The Nissan Titan Causing A Shake Up In The Truck Segment


The truck market is an iconic market for manufacturers. The big three focus billions of dollars on this segment. The stronger the truck is, the better the customer perception is of the entire truck and SUV line up for that manufacturer. Not to mention that truck sales are high profit and high volume.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

The new Nissan Titan XD comes with a 5.0-Liter Cummins engine.

With this segment being so important to the portfolio of a manufacturer, the big three focus heavily on “Best In Class” in almost every category. It isn’t uncommon for ratings to get bumped mid-year, just to reclaim a title after another manufacturer introduces their ratings. Looking at Nissan’s official press info, they have realized the importance of “Best In Class” and are poised to play the numbers game as well this year.

What are some of the big categories that manufacturers compete in? Well, we are talking truck, so towing and payload are major players. In recent years, fuel economy has become important category for multiple reasons (more on this later) and equally important is power. Power is so important, that manufacturers actually cling to titles in both torque and horsepower. After these five big categories, then you have head room, leg room, cabin volume and the rest of the usual suspects.

So, let’s take a look at how the 2016 Nissan Titan stacks up!

2016 Nissan Titan XD



Half-Ton Tow Ratings

Manufacture Rating
’15 Ford 12,200lbs
’16 Nissan 12,000lbs*
’15 Chevrolet/GMC 12,000lbs
’15 Ram 10,650lbs
’15 Toyota 10,500lbs
*=rating subject to change

The tow rating has been a rating that has exploded in recent years with the domestic manufacturers. This is one of those categories that manufacturers hang their hats on. So, for Nissan to play ball, they need huge capability. Ford, currently, has the “Best In Class” towing capacity of any brand with a maximum rating of 12,200 pounds.

Nissan took this opportunity to be the first manufacturer in the half-ton segment to offer a factory integrated gooseneck hitch. With the ability to distribute more of the weight of a trailer over the entire vehicle, this feature alone could help Nissan grab the “Best In Class” title from Ford.

At time of press, the Nissan Titan has a max tow rating of 12,000 pounds. This is subject to change and if you read between the lines of the press info handed out, you can guess how this will play out.

“In early trials held in sweltering Arizona – the test ground for the new SAE J2807 towing standard- we put more than five tons in a gooseneck trailer and the Titan XD performed with total confidence,” said Fred Diaz, Senior Vice President, Nissan Sales & Marketing and Operations U.S., Nissan North America, Inc.

We don’t have a math degree or anything, but from what we know, if you add “more than” five tons (10,000 pounds) to the weight of most gooseneck trailers, that is greater than 12,000 pounds. We expect that just before the Titan’s go on sale, this 12,000 pound rating will be bumped. How high, only time will tell but they are poised to gain this title. (Could be a major blow and one that Ford has been known to fight for in the other truck categories.)

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Titan has an available gooseneck receiver.




Half-Ton Payload Ratings

Manufacture Rating
’15 Ford 3,300lbs
’15 Chevrolet/GMC 2,270lbs
’15 Toyota 2,080lbs
’16 Nissan 2,000lbs*
’15 Ram 1,650lbs
*=rating subject to change

The vast majority of truck owners never come close to maxing out their payload capacity of the truck. As the capability of these trucks continues to increase, not many of us will be putting the equivalent of a small car in the bed of our trucks. But none the less, there are those who haul raw materials like rock, gravel, sand and other construction materials that do care about this rating and it certainly is a number manufacturers fight over.

Well, that is until Ford trumped everything with a 3,300 pound rating. By Ford moving over to an all aluminum body, they saved a lot of weight. Instead of lighting up the frame and suspension, they moved that extra weight over to their payload rating. It appears that even Nissan isn’t willing to fight for this “Best In Class” title as their truck is starting out with an initial rating of 2,000 pounds.


The EcoDiesel just sips fuel.

