5.6L Endurance V-8 vs 5.0L Cummins V-8 | Nissan Titan XD Comparison

2021 Nissan Titan XD

5.6L Endurance V-8

The Nissan Titan XD is becoming somewhat of a novelty - not because it's not a cool concept, not because its performance is subpar, and not because people don't like the idea of a half ton pickup powered by 300+ cubic inches of raw power from Cummins, the renowned diesel engine manufacturer. Then again, the term "half ton" just might be a significant part of the problem. Technically speaking, the Nissan Titan XD, unlike the standard Nissan Titan, is not a 1/2 ton pickup; but it doesn't quite fit into the 3/4 ton category either. Keeping in mind that 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton are, for all intents and purposes, arbitrary terms with no direct relationship to a truck's physical capabilities, the Nissan Titan XD is in a league of its own. While it seems like a pickup that may bridge the gap between two quintessential categories would be widely popular, it hasn't been.

The big question is whether or not a gasoline powered powertrain will revive the struggling XD platform. While it features up to the same gross vehicle wait rating (GVWR), the 5.6L V-8 powered XD loses some serious weight - the heaviest gas powered XD, according to Nissan, weighs in just 60 lbs heavier than the lightest diesel powered XD.

The updated 5.6L V-8 is impressive; 11.2 to 1 compression on regular 87 octane fuel thanks to a direct injection fuel system helps push the package to nearly 400 horsepower and just north of 400 lb-ft of torque. Horsepower and torque are produced on a high note, but that's not untypical for a gasoline engine. Those figures place the 5.6L powered XD in the middle of the pack when compared to competing 1/2 tons and picking up the rear of available gas powered 3/4 tons (although not necessarily coming in dead last).

Impressive is the 5.6L V-8 powered XD's 7 speed automatic transmission, which features a deep 1st gear reduction and comfortable steps between sequential upshifts. The second overdrive is slightly on the short side at 0.78 to 1, but it looks like Nissan has compensated with a tall 3.36 to 1 axle ratio - with a 4.89 first gear ratio, you'll never know that this truck's rear end is stuffed with highway gears. When compared to the Cummins powered XD, the 5.6L version's revs at 55 mph are only 90 rpm higher.

The 5.6L powered Titan XD may be preferred to the Cummins powered variation do to its greater payload, and it manages to maintain reasonable conventional and gooseneck tow ratings.

5.6l Gas Titan Quick Specs

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

Rev

4.89 : 1

3.17 : 1

2.03 : 1

1.41 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.86 : 1

0.78 : 1

4.04 : 1

Manufacturer:

Nissan Motors

Displacement:

339 cid, 5.6 liters

Configuration:

90° V-8

Bore x Stroke:

3.858" x 3.622"

Block/Heads:

Aluminum engine block, aluminum cylinder heads

Compression Ratio:

11.2 : 1

Injection:

Direct injection

Aspiration:

Naturally aspirated

Horsepower:

390 hp @ 5,800 rpm

Torque:

401 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

Emissions:

50 state emissions compliant

Fuel:

Gasoline, regular unleaded (87 octane)

Axle Ratio (Final Drive):

3.36 : 1

Curb Weight:

6,005 - 6,769 lbs, varies with configuration

Max GVWR:

8,992 lbs

Max Payload:

2,500 lbs

Max GCWR:

17,700 lbs

Max Conv. Tow:

11,270 lbs

Max 5th Wheel Tow:

11,380 lbs

Powertrain Warranty:

5 year/60,000 mile

Fuel Economy:

Not rated by EPA do to GVWR

Note - exact capabilities vary by configuration; refer to manufacturer's specifications. All specifications based on 2016 model year production vehicle.

Nissan Titan XD Cummins diesel

5.0L Cummins V-8

Fun to drive? Sure. Practical? Why not. Conversation piece? Of course, it's powered by a 310 horsepower Cummins turbodiesel. But imagine the same powertrain in a pickup platform that is a little more realistic; and a little less like boat anchor.

The biggest problem that the Nissan Titan XD faces is its size - it's a monstrosity. Not in terms of physical dimensions, but it's curb weight tips the scales into 3/4 ton diesel pickup territory. Meanwhile, it's capabilities fail to outshine even 1/2 ton competitors, save for taking the title for maximum tow by a measly 114 lbs (12,314 lbs for the 2016 Nissan Titan XD, 12,200 lbs for a properly equipped Ford F-150). To truly shine, the platform needs to edge out 1/2 ton competitors and fall somewhere behind the 3/4 tons...but it doesn't.

The advantageous aspect of the XD's size is that, do its high GVWR, the EPA does not rate fuel economy and therefore Nissan does not need to publish it. To be fair, the Cummins is reportedly good on fuel, particularly while towing, and who would expect any less. However, the XD doesn't come close to Ram's 29 mpg EcoDiesel. Even though the two trucks were designed for very different purposes, the EcoDiesel is still rated to tow up to 9,200 lbs for 2016 - that's quite a load for a 182 cubic inch fuel sipper.

The Nissan Titan XD's greatest attribute is the 304 cubic inches of Indiana diesel power wedged between fully boxed frame rails. The heavy duty Aisin six speed automatic transmission serves as another selling point, rounding off the impressive powertrain package. And yet the Nissan Titan XD's sales data is dreadful, unless Nissan was planning on appealing to a very small niche market. Pickuptrucks.com reports that Nissan sold a whopping 896 XD's for the month of June 2016. Meanwhile, Ram sold 38,000 units, General Motors sold nearly 67,000 pickups (Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models cumulatively), and over 70,000 Ford F-Series left dealer lots.

Either the XD is a greatly guarded secret, or potential truck buyers aren't sold on the package. It doesn't help the the XD comes with a hefty price tag - a loaded XD enters the $60,000 range rather quickly for those who want all the amenities and upgrades. At that price. why not step up to a true 3/4 ton and acquire more capability in the process? We assume that's the dilemma people are facing. One thing can be said for certain - the Cummins under the hood is certainly not the problem.

5.0L Diesel Titan Quick Specs

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

Rev

3.74 : 1

2.00 : 1

1.34 : 1

1.00 : 1

0.77 : 1

0.63 : 1

3.54 : 1

Manufacturer:

Cummins Inc

Displacement:

5.0 liters, 304 cid

Configuration:

60° V-6

Bore x Stroke:

3.70" x 3.54"

Block/Heads:

Compact graphite iron (CGI) engine block, aluminum alloy cylinder heads

Compression Ratio:

16.3 : 1

Injection:

Direct injection, high pressure common rail

Turbocharger:

Holset two stage turbocharger, intercooled

Horsepower:

310 hp @ 3,200 rpm

Torque:

555 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

Emissions:

EGR, DPF, DOC, SCR (requires the use of DEF)

Fuel:

Diesel, up to B20 biodiesel compatible

Axle Ratio (Final Drive):

3.92 : 1

Curb Weight:

6,709 - 7,480 lbs, varies with configuration

Max GVWR:

8,992 lbs

Max Payload:

2,091 lbs

Max GCWR:

19,455 lbs

Max Conv. Tow:

12,314 lbs

Max 5th Wheel Tow:

11,827 lbs

Powertrain Warranty:

5 year/100,000 mile

Fuel Economy:

Not rated by EPA do to GVWR

Sources: nissanusa.com, pickuptrucks.com