New Nissans Need to Solve Three Issues

2012-nissan-titan II

There's no question that Nissan's truck designers and engineers face a huge challenge in front of them: Both the Fontier and the Titan desperately need an update and a huge leap forward in technology. 

The Frontier recently has seen some solid sales progress in the midsize segment, as the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota have left the marketplace. The Frontier was also a strong player in our recent Midsize Shootout, finishing in second place to the Toyota Tacoma. But if Nissan wants to boost market share in this stagnant segment, it will need to up its game with the next-gen truck. Likewise, the Titan is not aging well and is in need of significant competitive assets. 

We recently sat down with Rich Miller, of Nissan Truck and SUV Product Planning, to talk about how the automaker, theoretically, goes about mapping out a strategy to update and improve any product, car or truck, in the company's lineup. 

"Any redesign is a big deal, but here's how we stay focused," Miller began. "We first break down the project into three key areas, asking ourselves three key questions. First, how can we make our current buyers happier with their choice? What features are they looking for that they'd like or don't even realize they want?" Of course, being able to keep in touch with owners who have lived with your products every day can provide a lot of good input, he said. (At this point in the conversation, we suggested they could get quite a bit of information by reading PickupTrucks.com and our commentary from passionate readers as well). 

"Second, we ask ourselves what is the regulatory climate, and could it possibly shift in the next  three, five, 10 years," Miller continued. "This is probably the fuzziest of our strategies, but Nissan has a pretty good track record of seeing what's coming down the road and being ready for it." Miller added that issues of safety and fuel economy will always be significant predictors regarding how consumer tastes might change, but other government and economic changes must be considered as well. 

"Finally, we look at how we can expand a vehicle's appeal and which other segment (related or unrelated) might be ripe for conquesting," he said. A lot of this question, he told us, revolves around seeing where buyers have been gravitating and where they're likely to move in the future. "We saw an entire segment make radical shifts just because consumer demand changed, and the bull's-eye we were all aiming for made a significant move (away from SUVs and toward crossovers)," said Miller, giving the most obvious example of Nissan's new-for-2013 Pathfinder, which used to be a traditional SUV but will now fall more in line with other crossover requirements. 

What does all this mean for an upgraded Titan or Frontier? Unfortunately, our guess is that since the current numbers and trends for the Frontier happen to be going in the right direction, the next Frontier won't see many significant changes or segment-first technologies. With that said, we can only hope the seats and interior choices get a huge redesign, along with some improved driver connectivity. And we wouldn't mind a better, more aggressive PRO-4X package. 

For the Titan, we hope a nothing-to-lose attitude gives the designers and engineers more latitude to experiment and take a few interior and exterior upgrades to new heights. Also, overhauling the engine choices, possibly adding a small turbo-diesel to the mix, would be a huge USP (unique selling point) in a tight half-ton market. All those ideas would certainly address each of the three questions that Nissan product planners are using to keep their focus. 

We can only hope that their focus will produce some interesting and segment-leading results. 

 

Comments

I hope they keep it basically the same, Nissan has had plenty of time to work out the buts of the current model, just add a few more horsepower and a bit of an interior upgrade and call it done.

Excited about the next gen Titan!

Why can't they put the same diesel engine in the frontier? I love my 07 frontier but wouldn't mind a new truck. The problen is that other than the eco-boost, no manufacturee is getting creative in in finding solutions to our needs. Putting a diesel in a frontier will get me to the dealership the second that becomes available. They do that and it stops being a comparison of how the Frontier stacks up to the Tacoma and becomes a conversation of why Toyota didn't think of it first.

Both Nissan and Toyota are in the same boat regarding their mid-size . The global market will dictate what NA will recieve.

Nissan is currently working with Mitsubishi constructing and developing future mid-size pickups. Nissan and Mitsubishi are already "sharing" production in their Thailand factory building the Navara and Triton, at the moment completely different vehicles.

The Titan chassis is a "modified" Navara chassis so it would seem feasible that an all new Titan would not be out until the new Navara is.

Changing a few body panels doesn't make a vehicle new. I know auto manufactures would like you to think so.

Take the Datsun 520 pickup from the 60s and the 720 series from the 80s. The chassis and suspension remain virtually the same, even though the bodies looked completely different.

