First Drive: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Gas – Just Like a Tundra?
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to drive the new gas XD version of the 2016 Nissan Titan with its 5.6L V8 Endurance engine through the hilly terrain of Tennessee. After thinking over the drive, it is pretty clear to me this Titan could be the best Tundra competitor yet. Here’s why.
First, before I get too far, yes, I do realize the XD is a heavy-duty half-ton and is technically not in the same “class” as the Toyota Tundra. Yet, I don’t really care about that fact when the classes are so close. For example, the maximum towing capacity of a 4×2 gas is 11,270 and the maximum payload is 2,594. The Tundra has a maximum payload of 2,060 lbs and a maximum towing capacity of 10,400 lbs. These trucks then are separated by a few hundred pounds on both maxed out specs and are likely a bit closer when comparing “average truck” configurations.
What does this mean in reality? It means, the Titan can carry a 4wheeler in the bed while towing a load and the Tundra can not. Also, it means the Titan can carry a few more 4wheelers than the Tundra. That’s it folks. When you really break down the max towing and payload, the difference really needs to be in the thousands to signify a big difference (see: 3/4 and 1 ton trucks).
Now, if you are one of those who considers the Tundra to be “over built” like many people do, then you know its components are more of the 3/4-ton variety than a half-ton. Items like larger brakes, hitch and its frame are all stout components. I would argue this overbuilt half-ton mentality was used on both the XD and Tundra and this makes them even more similar.
What Are the Big Differences Between the Nissan Titan 5.6L V8 and Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8?
If payload and towing is pretty similar as well as many of the same components, then the engine has to be quite a bit different right? Yes and no. Nissan says the 5.6L Endurance V8 produces 390 HP @ 5,800 RPMs and 401 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPMs. The Tundra produces 381 HP @5,600 RPMs and 401 lb-ft of torque @3,600 RPMs. Basically, the Titan has slightly more HP and the Tundra has more torque off the line with the lower RPMs needed to tap into the torque.
What then about compression ratio? The Tundra’s compression ratio is 10.2:1 whereas the Titan is 11.2:1. The difference here has to do with fuel efficiency as more compression equals maximizing how the fuel is burned.
Lastly, the bore to stroke ratio between the two is 3.86 x 3.6 inches for the Titan and 3.70 x 4.02 inches for the Tundra. This is also an important difference.
Generally, the bore/stroke ratio and engine torque are related, at least at lower RPMs. If the bore (piston diameter) is less than the stroke (length of travel between bottom and top of stroke), the engine generates more torque at a lower RPM.
So, for towing and off-the-line acceleration (which is what truck owners care about), a smaller bore than stroke is a good thing. Also, all things being equal, a smaller bore than stroke is more fuel efficient.
However, there are a lot of caveats:
- When the stroke is longer than the bore is wide, peak horsepower suffers a bit
- The internals in engines with strokes longer than bores generally have to be more robust, as they face greater stresses at high RPMs
- Engines with strokes longer than bores are often redline limited, meaning that they can’t go over a certain RPM without potentially spinning apart
- Longer strokes tend to make engines harder to balance and thus lead to more vibration
- Longer stroke than bore can limit options for supercharging, turbocharging, etc. (just depends on design specs)
Is the Tundra V8 Engine Still Good?
While the Tundra engineers have overcome the limits of their engine design, it does lead many to wonder how good can it be considering it is now over 10 years old.
“Nissan’s newest 5.6L has a good compression ratio (which helps with gas mileage), but it’s still a short stroke engine, which means it just can’t generate the kind of torque that Toyota’s 5.7L can generate at lower RPMs.”said Jason Lancaster, Tundraheadquarters.com owner. “Nissan makes up for this by offering more gears in their transmission, so it’s probably quite similar in terms of usability.
Still, Toyota’s 5.7L is a great engine. It’s proven reliable, and it’s quite comparable to engines that are many years newer.”
As for Nissan, their higher compression ratio definitely makes for a more efficient engine, but their (slightly) short stroke design is inherently less fuel efficient than Toyota’s long stroke setup. This will probably be a push when you factor everything together. However, a few more gears for the Tundra could help push that truck to better MPGs if Toyota decides to focus on fuel economy.
Finally, I do think saying Nissan’s new 5.6L engine is pretty comparable to the Tundra’s 5.7L is a compliment. The 5.7L iForce V8 has been one of the top large displacement, non-turbo, half-ton engines around for years. If Nissan’s engine proves to be as reliable as the Tundra’s engine, they really could have something.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons