By on August 6, 2019

Far from being the first choice among full-size truck buyers, the Nissan Titan and Titan XD are at least earning attention from their builders — and the latest alteration will earn a chorus of boos from those who worship at the altar of all things Cummins.

With a refreshed lineup on the way, Nissan has confirmed that the 5.0-liter diesel V8 available in the nearly-three-quarter-ton Titan XD will disappear by the end of the year.

The confirmation comes by way of The Drive, which learned that diesel Titans will cease production in Canton, Mississippi by December 2019. By that time, we’ll already be well-acquainted with the refreshed Titan/Titan XD duo launching for the 2020 model year.

“This will help better position Nissan in the long term as we prepare for the launch of the new, dramatically refreshed 2020 Titan and Titan XD Gas later this year,” said a Nissan spokesperson said of the diesel ditching.

No figures are available on just how unpopular the diesel option was. Certainly, after seeing a spike in sales following the second-generation Titan’s 2016MY debut — as well as the introduction of the tweener XD model — volume stagnated, then fell, despite Nissan offering a bevy of bodystyles and packages (not to mention a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty).

Nissan TITAN XD Snow Plow Prep Package

Through the end of July, combined Titan sales are down 25.7 percent over the same period last year; July saw a year-over-year drop of 43.6 percent. Compare that to the perpetually popular Ford F-150 or new Ram 1500, whose volume exponentially outstrips the Titan’s. The ancient midsize Frontier outsells its bigger brothers by nearly 2 to 1.

One problem Nissan faces is its engines. With no (comparatively) fuel-sipping V6 on offer, a customer’s only choice in the Titan is a 5.6-liter V8 and the dismal fuel economy that comes with it. Titan XD owners, at least up until December, have the option of a 5.6-liter gas V8 or the Cummins, rated at 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque.

It’s worth noting that more than three-quarters of F-150 buyers opt for the Blue Oval’s trio of six-cylinder offerings, including the recently added dual-injection 3.3-liter.

Whether or not Nissan bestows a V6 or a thriftier V8 on its “dramatically refreshed” pickups remains to be seen, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.

[Images: Nissan]

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67 Comments on “Oil Is Out: Nissan Readies a Refreshed, Diesel-free Titan Line...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    C/D did a long term test of a Titan diesel and it was a complete P.O.S. Sounds like a MAJOR refresh was in order here.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I’ll have to read that. The roofing contractor that’s put two roofs on for us over the years (hailstorms) had just bought a brand new Titan XD with the Cummins when we last had our roof done in the spring of 2016. He had a 100-mile round trip commute (lived on land out in the country) and of course drove a lot during the day, writing estimates and checking on jobs, and told me he’d traded in a Frontier to get the Titan. Makes me wonder now what kind of luck he’s had with the Cummins.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      For anyone interested, here’s the C/D long term test wrap-up of the 2016 Titan XD Cummins, from February 2018:

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15091901/2016-nissan-titan-xd-long-term-test-review/

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    The Titan’s V8 was a gas guzzler even when every private sale half-ton had a V8, although it was also the most powerful option back when it was first released.

    Is the Cummins V8 used by any other truck manufacturer? Are there enough of them out there for long term parts support to be a reasonable hope?

    • 0 avatar

      Looks like just the Nissan considering all the other applications they make engines for I wonder if it’s because of exclusivity with Nissan ort it has issues in other applications.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The trucks that they put it in were hamstrung by the old wide ratio 4 speed, and also heavier, but Chrysler had their reborn Hemi out in the Ram a year before the Titan. On the brochure that was up 40 horses and 20 pound feet. I don’t know how true that was, Nissan was probably sandbagging a bit, but those 12 mpg Rams had guts too.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I talked to a few truck guys who bought the first Titans. They were the easy pick for pickup stoplight grand prix, and the owners liked them a lot until they towed with them. Then the single-digit towing fuel consumption sent them back to Ford and Chevy. I was told the difference in towing fuel consumption was drastic.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I thought some heavy duty Ford platforms like school bus chassis ran them

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This seems very surprising to me, there was a lot of buzz for this engine when it came out, looks like FCA was smart to drop this partnership they almost had for this engine.
    I see quite a few of them running around but I haven’t heard anything about it since they came out, diesel emissions equipment destroy everything they touch. The trusty old 5.6L pulls through I suppose.

    Nissan should have designed a big block instead of this, it would certainly be cheaper on customers and Nissan warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Honestly the problem with both the Titan and Tundra is the price, truck buyers weren’t stung nearly as bad in the 80-90-00-10s as American manf car buyers. They need something to stand out of the established competition if they want to win sales.
      Selling these trucks at the same or more than the big 3 with decent engines (why OHC? What’s this 1980?) and so so styling just isn’t the solution. GM has shown they’re willing to give up the 3rd position for American truck builder as long as their excuse department still has the funds to create synergy in ideas.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        You can get Titans very cheap (when comparing equivalent equipment levels). The problem with the Titan is it really doesn’t stand out all that much. It’s actually not a bad vehicle (it’s engine is decent as you say, and its ride and handling is actually up there with the best in the segment imho), but it has no hook. It doesn’t really do anything better than the Ford/GM/Ram.

        Tundra is outdated, but sells on Toyota name, reliability, and resale.

        • 0 avatar

          I think I agree whynot. The Tundra sells to Toyota people. The Titan was kind of always just an alternative, given the money they plow into trucks it’s hard to outdue the big three (pickup makers). I think they were hoping they would get more pull from the cummins then they did. They tried to shoot for a middle that didn’t exist. Diesel guys either what mileage and torque for light towing (1/2 ton and colorado diesel) or max pulling power (Cummins Power Stroke Duramax) It would seem logical there is a middle ground but in actuality I’m not sure there is.
          I think they could have potentially captured more of the RV towing market but the payloads on the XD were a bit subpar for the 5th wheel guys.

  • avatar
    whynot

    Hopefully the dramatic refresh fixes the looks and interior. The Titan is surprisingly competent otherwise.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Up to this point, Nissan has provided everything truck enthusiasts said they wanted:
    – Taller/larger
    – V8, displacement, powahhhhh
    – Diesel diesel diesel

    And now we want to kick them for “dismal fuel economy”?

    So fickle.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Honestly the 5.6L doesn’t have bad fuel economy, fickle journalists more like it, I say the issue is price. Japanese had no trouble getting a foot hold with cheap mini trucks. I don’t see the same level of give a crap in this segment from them.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I agree, the current 5.6L in the Titan is strong and its MPG is in line with others’ gas V8s. As has been mentioned, they seem very competent all around, just no standout features to make anyone want to jump ship.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know looking at Fuelly it looks like the Titans average 2-3 MPG less then the 5.3 5.7 and 5.0. But about equal the Tundra which is also generally panned for MPG.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Fair point, Fuelly is showing a 5.0L F150 outperforming the Titan’s 5.6L by 1-1.5 mpg on average. Not huge, but the spread of the graph definitely shows an advantage for Ford, same story for Ram 1500s with the hemi, perhaps even more-so, and Chevy’s AFM equipped 5.3 is a smidge better yet.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            People who have to worry about fuel economy ought not to buy a truck.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            A positive point about the Titan (and Tundra) is the lack of cylinder deactivation and stop/start. YMMV on if the fuel savings those systems provide are worth it.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            For many contractors buying a Titan has meant buying a work truck with many amenities not found in the Big Three W/T series, like V8, Cruise Control, Tow Hitch, etc, for a much lower acquisition cost.

          • 0 avatar

            Well as to fuel economy. If you didn’t have all these buyers in the market I doubt you would see the development money getting spent that have made pickups what they are.