Too many problems that have not been corrected since this Frontier model went into service in 2005. The luggage rack on the SL has a problem. The front bar keeps coming loose & flying off both on the highway & in car washes. Front seats lack height & lumbar adjustments except in the higher end models. Lack of full rear windows in the rear doors on the crew cab. The previous model had full rear windows. Cheap cloth seats. Upgraded stero syestems are only available on the higher end models. No roadside service. The tailgate is too heavy. The spray on bed liner is prone to stains and dents that expose the metal below the bedliner causing rust. The Rockford Fosgate sub woofers eat up storage space under the rear seats in the crew cab. It's only available on the high end crew cab models. No satalite radio if you drive a manual transnmission. High definition radio should also be standard. Toyota has a rear view camera standard in the 4x4 picktrucks along with a USB port standard. Toyota & GM both have lumbar support. Nissan should quite riding the Frontier on a 2005 model & get a new more fuel efficent transmission. The 4 liter VQ V6 is one of the best engines out there in a midsize truck.

@Karsultation - Everyone had diesel powered "globals". It is a matter of who thinks they can make money with this first (in North America) as opposed to "why didn't we think of this first".
We will eventually see diesel engines in many products. Currently, we do not want to pay the extra money up front for a diesel nor do we want to pay for the complexity. Fuel prices will climb to the point where we can no longer optimize fuel consumption with gassers. No one is truly sure what the maximum price point for fuel that the consumer is willing to bear. Diesels and smaller pickups will come, the question is when and why?

Nissan has been dogging it. As they say, it's time to $%^ or get off the pot.

One of the things I have always loved about Nissan trucks is they keep the same body style forEVER. Nothing sucks more than plunking down a fortune for a new truck then 6 months later, you mosey on over to PUTC and learn they're coming out with a new truck that looks totally different.

Nissan, if you're reading this... your trucks look great. Do not go changing the style thinking that will get more people to buy them. The supersized-for-american-rednex body style is not for everyone. Some of us need a full size truck but on the smaller side to navigate windy mountain roads as well as tight city streets. The titan being on the smaller end is far more agile in those conditions.

One place size does matter is in the BED. No, not THAT bed. I'm talking about the cargo bed. Nissan, you have already done something none of the others have managed to do and that's despite being on the smaller end of the full size trucks, your titan is available with a 7 foot bed in a crew cab. That is exactly what people like me need. Seating for 4 and more cargo space. It's about utility.

It's also about reliability. From what I've read, titan has had reliability issues that are totally uncharacteristic of your trucks. I hope you fix that by the time I'm in the market for a new truck.

And last but not least, fuel economy. People like me need a truck for work but we're struggling as it is with the gas prices. Please don't go getting in a size war with the other trucks. Instead stick with smaller, more efficient engines. I'd love to see you come out with a plug in gas/electric hybrid. Nissan is already kicking serious butt in this area with the leaf and Env200. You're never going to win in the race to be the biggest and most powerful guzzler so go the opposite way and win the race to be the most efficient.

As it is, people like me who have been driving T-100's and 1st and 2nd gen tundras have nowhere to turn. There is no truck in the marketplace for us any longer. There's no v6 full size and the compacts are just a little too small. Remember who buys nissans. Thank you, that is all.

Nissan is moving building the Frontier from Symra Tenn to Canton Miss. There goes the quality. Canton was building the Quest & the quality was so bad that Nissan is now building the Quest in Japan & shipping them over here.

@Lou
I think the "why?" in your statement of why you don't have small diesels is significant.

As you know I'm very interested in that.

In the past few months I have given it a lot of thought and I think I have the answer.

1. 25% of the crude oil cut in the US goes to central heating. Most of this is refined in Canada. The introduction of diesels would compete for the same resource. That's why natural gas would be a preferred option for central heating because its bulk is far greater per BTU than diesel.

2. The refining infrastructure in NA hasn't changed much and it is difficult for refiners to develop new refineries due to environmental resistance. And oil companies pissing in the pockets of politicians.

3. Government regulations favouring gasoline engines and penalising the development of diesel. Even EPA testing for diesels is different.

4. Automotive manufacturers unwilling to invest into the NA market and having the attitude "it work in the past so lets keep on heading in the same direction", hence bailouts. If you look at the culture of the NA Big Three it is completely different to Asian and Euro manufacturers. And that's why when the finacial crissis hit the "import" manufacturers didn't encounter the same issue that the Big Three had. That's why Fiat taking over Chrysler is good, a change of culture will occur.

5. Competing ideas due to UAW ideals and the future financial direction and implication of decisons, hence bailouts. You can't have competing interests running one business. Unions aren't in partnership with the manufacturers, they don't own the companies. If they want to run a company they should take to risks and set up a vehicle manufacturing business (without government assistance).

6. The consumer. From what I have read there are some very narrow minded people who don't want or are scared of change.

As you stated change will come and you will eventually get diesel technology as it is more efficient than petrol.

@Big Al - You raise some valid points. Are governments and/or companies willing to put in the infrastructure to move away from oil burning home heating? Wood is extremely inefficient and creates a large amount of polution. Greens seem to want electricity but coal and oil are used to generate electricity which in itself is a waste of resources.

In Northern BC there are plans in the works to build a hydroelectric dam to increase electrical capacity but they are protesting it. Same goes for the pipeline to move oil to Prince Rupert for export.

I had to laugh today on the way home from work. I was following a small car with stickers all over the back wanting pipelines banned, forest harvesting banned, and all sorts of other "pro-green" things. But there she was, driving a car that runs on gasoline, pecking away on her smart phone that was charged up from hydro generated electricity, and probably has most of her family directly or indirectly employed by the forestry industry.

@ Lou

Wood heat is green, or as the more bourgeois like to say--
"biomass" heat. I save TONS of money using my woodstove compared to using my radiant heat furnace.

Regarding Nissans, I had an old hardbody and loved it. The new Titan, I am not sure if it is impressive that an old Ranger has a rearend roughly the same size or pathetic that the Titan has a rearend the size of a Ranger... .

@Dav - Green's talk about the sequestration of carbon within the tree. Biomass is a politically correct term, but burning wood isn't very efficient. It is aslo regarded by many as a significant health hazzard. Fine particulate (2.5 microns in diameter and less) is being proven to be a significant health risk. Airshed management looks at industrial polution as well as residental use. Exposure to fine particulate matter has been associated with an increase in hospital admissions with serious health effects, including death. People with asthma, cardiovascular or lung disease, as well as children and elderly people, are considered to be the most sensitive to the effects of fine particulate.

Even without the potential health risks is burning wood truly cheep?
It may be cheeper if one has their own acreage with a woodlot or easy access to a woodlot/forest. One must factor in the cost of the wear and tear on one's truck, the purchase cost of a good powersaw and associated safety equipment. Other factors are one's labour costs, and splitting and storing the wood. House insurance is usually more expensive if you heat with wood. Another factor that people do not consider is the safety aspects associated with handfelling timber and bucking and limbing wood.
My brother heats with wood but he has the advantage of a company truck, he is also out in the bush on a daily basis. He has worked as a bucker so he is very skilled with a saw.
I find that for myself it is not worth it even though I have millions of acres of trees to stare at.
We have to get our energy from somewhere, it is all a compromise.
I do not think that harvesting timber for heat is embraced by the self proclaimed saviors of the planet. That would be regardless of whether they are members of the proletariat or bourgeoisie. I don't think that many of those self righteous types have a job so that probably rules out proletariat. Environmentally conscious lazy bums is probably more accurate;)
Have a good night.

@Big Al from Oz - It's not that the EPA is harder on diesels necessarily, except that it's more complicated to make diesels run clean. Remember pre emissions diesel cars and trucks. Have you ever rode behind a bus and been totally smoked out. Pretty disgusting right? I takes a lot of equipment before diesels run clean and they still can never run as clean an to day's gasoline engines.

What diesel emissions and diesel fuel blends do is kill MPG, reliability and longevity. Diesel are cost prohibitive and high maintenance pigs. Definitely not worth anyone's time unless you're talking class 7 or 8 trucks. Otherwise, if a gasoline engine is offered on the truck you want, it's the only logical and cost effective choice.

Nissan is in no way serious about a diesel Titan. They're just yanking the chain of the few misguided diesel fans.

@DenverMike
You keep on making that comment. Can you provide facts supporting your claim. Or do you work for an oil, car company or a government body supporting irresponsible regulation.

I have presented facts from the US EPA site showing that gas engine are only required to make a 10% improvement in fuel economy and diesels which are already more economical have to reach a 15% improvement target for economy. Is that fair or is there some kind of collusion between industry and the EPA. Is the US really trying to use diesel technology or is it being hindered by special interest groups.

I have also presented facts in regards to other issues pertaining to your supposed belief that ULSD is better in the US when in fact it contains 50% more sulphur than Euro and Australian diesel. Your diesel will eventually foul a Euro diesel.

Your diesels aren't cleaner than Euro V.

It's how the regulations are applied to diesels make them less competitive to sell in the US. Just like your vehicle safety regulations, they are in effect trade barriers. They aren't better just different to make it awkward to import and sell diesel vehicles.

Your NOx requirements are the only requirement that is harsher than Euro V.

@DenverMike
By 2016 most regulations across the OECD will be the same. This will mean Euro diesels will more than meet EPA and CAFE.

If your government was as serious about pollution as you are trying to put across you would have a fuel tax to force people to drive vehicel that emit less pollution.

Like I have stated in the past look at satellite imagery of NA then look at Europe and see which region has the most pollution.

Don't try and persuade me diesels are dirtier. New diesel technology is as good as gas technology.

I may be interested in the choice of a Frontier with a small diesel.... Not necessarily to be a powerhouse, but something to increase efficiency for those who don't need full-sized haulers, but want a smaller much more efficient home chore vehicle.

I think a 4 cylinder turbo diesel with about 300-350 ft lbs of torque would be a dominant player in the mid-sized market.

Nissan and Toyota made a mistake in going toe to toe with Detroit. In 2004, the Titan came at basically the same time as the new F150. On paper, the truck matched or beat the Ford in almost every way. Sales never took off, and some components proved to be underside for the job. In 2007, the Tundra became a meet-or-beat truck as well. Sales jumped for a year, but then tapered off to less than what the 7/8 size original sold. That 7/8 size, along with build quality expected from Toyota, made the original Tundra a great truck for Toyota, one that never threw stones and picked fights in Detroit. Both trucks need to be different from the domestics. French vanilla from regular vanilla wont be enough.

I love my 2007 King cab LE Titan. I wish they would keep an upgraded version of the King cab that they have not offered since I bought my truck. I have no interest or need in a Crew Cab. I do want Chrome and leather. It is a shame that many of the great things about my truck were never advertised or mentioned by Nissan. Like the hydraulic tailgate, retractable step, inside bed lighting, auto window down from reomote, the list goes on and on.

Personally, I think Nissan has been missing the target across the board. Fine, so they have a supposedly full-sized truck, but their Frontier is getting too big and may well be cutting into their full-sized market. (Of course, I believe this is true of every brand that's still producing mid-sized trucks which is one reason why Ford dropped the Ranger--for now.)

The second miss is their Pathfinder, which was originally meant to compete with the original Explorer, Blazer, Land Cruiser, Land Rover and even Jeep. Rather than being a road-worthy off-road 4x4, it's nothing more than a soccer-mom SUV/crossover that no longer has any real off-road capability. This is really a strange evolution when you consider that the 4-door Jeep Wrangler has practically exploded in popularity with almost no competition outside of Mercedes' three-times-as-expensive G-series. If you want to compete, then compete where there is little other competition. Hey, with the death of Hummer as a brand, the Wrangler simply doesn't have any competition any more.

@Big Al from Oz - Since US Diesels are dirtier than Euro V standards, how is the EPA too tough on diesels? If the EPA is tougher on diesels than gas, it's only because diesels had been emissions free for too long. Emissions started decades earlier for gas engines.

You're right, current diesels are cleaner than gas, but all the advantages of owning a diesel are gone now. You get more torque with diesels, but a gas engine will perform the same task at a higher RPM. Sure gas engines yield less MPG but if you're going to talk expenses, lets talk about the total costs of diesel ownership. The up front costs, the maintenance, and the repairs down the road. All the watering down of diesel fuel equals early replacement of injectors, HPFPs and the engines themselves. That's not counting replacement emissions components.

I'm just speaking as a commercial contractor that's worked with, and worked on gas and diesel trucks since the '80s. My point of view is more realistic than romantic. The whole notion of diesels in small or half ton trucks is a bit exotic or worldly, but not logical.

Well as it is i'd buy a Titan over the Tundra. All they really need to do to is tweak and fine tune the suspension and chassis, throw on a lightweight but strong body panels (maybe like Saturn's undentatable plastic body panels?), throw in a modern 6 or 7 speed (offering a manual would be seriously cool) and then hooking them up to their modern v8. It could use a base v6 option, a diesel would be another seriously cool thing and finally they need more cab choices along with an updated interior. Maybe an interior inspired off the 370z too because i'm sick of seeing the same old box and rectangle design interior.

I would buy a truck with a 6-foot bed that works as my only car. I don't want a truck PLUS a commuter car. And I don't want a 14 mpg urban assault nonsense. I'd really like to see the El Camino / Rancho / Aussie Ute come back.

