The 2020 Nissan Titan XD features the most powerful standard V8 available in a half-ton pickup, a 5.6L good for 400 hp and 413 lb-ft. torque matched to a 9-speed automatic. The best way to show just how far Nissan‘s V8 has come was — you guessed it — a 0-60 drag race while towing 8,500 pounds of worth of trailer and our Land Rover LR3. The Titan XD 4×4 took on our 1989 Ford F-350 4×4, a.k.a. Gunsmoke, with its 7.3L diesel and manual transmission and the 1994 Dodge Ram 4×4 with a Cummins turbo diesel and manual owned by Kase.
#1 – 2020 Nissan Titan XD
Nissan loaned us the fully-loaded Titan XD Platinum Reserve 4×4. Beyond the 5.6L V8 mentioned above, it includes a low-speed transfer case, a new 3.69 rear axle for better towing acceleration, the optional towing package, and a premium leather interior with rear seat video screens, among a host of other options. Total price: $69,380.
0-60 Result: 19.07 seconds
#2 – 1994 Dodge Ram 2500 4×4 HD
Kase’s 1994 features the legendary 12-valve 5.9L Cummins turbo-diesel rated, when new, at 175 hp and 420 lb-ft. torque. And to get that torque, you needed the 5-speed manual transmission, which this 2500 has. There’s no towing package, and the truck’s been lifted and has more than 245,000 miles on it. Price when purchased earlier this year: $8,000.
0-60 Result: 35.72 seconds and a lot of black smoke
#3 – 1989 Ford F-350 4×4 HD
In the day, the 7.3L diesel in Gunsmoke was the monster on the block. The naturally aspirated engine from International rated 180 hp and 345 lb-ft. torque when new. In its defense, the lift and larger tires we through on the truck don’t help its cause, but we gave it a shot anyway. Price: FREE! (It was donated to us to fix up and auction for charity).
0-60 Result: DNF, the truck reached 48 mph in 3rd gear and had nothing more to give.
Check out the video below and see for yourself how these old HD trucks performed against the all-new powerful Titan XD.
Update 8/27/2020: To clarify, an earlier version of this article stated the Nissan Titan offered the most powerful V8 in its class. Instead, it’s actually the most powerful standard V8 in its class, as the optional 6.2-liter V8 in GM trucks does offer more power. The 420 horsepower engine is the most powerful half-ton V8 engine in current production. We apologize for any confusion.