Fuel Economy

Half-Ton Fuel Economy Ratings

Manufacture Rating (city/hwy)
’15 Ram 20/28
’15 Chevrolet/GMC 18/24
’15 Toyota 15/19
’15 Ford N/A
’16 Nissan N/A

Manufacturers have two major reasons to focus on fuel economy. First, with the CAFE ratings going up, manufacturers need to raise their averages to avoid heavy penalties. Second, over the past decade, fuel prices have had more and more of an impact on people’s budgets. As a direct result, miles per gallon has become one of the ways people shop for new vehicles. With fuel prices peaking in April (According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration) people are still conscious of mpg.

Currently, Ford and Nissan are in a game of poker with neither willing to show their cards yet. Nissan has repeatedly mentioned increased fuel economy, emphasizing especially when towing (up to 20 percent) but no official numbers are being released. Ford just switched to an all-aluminum body and has significantly reduced the weight of their truck.




Half-Ton Horsepower Ratings

Manufacture Rating
’15 Chevrolet/GMC 420 HP
’15 Ram 395 HP
’15 Ford 385 HP
’15 Toyota 381 HP
’16 Nissan 310 HP*
*=Cummins Diesel. Gas engines haven’t been announced yet

The functions of a truck rely more on torque than horsepower. Yet, when it comes to buying a truck and which engine people chose, horsepower is the predominate language most people speak. People just understand horsepower more, especially in the half-ton market where for the post 3 almost 4 decades only gas engines were offered (with the exception of the EcoDiesel recently).

All that being said, horsepower still plays a key role in how much fun a truck is to drive. The horsepower and torque game is actually in the midst of a major change. It used to be that the manufacturers offered one six cylinder engine that got ok fuel economy and then lots of big V8 engines. Now, most of the manufacturers are working on offering multiple six cylinder engines and one V8. Ford has actually downsized their offerings so much, that the smallest engine is almost half that of their largest (2.7 EcoBoost vs 5.0 Ti-VCT).

Ram looked to their EcoDiesel for great fuel economy, not power. While most people who drive one, will tell you it has enough power, Ram’s major focus was on fuel economy (and they are easily the class leader). For Nissan, they are keeping tight lipped on their gas offerings. We do know there will be an all new V8 gas engine and an “advanced” V6, but no details have been released. What we do know is the Cummins has 310 horsepower

2016 Nissan Titan XD



Half-Ton Torque Ratings

Manufacture Rating
’16 Nissan 555 lb.-ft.*
’15 Chevrolet/GMC 460 lb.-ft.
’15 Ford 420 lb.-ft.
’15 Ram 420 lb.-ft.*
’15 Toyota 401 lb.-ft.
*= Diesel

Torque is really the brute strength of the truck. How much “oomph” does it have and what can it do. When you get down to the nitty gritty, torque is what gets the job done.

“Our strategy for our diesel engine is to not only center on better fuel economy but we also have to deliver on the performance of a diesel engine. Where you get a lot of tenacity when you are accelerating or on a grade climb. It is that feeling that the engine always has more to give. You never run out and hit the top of the torque curve or top of the peek. It is always wanting to give you more than you ask for,” explained Rich Miller, Director of Product Planning and Titan Chief Product Specialist.

Miller’s comments pretty much sum up what most of us want. I want to know that there is more left in the tank for when I need it. Normally, when you start comparing torque ratings, you would assume that if a diesel is in the mix with a bunch of gas engines, the diesel will have the most torque. Well, Ram’s EcoDiesel comes up way short of that. In fact, the EcoDiesel only bests the Toyota Tundra.

With the entry of the 5.0-Liter Cummins, Nissan is sitting proudly on top as “Best In Class” when it comes to torque. The 555 lb.-ft. of torque is almost 100 more than GM’s mighty 6.2-Liter.


While this marks Nissan’s second generation of truck in the full size segment, it is quite apparent that they are not being passive and trying to slowly gain market share. They have done their homework and at least on paper, are bringing a truck to market that is quite a contender. Only time will tell what the final tow and payload ratings will be, or how the two gasoline engines will play into things. We here at Diesel Army, do greatly appreciate their huge commitment to their new diesel engine. With a limited initial offering of truck being solely diesel, we are excited to see how not only consumers respond but how competition manufactures as the Titan starts grabbing more Best In Class titles.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Want to know more?