Nissan needs to get a heavier duty rear end. The D44 that's under there now just might've been okay in the 80s when half-tons weighed less, but it just doesn't cut it in a modern half-ton, as big and heavy as they've gotten. That or make the truck a lot lighter.

http://www.google.com/search?q=Nissan+Titan+Rear+end+failure&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=&oe=

@Tom With A Ranger
So your the guy that wants 13/18 mpg over 14/18 mpg, 317hp/385lb ft (No way to upgrade to 500hp and 550lb ft with your warranty) over 381hp/401lb ft (upgradeable to 504hp/550lb ft with your warranty), 1 engine choice over 3 engine choices, 5-speed auto over a 6-speed auto and a lower manufacturers tow rating over a higher SAE tow rating. I think your comment is spoken like a true Ford guy who hates the worlds number 1 automaker more than anythig else. All Toyota needs to do is new exterior, new interior gauge cluster, boxed frame (Tripletech frame is SAE approved to work but majority of customers in the 1/2 ton market want fully boxed and the customer is always right), new suspension and weight reduction. That is what I expect from Toyota on the release of the 2014 3rd gen Tundra with more efficient powertrains to meet upcoming EPA standards to come later.

@Denver Mike- Wrong! T2B5 has lower NOx limits than Euro5. Why do you think VW needed SCR on the Passat for the US, when they can meet Euro5 without it? Euro6 is sufficiently close to our regs

@DenverMike
The Euro diesels has more rigid regulations concerning CO2 emissions and the US is concentrating more on NOx.

If your country is concerned about NOx pollution they would devise more rigid controls over central home heating units, Wood burning stove, etc.

The rest of the world outside the US has a similar regulatory framework to manage diesel emissions and the US goes it alone, down a different tangent.

Like I have state look at imagery from a satellite of NA and Europe, and its plain as day which region has the most pollution. And Europe on average has a higher concentration of people living in roughly the same climate than the US, with large concentrationn of industry. They run lots of diesels.

Anyway diesel sales in the US have increased 27% in the first 6 months of this year.

And you still haven't shown me any proof that US diesel emission regulation is stricter than Euro.

Show me the proof that US diesels are less economical because of the SCRs. You talk alot DenverMike without any support other than an argument.

Like I have stated, I think you work for one of those special interest groups trying to reduce the development of diesel in the US.

Show me the evidence or stop your anti diesel rhetoric.

I am mostly in agreement with Denver Mike I myself will not buy a diesel powered vehicle with the large price difference between diesel and gas motors, increased cost and complexity of maintenance, and my wife would not like it. I do think that if there is enough demand for a diesel in half ton full size and medium size trucks it should be offered. VW makes a good diesel but it has not gone over very well in the USA.

@Big Al from Oz—I am speaking from experience having lived in rural Northern Kentucky for over 14 years that oil burners are a necessity when you do not have access to natural gas lines. Natural gas is not only cheaper but the furnaces are less expensive, require less maintenance, and last a lot longer than an oil burner. The only reason you have electricity is because most areas are served by rural electric cooperatives which were formed during the 1930s Depression as a result of the Federal Government passing a rural electrification act. Your heating choices are heating oil, bottled propane (expensive), electric furnaces which are not so cheap to heat with unless you have a heat pump which are very expensive and require service from technicians trained in servicing heat pumps (I owned one of those as well), or wood burning furnaces which I am in agreement with Lou on since I have heated with such.

Across the Ohio River from where I lived in a town called Vevay, Indiana they finally got a natural gas pipeline but that is after they got an Argosy Gambling Casino which I am sure that the casino had something to do with getting the pipeline. Most the residents of Vevay gladly changed to natural gas from heating oil and wood burning stove and my lawnmower mechanic was one of the happy new customers.

The demand for diesel is very high thus that is why the higher cost for diesel even if you eliminated most of the fuel burner furnaces. Between the commercial trucking industry, the commercial aviation industry, the commercial farming industry diesel is in high demand. Diesel fuel use to be cheaper but most farm equipment now is diesel powered along with commercial trucks. Aviation jet fuel is basically diesel just a higher grade of diesel. Not trying to argue about this but having lived in a rural area where heat is a necessity and having worked for a refiner I have some knowledge about fuels.

@Jeff S
I'm not arguing that point with DenverMike. My argument is he is anti-diesel. He hasn't provide any real evidence to support his claims. I have posted numerous links in regards to what our debate is about.

I do know the NE of the US and SE of Canada use lots of fuel oil for heating. The further west you go it becomes less prevalent. But from your annual crude oil consumption 25% goes to heating oil.

Diesel in all countries cost more to maintain. The price of diesel in Australia works out to be 30-40c more per US gallon. Yes servicing diesels is more expensive. But they are more efficient in the longer term.

