With the huge popularity of the pickup truck and the many options they offer, it may be surprising the Nissan Titan only has one engine. While there have been past rumors of the development of additional Nissan Titan engines, Nissan has given some clues why that won’t be happening.
2020 Nissan Titan engine
Unlike its competitors, the Nissan Titan continues to offer just one engine. All trims have the 5.6-liter V-8, which generates 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque, slightly more than last year’s engine. It comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission, replacing the seven-speed automatic. The larger Titan XD also has the same engine and no longer has the Cummins V-8 turbodiesel option, which was available for the 2019 model year.
Other trucks’ engine options
People look to V-8 engines for more power, but newer V-6 engines have more horsepower than in the past due to features like direct injection, variable valve timing, turbocharging, and supercharging. The smaller engines also have less weight and better fuel economy. Most of the other full-size pickup truck options do have an available V-6 engine.
Ford offers four different V-6 engine options for the F-150, with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo the most popular. According to WardsAuto, most 2019 Ford F-150 trucks had a V-6 engine. Wards Intelligence found that 80.8% of 2019 Ford F-150s were assembled with six-cylinder engines, and the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 was installed in 41.8% of the trucks. The V-6 engine became more popular when Ford offered the direct-injected, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5L V-6 on their F-150 for the 2009 model year.
While only 8.3% of 2019 Ram 1500s had six-cylinder engines, according to WardsAuto, 35.2% of Ram Classics built for 2019 had one of two six-cylinder engines. V-6 engines are less popular on General Motors trucks, with 15.5% installed on the Chevrolet Silverado and 2.8% installed on the GMC Sierra. Toyota no longer offers a V-6 for the Tundra, and this engine was last offered on the 2014 model year. There are rumors of a new V-6 engine for the next-generation Tundra in model year 2021.
Why the Titan is different
A V-6 engine for the Titan has been rumored for years, including as recently as February 2018. However, it’s currently unlikely. “We don’t have any plans immediately for the V-6,” Chris Day, senior manager-powertrain for Nissan told WardsAuto.
Nissan does have V-6 engines in other vehicles. V-6 engines are available in the mid-size Nissan Frontier pickup truck and in some of the Nissan crossovers. The Frontier’s engine is a 4.0-liter VQ V-6, which is 15 years old and wouldn’t have the emissions and fuel-economy ratings for use in future Titans. Nissan’s GT-R sports car has a 565-horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6, but that is a much lighter vehicle than the Titan.
Cost might be a major hurdle
One reason given for dropping the diesel engine on the Titan XD, which could also explain why additional engine options have not been added, is cost. Nissan’s Global Program Director for trucks, Rich Miller, mentioned both the cost of meeting emission standards as well as the lower sales of the diesel engine. Nissan is able to reallocate funds away from improving emissions on the diesel engine toward other uses on the Titan.
Nissan has also announced they would offer fewer versions for the 2020 Titan. The regular cab body has been eliminated for 2020 on both the Titan and Titan XD in addition to the XD’s diesel engine. “For our 2020 Titan, we’re focusing our investment on a tighter lineup with emphasis on models like our popular PRO-4X,” said Tiago Castro, director, North American Light Commercial Vehicles Business Unit, Nissan North America. This change allows Nissan to focus its efforts on delivering what it called “more-advanced models.” In an additional cost saving move, Nissan also recently announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs.
At this point, if you’re holding out hope for a V-6 engine on the Nissan Titan, it’s unlikely to arrive before a design refresh. LMC Automotive estimates that won’t be until model year 2026.