2016 Nissan Titan XD Gas vs. Titan XD Diesel: Super Ike Gauntlet Towing Review

This is the “Battle of the Titans”, Nissan Titan XDs that is. Which version of the 2016 Titan XD can win at the Super Ike Gauntlet towing challenge? Will it be the truck with the 5.6L gas V8 or the XD with the 5.0L diesel V8? This is the video review that answers the question.

What is Super Ike Gauntlet? It is an Ike Gauntlet towing test that has been super-sized and loaded to the max. This is an 8-mile climb from Dillon, Colorado to an elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level at the top of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels, up the steepest stretch of any Interstate highway in the United States (I-70 with a 7% grade).

We partnered with CM Trailers and used their 20-foot Cargo Mate trailer loaded up to a total weight of 10,600 lbs. Why did we choose this weight? This bumper-pull trailer maxes out the 5.6L gas-powered Titan XD, and Super Ike Gauntlet is all about pushing every truck to the maximum. The XD with the gas V8 has 500 lbs more payload than its diesel V8 brother, but it has approximately 1,000 lbs less of maximum towing capacity, and a significantly lower Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR).

2016 nissan titan xd diesel versus titan xd gas
2016 Nissan Titan XD Diesel vs. Titan XD Gas.

Nissan recommends calculating the exact max. payload of the Titan XD by: GVWR – Truck’s Curb Weight; and the max. towing, people, and cargo capacity by: GCWR – Truck’s Curb Weight.

Titan XD Gas V8  Titan XD Diesel V8
 Model: Crew Cab PRO-4X 4×4 Crew Cab SL 4×4
 Engine:  5.6L V8  5.0L V8
 Horsepower:  390 hp  310 hp
 Torque:  401 lb-ft  555 lb-ft
 GCWR:  8,800 lbs  8,990 lbs
 GCWR:  17,700 lbs  19,450 lbs
 Max Payload:  2,380 lbs  1,930 lbs
 Max Towing (trailer + people + cargo):  11,280 lbs  12,390 lbs
 Super Ike Load (trailer + people + cargo):  11,120 lbs  11,120 lbs

This trailer also maxes out the 5.0L diesel-powered Titan XD on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) when you consider the added weight of the trailer tongue (which is approximately 1,100 lbs). We partnered with GenY Hitch company for their extra heavy-duty and height adjustable hitches. The GenY Hitch can also be equipped with a weight distribution attachment that also provides sway control. We will be using this setup for all towing tests.

Although the diesel powered truck still has room for a slightly heavier trailer, we wanted both trucks to tow the identical trailer for a direct comparison. This is precisely what we did, after making some silly bets related to the dunk tank. You will have to watch the video to find out about the dunk tank.

Titan XD Gas V8  Titan XD Diesel V8
Super Ike Downhill: 14 brakes 10 brakes
Super Ike Uphill MPG: 3.0 MPG 3.7 MPG
Super Ike Uphill Time: 9:44.51 10:30.63

The results were very surprising. We expected the 5.0L Cummins V8 to be victorious at the Super Ike Gauntlet on all counts. It outperformed the gas truck on the downhill with 10 brake applications versus 14 for the gasser. It got a better MPG on the way up the hill (3.7 MPG versus 3.0 MPG with the gasser). The surprise came when the diesel was nearly46 seconds slower than the gas truck on the way up the mountain. Our previous experience when testing the gas and diesel versions of HD trucks told us that the turbocharged diesel engine will outperform the normally aspirated gas engine on our extreme towing test. The same formula did not apply to the XD trucks here. Although, the 5.0L Cummins V8 has gobs of torque (555 lb-ft of it), it is significantly down on horsepower to the gas engine (310 hp vs. 390 hp).

Both trucks provided a comfortable ride and great towing stability down and up the mountain. This is what Titan XD trucks are good at – confident towing.

We perform these real-world tests in order to see how all trucks behave near or at their limits. This should give you enough information to decide which truck is best for you.