            I think one of the undersold things that effects this is modern family life. Back in my youth of the 80’s and 90’s lots of Dads had pickup’s but they were used for work, home improvement camping and commuting (usually to a union job). Going out to dinner or the beach or a soccer game meant using the other family car mini van sedan SUV. Now with scheduling of kids lots of times you have kids going in multiple directions and car seat requirements. This happened to coincide with ext cab and crew cabs that meant you could stay in a pickup but still haul the kids. I think all of this resulted in the trucks being used much more then they used too and the mileage affecting it more and more.

    • 0 avatar

      I think they went overboard on styling and the engine honestly. Plus I think making it a real 3/4 ton may have worked better.

      As to fuel economy go check any truck forums out there and there will be tons of very long threads on fuel economy, as much as people says it doesn’t matter it does.

      • 0 avatar
        Robotdawn

        Fuel economy must matter if that many Fords are V6s. That’s just unimaginable to me. One of the side reasons to get a truck nowadays is it’s one of the last class of vehicles with a NA V8. In fact, GM deciding they may go downmarket with the 6.2 might make me consider trading my truck before it’s paid off, which I’ve never done before.

        I would imagine given Nissan was likely selling most of their trucks on price, Dodge’s decision to sell the classic at fire-sale prices is responsible for this year’s decline.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          One notes that Ford’s success with V6 pickups came as a direct result of ignoring what the enthusiasts were telling them.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          “GM deciding they may go downmarket with the 6.2”

          When? Source?

          I want one too.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            gmauthority.com/blog/2019/05/2020-chevrolet-silverado-gets-expanded-6-2l-v8-and-10-speed-transmission-availability/

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The GM 5.3L costs <$1400 more than the wheezing 2.7T 4-banger. Even at $2500 more for the 6.2L it would be a bargain and best-seller for pickup truck enthusiasts.

            There’s no replacement for displacement.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            ~75% of F-150 customers disagree.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The Ford turbo V6s have better driving characteristics for trucks than current NA V8s. More torque down low, flatter powerband. The only disadvantage is they sound like vacuum cleaners.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            and their long term reliability is still in question.

          • 0 avatar
            Robotdawn

            @ Toolguy
            I hear you. Maybe GM should stop listening to their truck focus groups. Focus groups say V8 only. Ford sells more V6 trucks than GM sells trucks. Focus groups say trucks should look manly, and the soft looking RAM starts outselling the manly looking Silverado.
            Lesson to be learned here is the growth in truck sales is not from people who own trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Manly” doesn’t mean “gargoyle ugly” and “V8” doesn’t mean “slowest with bad throttle response unless you jump over a big paywall”.

            I don’t think the focus groups are all wrong, I think GM just has bad execution. Expanding the trim availability of the 6.2L should help (assuming they don’t charge $10k for it) although they probably need to make it the volume engine at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No, reliability really isn’t in question at this point, given how high the volume of pickup sales is and how intensively many of them get used.

            In fact, for the latest generation of engines, it’s fair to say that the Ford turbos have done better than the GM NA V8s. And the first-generation 3.5 has accumulated a very impressive record, after working out a timing chain stretch issue in the first couple of years.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            @dal

            So their reliability is good because they sell a lot of them and those that buy them use them hard. Ummmm… Ok.

            So by that logic, GM2900 body cars were reliable.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “they sell a lot of them and those that buy them use them hard”

            AND

            despite that, no major common problems have been reported other than timing chain stretch in the earliest first-generation 3.5s.

            With something like a Big 3 pickup, if there’s a problem, you know about it within 3 years.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I see your reasoning dal20402, but in my experience Ford’s truck customers have an infinite appetite for expensive design flaws. How many years did they get away with selling 5.4 and 6.8 liter Tritons with bad chain tensioners, shallow spark plug threads, crack-prone exhaust manifolds, and snap-prone exhaust studs fitted to pickups with rocker panels that rusted out in a couple years and brake lines that were soon to follow? I’ve seen new Fords towed in because electrolysis fused their low quality wheels to their low quality hubs. Then there are the diesels. Why do they have repeat customers? They’re like the Democrats who still get votes in places they’ve already reduced to third world conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      I owned two Titans in the past (with the same 5.6L engine). Nothing wrong with them, but it was not very efficient. I averaged 13-14mpg. We now own two Rams with the 5.7L Hemi. I now average 18-19mpg. The cylinder deactivation really works.

