It has been known for awhile that Nissan was working with Cummins on a diesel engine for its full-size Titan pickup, but few would have predicted the 5.0 liter V8 that was delivered. Apparently, the 5.0 liter Cummins going into the Nissan Titan was originally going to be used in Ram truck too, back when Chrysler and Nissan planned to co-develop pickups together.
Originally Cummins was said to be working on a smaller, 2.8 liter diesel four-cylinder engine that would be used by Nissan and Chrysler in their identical trucks. But Chrysler’s 2009 bankruptcy put the kibosh on those plans, with Fiat swooping in with a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engine that could get upwards of 26 mpg highway while providing 400 ft-lbs of torque. That’s a winning combination.
But according to sources within Chrysler, it wasn’t just Fiat’s arrival that spurred the use of the smaller diesel engine. The 5.0 liter Cummins V8 is said to return only 23 or 24 mpg, and while its 500 ft-lbs of torque are impressive enough, the 23 mpg 3.5 liter Ford EcoBoost gas engine provides 420 ft-lbs of torque. While not quite as powerful, the EcoBoost is in all likelihood thousands of dollars cheaper than the diesel-powered Titan will end up being. The Ram EcoDiesel option costs just $2,850 more than the gas-powered HEMI V8.
Of course I’ll wait for the official details to pass judgement, but it seems to me the American truck market still needs a small-displacement, high-MPG diesel with torque and a reasonable asking price. Nissan missed the bullseye by going big and trying to compete with domestic diesels, though the gamble might still pay off if the price is right.
Source: Automobile Magazine