First Drive Review: 2016 Nissan Titan XD with 5.6-liter Gas V8 [Video]

2016 Nissan TITAN XD

Starting with a completely revised engine, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter gas V8 is an easier way to enjoy the truck over its diesel brother. It has a completely different driving personality when compared to the Titan XD with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8.

Having 390 horsepower and 401 lbs-feet of torque (@ 4,000 rpm) may sound okay for a vehicle of this size; rest assured, it’s got it where it counts. Both Andre Smirnov and I were pleasantly surprised with the punch of this engine. Hell, we were giddy when we heard the exhaust-note.

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Yes, the block of the 5.6-liter V8 is the same as the old gasoline-powered block – but that’s about the only similarity. The 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter gas V8 has a new intake, exhaust, pistons and it’s now direct-injected. There’s also the Multi Control Valve (MCV) that replaces a conventional thermostat for more precise cooling control.

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter Gas V8 also has a unique transmission over the diesel model. The new transmission is a 7-speed automatic that is based on the same unit used in the Infiniti QX80, though its setup and tuning is unique to the Titan XD. This same transmission will be used in the upcoming 2017 Nissan Titan 1/2-ton truck and the next 2017 Nissan Armada.

The rear axle ratio in the gas-powered truck is 3.36 (as opposed to the 3.91 in the Titan XD Diesel).

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The base price for the 2WD Nissan Titan XD with the gas 5.6-liter V8 is $35,290 before destination. The trims for the Nissan Titan XD are S, SV, SL, PRO-4X and Platinum Reserve – and there are no physical differences among the exterior, interior, bed or packages between the gas and diesel variants. The 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the gas V8 comes in at $5,000 less than an equivalent diesel model.

Max towing for the 2WD 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter Gas V8 is 11,270 lbs, which is about 1,000 lbs less than the diesel. On the other hand, maximum payload (with the 2WD) is 2,594 lbs, that’s about 500 lbs more than the diesel. That’s due in part to the extra weight of the diesel engine and components over the gas model. You can feel the difference.

Off the line, the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter gas V8 feels like a rocket compared to the diesel version. Part of that has to do with the direct-injected engine’s throttle response, and the gas V8’s lighter weight. Losing 500-lbs helps in many ways; it felt much lighter on its toes and easier to maneuver than the diesel while still providing a smooth, quiet highway ride.

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Shifts from the 7-speed were smooth, although it sometimes takes an extra moment to kick down into gear, especially when passing. Still, it’s just as quick as most heavy-duty trucks I’ve tested. One of the trucks we drove had around 800-lbs in the bed, this helped the ride a bit, but we noticed only a slightly harder ride in an unladen version we also drove.

Here’s the part that surprised both of us as we finished our drive. On Interstate 24, leading back to Nashville, TN from the Decherd factory tour, we decided to do an impromptu MPG run. We reset the onboard computer and set the cruise control for 70 mph the whole way. This 84-mile empty run was in an unloaded SL 4X4 with Andre and I inside. We averaged a (very) impressive 18.3 MPG according to the trip computer.

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Sure, things are bound to change when we get it way up to Colorado and put it on our standard test-loop, but that’s a hell of a good first impression. In all honesty, if the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter gas V8 is anywhere near as good as it was when we drove it near Nashville, it might be the better choice between the two trucks (considering the $5,000 premium for the diesel). Yes, we were mighty impressed.

Finally, when you watch this video, you’ll see scenes from the Nissan Powertrain Assembly Plant tour we attended. We had an opportunity to see each step of the construction of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD’s 5.6-liter Gas V8. It included some interesting stats from the Nissan Powertrain Assembly Plant in Decherd, Tennessee:

  • Production started: May 16, 1997
  • Work Force: More than 1,600
  • One new engine assembled every 19 seconds
  • More than 10 million engines assembled to date
  • Facility: 1.1 million square feet with 964 acres of property
  • The plant produces engines for Nissan, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz vehicles

Annual capacity:

  • 1.4 million engines
  • 1.4 million crankshaft forgings
  • 456,000 cylinder block castings

Check out this video with the 2016 Nissan Titan XD with the 5.6-liter Gas V8 and the engine factory tour!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.