For more than a decade, the Nissan Titan has been a bit of an enigma. Placed smack dab in the middle of one of America’s fiercest markets, the all-American workhorse with a Japanese badge was, and still is, perhaps more “American” than some of its big-three counterparts. Rowdy, unashamed, and beyond stubborn, the first generation Titan has absolutely refused to change in its long life. While competitors were advancing with newer powertrains, different transmissions, updated suspensions, revised heavy-duty variants, etc., the biggest Nissan simply stayed the same. While it did spawn a van cousin, the NV, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference in a 2015 Titan and 2004 Titan. Despite all of this, the truck is a hilariously good piece of engineering.
In 2014 however, a switch in rank at Nissan USA took place that would put the Titan’s fate in the crosshairs of change. Fred Diaz, former CEO of Ram Trucks, the apple pie and baseball of pickups, put in his notice and moved his vision to Franklin, Tennessee to become Senior Vice President of Nissan USA’s Sales & Marketing and Operations. Even before the official title change took place in January, the auto industry and truck fans alike speculated hard at Diaz’s move and the fate of the Titan as a result. Now, all rumor and talk has turned into fact. Here are the goods on what you really want to know about the 2016 Nissan Titan.
First and foremost, the new truck is finally getting another variety of engine. For more than 10 years, the Titan used Nissan’s VK56DE engine. In that timespan, the DOHC V8 saw an uptick in power once, going from 305 hp to 317 hp in 2007. Regardless of its “that’s all you get” horsepower, the V8 made a glorious noise and could hurl the 5,000 lb dinosaur to 60 mph in about 7 seconds. While impressive, the Titan failed in that it didn’t offer lesser or more engine options. For 2016, that all changes with confirmed V6, V8, and diesel variants as well as two model sizes – a standard and larger XD.
Nissan will take a big gamble by launching the about 20 inch longer, XD variant first which means, shoppers will have access to one of the most unique engines on the market – a Cummins sourced 5.0 liter diesel V8. Like the Chrysler EcoDiesel, the all-new Cummins is a glow-plug powered powerplant not intended for the heavy-duty market. With roots tracing back to 2007 when Nissan and Cummins entered a partnership, the 310 hp engine makes an astonishing 555 lb-ft of torque or, 135 more than the 3.0L diesel Mopar and gas EcoBoost Ford, and 95 more than the 6.2 liter v8 found in 1500 GMC and Chevrolet trucks. The block is made out of compacted graphite iron. The crankshaft is forged steel. The dual cam heads are alloy while the valve covers are composite. Twin turbocharged, the engine uses Cummins M²™ sequential turbos. like an old FD RX7, and a Bosch High Pressure Common Rail fuel system. Final assembly will take place in Mississippi.
While impressive numbers are to be had from the Cummins, when you move the XD into actual heavy-duty territory i.e. F250s and 2500s, the Titan’s numbers begin to be less glorious as 800 lb-ft is no longer unheard of. According to Nissan however, the XD is a whole new class of truck that fits in between the half-ton and heavy-duty trucks. Do you remember the Dodge Dakota? Nissan clearly does.
Transmission duties for the XD will be held by an all-new Aisin sourced 6 speed automatic which will be matched to the 5.0 liter diesel. An air cooler will help the transmission deal with XD’s more than 12,000 lb towing and 2,000 lb payload capacities and shifts will surely be tried and true as Aisin transmissions are notoriously tough.
Suspension will remain independent front, solid axle rear with leaf springs. The PRO-4X trim will also remain with the electronic rear locker and presumably 2 speed transfer case.
Nissan will unveil more information on the other Titan variant and it’s drivetrain closer to 2016.