2016 Nissan Titan Cummins Diesel: Everything We Know

Illustration for article titled 2016 Nissan Titan Cummins Diesel: Everything We Know
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

A Japanese automaker taking on The Big Three wouldn't be a big story in any market, except trucks. The completely redesigned Cummins-diesel powered 2016 Nissan Titan is posturing to really shake up the American truck market. Here's everything we know about it so far.

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Quick And Dirty:

  • First redesign since vehicle's introduction in 2003
  • Unveil date: 1/12/15
  • Cummins turbo diesel V8
  • Gooseneck-hitch towing (heavy pulling power)

We know for sure that the long-overdue revision of the Nissan Titan will drop January 12, and will be offered with a Cummins turbo diesel 5.0 V8. We've been hearing this hyped up and seeing the goofy "#CumminsSoon" tag for months, but you can't deny the importance of Nissan taking on the big boys of the US truck market by partnering with a well-established brand that feels 'murican as it gets.

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We also also know the new Titan going to have serious towing capacity; you don't bother running a gooseneck hitch for hooking up some dinky Home Depot rental trailer. I've gotta believe a Cummins V8 will out-heave the current class-leading Ford EcoBoost V6, the question will be whether Nissan can engineer a frame strong enough to let its new engine beat the 2015 Ford F-150's obscene 12,200 pound towing capacity.

Here's the official word from Cummins on the 5.0 they developed in conjunction with Nissan for the new Titan:

"This new engine will offer the right balance of power, performance and fuel economy while delivering the dependability that customers expect. With a torque rating in the mid-500s (lb-ft) and more than 300 horsepower, the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel will provide light truck customers the combination of towing capacity and mileage that is expected in the highly-competitive North American truck marketplace."

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We haven't heard anything about other engine options or trim levels. I'm sure they're keeping a gasoline engine option, but I wonder if they'll drop the Endurance V8 in leu of a large V6 for the base trucks to make an inexpensive option.

Diesel engines are big money... usually like an $8,000 option on the heavy-duty Ford, Chevy, and Ram trucks you can order one in.

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On top of the new Titan's base and mid-level trims we can probably expect some kind of range-topping SV Platinum variant, since all the other truck guys have a $60,000 "luxotruck" half-ton option. It will be interesting to see if they keep the "off-road/premium" PRO-4X trim with uprated shocks and nice seats or move to a luxury-focused range topper.

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DISCUSSION

David_Tracy
David Tracy

In many cases, light duty vehicles' trailer tow ratings are limited by available cooling airflow, not by engine power. As automakers attempt to meet their fuel economy requirements, they are forced to compromise between trailer tow and aerodynamic cooling drag.

Basically: A big grille opening allows you to tow more up Davis Dam, but yields a higher Cd.

But the other major driving force besides fuel economy that limits the size of your grille opening (and thus your cooling airflow and consequently trailer tow) is styling. The well-dressed, scarf-wearing, kale-eatin' bearded guys in the design studio want to make sure their vehicle looks good. The size of the grille openings plays a big part in the vehicle's overall look.

So usually it's the design guys and the fuel economy guys who push back on the brand guys saying: "Look, I know you have this big honkin' engine that has tons of power and could tow the moon up Davis Dam, but we're gonna have to limit your cooling airflow." But, in some cases, the vehicle's architecture can actually limit your trailer tow capability. For example, you might have a vehicle with narrow frame rails and certain other geometric constraints which ultimately limit the dimensions of your cooling module. In other words: open up the grille all you want, but your radiator is small, so you'll still be cooling-limited, not power-limited up Davis Dam.

My point: A bigger, torqueyer engine in the Nissan may not necessarily tow more than Ford's Ecoboost, even though it has lots more torque.