If you are interested in finding out more about the Titan, click here for the official release. Nissan does a great job walking around the truck and explaining what the truck has to offer. If you would like to see more specs on the Titan XD Crew Cab, they are listed below.

(We have, also, done an in-depth article specifically on the 5.0 Cummins engine itself, just click here.)

More specs specifically on the Titan XD Crew Cab Short Bed.

Body and Bed

  • Bold, commanding presence with fresh, modern technical feel
  • 151.6-inch wheelbase, 242.9-inch overall length
  • 6.5-foot bed length
  • LED headlights with signature Daytime Running Lights
  • LED bulb taillights
  • Integrated cab and tailgate spoilers
  • LED Bed Rail Lighting
  • Tailgate illumination
  • Lockable, removable in-bed storage that can hold a wide range of essential work and recreational equipment, and is watertight and drainable
  • Cargo area/tailgate lamps and LED bed lighting
  • Spray-on bedliner
  • Utili-track Bed Channel System with adjustable aluminum-alloy tie-down cleats
  • Two-way dampened tailgate assist
  • Step rails for improved for cabin and bed entry/exit and aerodynamic efficiency
  • Bed-mounted 120-volt utility power point
  • Laminated side glass

Engine and Driveline

  • Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel with Cummins M2 two-stage turbo system
  • Bosch® HPCR fuel system
  • Compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block
  • 310 horsepower @ 3,200 rpm and 555 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
  • Heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission
  • Available Electronic Locking Rear Differential
  • More than 2,000-pound maximum payload capacity (when properly equipped)
  • More than 12,000 pounds maximum towing capacity (when properly equipped)

Suspension, Steering and Braking

  • Double-wishbone front suspension with stabilizer bar
  • Rigid axle /leaf spring rear suspension
  • Twin-tube shock absorbers
  • Available Bilstein mono-tube shocks
  • Recirculating ball type high-capacity steering system
  • 4-wheel ventilated discs, 14.2 x 1.5-inch front/14.4 x 1.2-inch rear, hydraulic power assist
  • 17-inch, 18-inch or available 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • LT245/75R17, LT 275/65R18 or LT265/60R20 tires

Towing and Driving Aids

  • Trailer Light Check
  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
  • RearView Monitor with Trailer Guides
  • Trailer Sway Control
  • Integrated Gooseneck Hitch
  • Tow/Haul Mode with Downhill Speed Control
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Brake Limited-Slip Differential (LSD)
  • Available electronic locking rear differential (when properly equipped)
  • Around View Monitor (AVM)
  • Moving Object Detection (MOD)
  • Blind Spot Warning (BSW)
  • Front and Rear Sonar Sensors

Interior Features

  • Available Zero Gravity front and rear seats
  • Leather-appointed seating
  • Available Climate-controlled front seats (heating and cooling)
  • Available heated front and rear seats
  • Fold-up 2nd row seat
  • Lockable rear underseat storage compartment with fold-out flat floor
  • Large center console storage with room for 15-inch laptop computer
  • Automatic Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Supplemental cabin heater (diesel-equipped models)
  • Interior cabin filter
  • Remote Start with Auto Temp Control
  • 12-volt and 120-volt power outlets (150 and 400 watt)
  • NissanConnectSM with Navigation and Mobile Apps
  • NissanConnectSM Services Powered by SiriusXM (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately)
  • 7.0-inch color touch-screen display
  • Column shifter with manual shift control
  • Tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with 12 speakers

About the author

Chad Westfall

With diesel running through his veins from childhood, Chad has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. From editorial work to wrenching, there isn’t much he hasn't conquered head-on. When he’s not writing and shooting trucks and tech, you’ll find him in the shop working on turning the ideas floating around in his head into reality.
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