      The one thing I didn’t like about the Titan was the sloped windshield, which combined with tall seat made me (6’4″) look through top of windshield. The cab in the new one looked and felt unchanged when I did a test drive. The Rams have their own problems, but I am pretty happy with them and see no compelling reason to switch back.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “The Rams have their own problems, but I am pretty happy with them and see no compelling reason to switch back.”

        That sums it up pretty well. 15 years ago, with trucks only halfway to family car and malaise only just behind us it was easy to offer something that the competition didn’t. The 04 Titan was a revelation. That’s not an import vs. domestic thing, all of the redesigns left the old ones for dead.

        Today they’re all so good that there’s nowhere left to stand out. So why even look at an upstart?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There’s a reason why the RAM line has overtaken the GM lines in sales, and I think it is due to better ride, better handling, better interiors, better power-to-weight ratio and much better styling on RAM’s part.

  • avatar
    seneca75

    Recently went out to buy a new truck. Looked at Titan and F-150. Since I drive 800 mile trips regularly the Titan diesel was a consideration, but after doing the math it didn’t make sense. Load capacity is less and the gas mileage advantage was minimal. I purchased an F-150 2.7L EcoBoost and couldn’t be happier. Getting 23 mpg overall and it is far more comfortable and handles better than the Titan.

  • avatar

    I really don’t see many of the current gen Titans the previous gen was pretty common. Most that I do see are loaded up XD’s. But then again none of the dealers near me seem to stock more then 2-3 at a time.
    edit:
    Ouch just checked the two closest dealers one has 4 frontiers and no Titans the other has 13 frontiers and 1 titan. I’m a guessing they sell pretty awful around here.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Check out nissanoflascruces.com

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The old Titan sold pretty well out of the gate but was almost immediately clobbered by gas prices, the recession, and being a decade stale by the time things picked up again. They seem common on the road because you’re looking at 12 years of them but the last 8 or 9 really didn’t sell for chit.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I was speaking more regionally I’m in the North East big 3 dealers have rows and rows of pickups. Toyota dealers will have 5-6 Tundras. But Nissan not so much.
      By seeing the old vs new I realize the production run isn’t the same but, I see old titans daily I see a new one once every few weeks, I see more of the ugly silverados that have been on sale for 6 months then the TItan onsale for 3 years.
      I’m not anti titan either, after Mopar I lean towards Toyota and nissan, but price is the only way I would get the titan over a ram. If the TItan got better MPG or the XD could hold a 3k camper or 5th wheel and ride like a halfton, I would change that and put the Titan higher.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Any idea of when we will see pictures of the refresh?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I saw a Titan regular cab recently. I was surprised as I had no idea they came in a regular cab version.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It seemed the intent of regular cabs was to pimp Titans to fleets, but nope. That’s the only thing that can build Titans into a success.

      Just on a retail level, it’s a mistake to buy any vehicle not mainstream or rare, especially if you intend to beat on it, long term. So the less they sell, the less they sell.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah one of the few new Titans I see is a regular cab with a cap a local contractor owns. Oddly the one new titan for sale within 20 miles of my house is a reg cab XD.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        You gotta watch out for the occasional nonconformist. But you can’t really base a truck-line on them. Except Nissan wants you to buy a Titan like you would an Altima.

        Three or four trim levels, pick your color, gadgets, then sign on the dotted like.

        But hey what about engine choices? This is a “truck”, no? Axle ratios? They’re not devoid of payload, towing or similar packages, except you can’t opt out of them.

        Americans are too used to seeing rows upon rows of pickups with varying options, trim, etc, and not having to order a boutique pickup with very limited choices once they do.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I think the 5/8 ton idea was trying to hit a market that doesn’t really exist. Anyone pulling heavy or hauling a lot of payload is going to want the full 3/4 ton, especially since the Titan didn’t offer much in the way of lower price, lower operating costs, or any benefit vs. a 3/4 ton outside of a marginally improved ride. Anyone looking for more of a daily driver/light loaded truck is going to take a 1/2 ton with better MPG, better ride, etc.