We do have V8 utes. We still have a few V6 pertol powered "Japanese" utes. Its just diesel has taken over and they are dropping the V6 petrol engines. The cost of a diesel is not as great as one would think either. A four cylinder diesel is the same cost as a V6 gas ute.

Australia is like the US and Canada with the consumption of crude per capita.

As I have stated your regulations are different in their approach and sadly at the detriment the the NA public.

You are missing out on some very nice vehicles.

@Big Al from Oz- CO2 regulations are the exact same thing as fuel economy requirements. I work in Diesel exhaust aftertreatment, and have been in the emissions business for 10 years. While SCR in itself doesn't compromise fuel economy, engines are tuned for minimal NOx, so they can operate with the cheapest ATD and use as little UREA as possible. Whenever you tune combustion to reduce NOx, particulates invariably go up. This increases the ned to regenerate the particulate filter, which.....drumroll please....
uses more fuel.
For Trucks:
Euro 5: (Oct 2008)
PM: .015 g/bhp-hr
NOx: 1.5 g/bhp-hr
HC: 1.1 g/bhp-hr
EPA 2010:
PM: .01 g/bhp-hr
NOx: .07 g/bhp-hr
HCHO: .018 g/bhp-hr
I don't have pass-car numbers handy, but its simillar. Euro 5 allows about 20 times as much NOx as EPA2010. This means Euro 5 vehicles will (usually) not meet EPA requirements w/o additional hardware- IE SCR or LNT

@5.3L LOL
I'm the kind of guy that likes a good truck, considering the Toyota cant survive any weight on the tailgate nor handle 1 pothole seems to say something to me.

I have a 06 titan and its been a good truck.Is it a ford beater.No it has a strong motor but quality wise its not better then the fords I've owned. Quality wise it heads above the tundra I had.Thats the worst truck i've ever owned.

Neither the titan or the tundra is a threat to the ford truck or its eco-boost.Fords interior is far superior and the ford rides better. I like the titans short front end over the fords and the tundras is just too ugly and bloated.

Both are going to have to get alot better if they plan on taking on ford or even gm and dodge.

Right now the ford is so far ahead it will take all a long time to catch up

As Big Al pointed out, I find it interesting that the USA government is heavy into controling fine particulate in diesels but doesn't seem to worried about oil burning furnaces (which is basically winter diesel) and things like wood heat or coal fired electrical power. I'm not surprised that Eastern Canada has a much higher percentage of oil heated homes. The East coast has for many years been more impoverished due to the heavy reliance on the fishing industry. Rugged coastlines make it expensive to run gas lines. In my part of BC natural gas is virtually everywhere. One would have to be in a very small and islolated community to not have it.

I'd like to see small diesels find their way into 1/2 ton and small trucks. There isn't a real reason right now to go to a small diesel. Once fuel prices climb and we reach a wall with gas engine MPG we will see diesels becuase they can get better mpg than similar gas engines. The EB 3.5 is touted as an alternative to diesel engines but it only gets diesel mpg empty. You load it up and you get V8 mpg.
HD pickup diesels are following an interesting pattern. I believe it is a similar pattern to the "70's when emissions first came out. The emission systems first made the engines unreliable, they got more reliable but fuel economy sucked, we then saw further improvements in reliability, power, and mpg.
I'd rather deal with the added complexity of a diesel as opposed to some hybrid battery/petrol powered unit. Give me a 3,500 dollar diesel option as opposed to 10,000 hybrid pickup that will get outperformed by a V6 (normally aspirated) pickup.

@Lou
I like the ecoboost the only thing that really bothers me about it is if in 2007 when the 2nd gen Tundra made it's debut and it had the 3.5L ecoboost Toyota would have been bashed to death by the Ford guys with "ricer" comments but when Ford does a twin turbo 6 its genius and the V8 replacement. I have a feeling its going to be the same way with the Toyota-Ford hybrid after Ford does it hybrids will be acceptable.

@5.3L LOL - I agree 95%, my 5% dissention is as follows: there are more than just "Ford" guys who have some irrational need to bash Toyota. Makes no sense really, but blind fanboism isn't supposed to make sense to anyone other than the fanboi.

@Big Al from Oz @ Lou-I think that there should be the same standards worldwide for all major and developing countries for diesel and gasoline powered motors and if some of the US standards lower emissions more such as Mr Knowitall stated about NOx emissions then those should be what is adopted by all. All of us will eventually have the same standards and the sooner we adopt those standards the better.

