it resembles what you see here. There are also some practical touches that are pretty nifty, like the hot-and-cold drink containers, which have been integrated into the center console, those beefy auxiliary toggle switches for additional off-road accessories, and the use of instrument panel-mounted auxiliary gauges for an added performance punch that is actually pertinent.
“Today’s truck enthusiasts don’t just use their trucks for weekend adventures, they do double-duty as daily drivers,” explains Muñoz. “Therefore the Titan Warrior Concept’s interior reflects a premium outdoor lifestyle, closer in look and content to a new Titan XD Platinum Reserve model than a stripped-down pre-runner.”
This Warrior Concept has reportedly been built upon the successful completion of “Project Titan,” a crowd-sourced, completely custom, original-generation Titan that took two U.S. veterans on an adventure across Alaska in order to bring awareness to the Wounded Warrior Project. Aptly named, this new concept also is an homage to Nissan’s off-road racing heritage, which goes all the way back to the days of Baja “Hardbody” competition pickups and Paris-Dakar Rally treks. If put into production, this machine could pose a threat to trucks like the forthcoming Ford Raptor and the strong-armed Toyota Tundra TRD-Pro.
For all of its extreme angles, the truck is built off of the Titan XD Crew Cab’s standard wheelbase and length. Outside of that, things get pretty bonkers relatively quick: The truck’s ride height has been raised nearly three inches all around, those 37-inch tall all-terrain tires have been wrapped around custom 18- by 9.5-inch alloy wheels, and the vehicle’s width has been broadened by three inches to accommodate everything. According to Nissan, those one-off alloy wheels have specially machined aluminum faces that incorporate a dark matte finish in order to follow Nissan’s “precision tool” design theme.
Inspired by the notion of “modern armor” or too many RoboCop movies, the Warrior adds a more machine-like appearance; even the grille and headlights get enhanced to offer what the automaker calls a more “technical, menacing look.” Both front and rear fenders have received unique flares for a more imposing presence, and a set of fully functional hood vents add some contrast while aiding in the provision of fresh air to the Titan’s powerful diesel engine. A large skidplate resides beneath the front air dam, interlocking with the front bumper, and custom LED lights at every corner add to the futuristic fray as Nissan’s unique “boomerang lights” adorn all of the truck’s lenses, and carry with them a more robotic feel.
Out back, an angular, quad-exhaust system integrates into the rear bumper for additional clearance, and even though it has one big-ass footprint, the Warrior Concept has some interesting aerodynamic add-ons including a carbon fiber cab spoiler, a set of tailgate spoilers, and a set of integrated, roof-mounted LED off-road lights. Sprayed in a custom matte-gunmetal paint that referred to as “Thunder” and accented in that same Magma orange color you find on the inside, the color scheme is a subtle yet imposingly robotic blend that’s far from obnoxious.
This truck was inspired and built around decades of Dakar Rally experience, and while it retains the fully boxed ladder frame, Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbo diesel engine, and heavy-duty six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, that’s pretty much where it ends. Instead of focusing on extreme amounts of power, Nissan engineers decided to zero-in on building a full-blown custom suspension setup for the Warrior.
Up front, the standard suspension has been replaced with custom upper and lower control arms that have been equipped with performance ball joints, along with racing-style coilover shocks with custom reservoir mounts and a series of tie-rod extensions that balance out the truck’s new suspension geometry. Out back, modifications include more specialized internal bypass reservoir shocks with unique reservoir mounts, one-off prototype axles, a custom sway bar, relocated sway bar brackets, rear lift blocks, and some specialty U-bolts. In order to keep drivers from maxing out the sturdier coilovers, hydraulic pressurized bump stops were also added to all four corners, some welcomed forward thinking in terms of preventative maintenance.
While it still has yet to be decided if this beast will ever see production, its debut at the North American International Auto Show comes exactly one year after the the production Titan XD first rolled out onto the same stage — an encouraging sign that Americans still care about performance options. According to Muñoz, “This new Titan Warrior Concept gives an important signal to American truck enthusiasts that our vision for exploring new boundaries remains strong. Truck lovers are never static and neither is Titan.”