    As for me personally, I didn’t consider a Titan XD because it isn’t available with an 8 foot bed and I won’t buy a truck without one. A gas powered one would have met my needs pretty well, but the long bed is one of the few things I won’t compromise on.

  • avatar
    WalthamDan

    Go to a Ford/Chevy/Ram dealership and you can choose from dozens of models and various trims. Go to a Nissan dealership and you are lucky if they have one in stock. Difficult to sell when there is little product to choose from.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      All true. But Titans come with more content than the Big Three, and often at a much lower price, with $6500 discounts the norm, not the exception.

      Titan and Tundra exist for those buyers who have tried the rest and don’t ever want to go back there.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Disagree. Titan and Tundra especially exist for people that haven’t tried the rest…they have driven Toyotas forever because back in the 80s some relative had an Olds Diesel or an X Body so they know they won’t touch one. The big 3 have done no favors to reverse this thought on cars, but if you are skipping domestic full-sized trucks in favor of Toyota and Nissan you are buying less capability and frankly, an inferior product by most objective metrics.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Art Vandelay, I find your observation interesting since I am one individual who owned GM, Ford and a RAM truck BEFORE switching to a 2011 Tundra, followed by a 2016 Tundra and 2016 Sequoia.

          The number of Tundra and Titan trucks on the road keeps growing. What motivated each of those buyers we will never know, but one thing for certain, every Tundra or Titan sold is one less GM, Ford or RAM sold.

          Bottom line, at least today we in America have a choice. Before Tundra and Titan the only choice we had was bad, worse and worst.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Nissan and Cummins spent a lot of dough developing that package.
    During pre-production I’d see test trucks running all over Indiana.
    High development cost + high warranty + low sales = adios.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Nissan – license ZFs 8 speed, the version used in RAM trucks. It should help MPG a bit.

    I actually like the current Titan but if I absolutely had to have a full size truck I’d probably get a 1500 Classic with Hemi and 4×4.

    If I wanted a midsize I’d try to find a Frontier PRO4X with six speed manual. Lots of equipment for the price.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      PrincipalDan I’m right there with you, except I’d be comparing prices on new Classics or barely used Ram 1500s with 3-4 year old F150 XLTs. Those two strike me as the best values/best features, the F150 for the rust-proof body and bed specifically. Had a ride in a friend’s ’15 XLT 5.0L Supercab FX4 while towing a car trailer through Indiana farm country and caught myself thinking “damn, I would like one of these.”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m in New Mexico.

        If you see a rusty truck it was either involved in an accident and poorly repaired, abused like crazy, very old, or worked in the mining industry.

        I have seen a few Dodges with the dreaded wheel well rust but you could also tell it was the folks who let mud get packed up in the wells and never wash it out. I’d wager a little Line-X or Rhino Liner in the rear wheel wells would make the RAM pretty rust proof.

        We don’t use salt, just “grit” during the winter.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    There’s a big used car store in Florida that specializes in off lease cars, cars that have been in some sort of an accident or some other sort of car that is a bit undesirable to certify and sell at a brand dealership. They always have 5-6 Nissan’s XDs in stock with relatively low miles ( often under 10,000). This dealership is very open and never hides the fact that their cars have been in a wreck. They provide Carfax and autocheck and even if those are clean, they disclose upon their own inspection of there was an accident. Every time I saw a Nissan XD there, it was a manufacture buy back ( Lemon). Coincidece? I don’t know. I’ve never seen other buy backs but VWs Tdi after the diesel scandal and factory refit.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    The issue with the 5.0 Cummins is that it came out a decade and a half late, in the height of overzealous engine-killing emissions controls. If this were made before ’08 it would likely have been comparable in durability to the 24V Cummins in the Ram.


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