@Lou--There are a lot of poor areas in the US not just on the East Coast but in the Middle of the US. I am not trying to be difficult when I said that the reason most rural areas in the snow belt use fuel oil. Fuel oil is expensive and there are many low income families that can barely afford it because as the price of oil goes up fuel oil skyrockets. Unless you can get the Federal Government to either encourage natural gas providers to extend gas pipelines to rural and underserved areas or subsidize these pipelines it probably will not happen. With the current mood in Washington and in the country that will not happen. I think that it should happen with the abundance of gas the US has along with the cost, energy efficiency, and cleanliness of gas. I am of the opinion that the US had the opportunity to have a real comprehensive energy policy after the Arab Oil Embargo but Washington politicians and lobbyist did not want it. By comprehensive I mean using all available sources of energy which the North American continent has plenty of and I am not talking about running everything on wind and sun which is not feasible for the entire country.

Al and Lou even though I am not a fan of diesel personally I do see your point and it should be available. I myself would probably need more convincing but if I were using a truck for a heavy use and driving more often I would definitely choose diesel., Everyone has their own opinions and preferences but that does not mean that you points are not valid. We will see what the future has to offer but for sure change will happen.

@Big Al from Oz - I didn't say we had stricter standards for diesels, you did. If they are still evolving, that's not good news or diesel fans.

You say diesel engines live longer vs gas and that was true in the past, but we don't know how long current and future generations of diesels will last. Current diesel fuel lost much of its lubricity and will lose more. I know diesels cost 3 or 4 time more to rebuild than gas. Ask me how I know.

I have no agenda, what's yours? Just relaying some simple truths about diesel ownership that aren't mentioned in reviews or brochures. Why don't you what to hear them? Many on here would be 1st time diesel owners and yeah if you just look torque and MPG figures, diesels sound pretty good.

There's no free lunch when it comes to diesels and you will pay tens of thousands more during its life vs gas engines. Expect to pay $10K more just in added fuel costs, additives and urea. That's if it does't need major repairs along the way. If you work a diesel hard, you will have problems, trust me. If you're not going to work it hard, why would you even consider buying one?

When it comes down to it, no one needs a diesel. I mean unless you're talking class 7 or 8 trucks.

@MrKnowitall
I did some research and have found that Euro V has 0.08gr for NOx on light diesel vehicles.

I have a couple of questions.
1. Why did the US increase NOx requirements, which in turn increases particulates? This does make the diesel less competitive.

2. Using bhp as a measure is unfair because a 200hp diesel has at least 30-50% more torque than a petrol engine.

Look at a 400hp HD diesel and tell me if it has more usable power than a 400hp V8 petrol engine.

If a gas engine is able to produce 1unit per hp of NOx emissions a diesel should be able to produce 1.3 units per hp of NOx to achieve the same amount of work which would be equivelant to the differential in BTUs of the fuels.

Also as I have pointed out the regulated increase in mpg is biased towards petrol engines by 67% compared to diesel.

The regulations in the US are biased against diesel, if it wasn't diesels would be as common as in Europe and Asia.

What I also found out the EPA policy on the implementation of all emission control leans towards technology not available, whereas the Eurozone leans towards using existing technology.

@DenverMike
I have owned and members of my family have owned diesel powered light vehicles and the cost of maintaining a diesel isn't really much different from a petrol engine. If it was the diesels would not have been popular in Australia as they are now. Remember we were a petrol society until recently.

The reason why a diesel will always be more durable in comparison to a petrol engine is due to the design. All parts of a diesel are of heavy construction to handle the load the engine creates (compression). Heavy truck engines last a long time, I'm not saying the light diesels will last as long but on average they should last twice as long as a petrol engine.

Historically a turbo petrol engine doesn't have a very long life, whereas a turbo diesel have.

@Denver Mike--Good points and that would be one of the main reasons I would not buy a diesel for myself. I drive much less than 10k a year and most of it is stop and go traffic. That would just be added costs for me but if there is enough market for diesels in cars and half ton trucks then manufacturers should provide them. VW has a good diesel but it has not sold in large numbers.

@Big Al from Oz - Diesels cost a little more here & there and it doesn't seem like much at the time add it up and it's far more that the price of a rebuilt gas engine. The initial cost of a diesel 'upgrade' alone is often twice the cost of a rebuilt gas, installed. This assumes you're guessing correct about the current batch of diesel's longevity (not to mention reliability) an if someone is willing to keep a gas engine truck long enough for it to be an issue. Gas engines no longer need overhauls at 100K miles like previous generations.

I'm seeing diesel upgrades more of an impulse buy, not a particularly informed one.

@big Al- g/hp*h is a measure used in trucks, not pass car. Sorry to muddy up the issue. Under the current regs, there is little or no case to be made for diesels in light duty applications. In HD apply applications, diesels do work better, but engines like the Ford EB are showing that gasoline envies can do much of the same.
I'm not saying for a second that the current US regs aren't misguided or even serve special interest.
Controlling NOx in a diesel is different from gasoline engines. The higher O2 content makes it much tougher. Incidentally, the newest lean-burn DI gasoline engines are headed for the same NOx and particulate problems diesels have.

@MrKnowitall
The Euro system is based on vehicle mass ie, less than 1750kg the greater than 1750kg ot 2 500kg etc.

@ Big Al:
Another reason Diesels aren't as popular here as in Europe and Australia is the climate. Vast swaths of the US and Canada get extremely cold in the winter. Having spontaneous ignition, Diesels by thier very nature are harder to start when it's cold. The fuel gels up and the pumps can't move it.

Sure, some of this can be mitigated on a new vehicle by tank heaters, glow plugs, etc., but (as with all mechanical things) it all amounts to more sh!t to go wrong and as Diesel vehicles age, cold weather starting and fuel delivery problems become very common around here.

I live in northern Minnesota and I personally wouldn't own a Diesel for this reason alone (never mind the added initial cost and more expensive fuel). And that's speaking as a guy who loves diesels and worked his way through college as a Diesel Technican. A good friend of mine's brand new Super Duty stalled late at night in the middle of nowhere (no cell coverage) because the fuel lines gelled up. It was only -30F (about -34.4C) that night. It gets much colder than that up here. Luckily someone happened along and gave him and his young daughter a ride.

However, I think Diesels make a lot of sense in warmer climates. I also agree that US regulations are tilted against Diesels pretty hard. If they ever leveled the regulatory playing field and light-duty diesels became more common, the refineries would devote more capacity to it and the price of diesel fuel would come down I think...

@Jason H
I would think Sweden and Norway would have had a colder climate.

@Big Al - not necessarily. The Gulf Stream plays a huge part in keeping Sweden's climate milder than other northern countries. I believe that in Norway's case it all depends on how far inland you go. Jason H living in Northern Minnesota will get extremely cold in the winter because they are inland so there do not get any effects from ocean currents. Another factor is cold Arctic air masses forming and taking hold of West Central Canada and into the North Central States. Those areas also tend to be more windy. I'm not talking super strong storm winds but consistent mild winds.
Alaska even though it is even further North is also affected by ocean currents as well as costal British Columbia. You go inland it is an entirely different story. Diesel vehicles are common in heavy industry. I find that many still stick with diesel pickups becasue of accessibility of fuel in remote areas. Why pay someone to haul in extra gasoline when yo can run desel pickups and share with your machines. Another factor that encourages some contractors to stay with diesel pickups is that machinery used in off highway environments (like farm vehicles) are exempt from road tax. Running what we call "purple fuel" saves money. (A purple dye is put in the fuel to denote road tax exemptions).

@Lou
The Northern Territory is quite large (1.5millon sq km) with only 200 000 people and that's why I bought a diesel as it is more accessible here. And as you can tell I love these little diesels.

In some of the remote areas it can be $3.50 per litre or about $12.00 per US gallon! But if you need it you have no choice but to pay.

I saw some pretty cold looking pictures of Sweden.

1. Would like to see a v-6 that puts out 300hp
2. A little bit better fuel Economy 1-2 mpg
3. Better seat quality more comfort and better material
4. More connectivity built in dash navigation, Bluetooth,rear camera
5. A much need over all redesign

Been a real loyal of Nissan since 1998 with my first Nissan Frontier. These trucks did come a long way. Yes, they do need to be competitive with Ford, Ram, Chevy, and GMC. A total revamped Frontier and Titan with more choices in engines, including a diesel engine. For the Frontier and Titan pick up trucks should include, a 2-door, king cab, and crew cab models. With more choices in bed lengths to choice from. Also, choices of new engines including diesel. Frontier and Titan needs to improve the mileage per gallons. To help improve fuel economy try using the CVT transmission or a 6 to 8 speed transmission like the rest of the other competitors. I had a Frontier and got a new Titan. I love it.

We have a 2010 Titan SE that we bought new. I loved the truck when we first got it. Then as the months passed, I got closer looks at the offerings from the detroit 3 and I have to say, the shine was gone from my new purchase. They just all seem to eclipse my vehicle on every level. I almost feel it around town too. Like I am driving something inferior to a Ford, Chevy or Dodge and everyone knows it. Even at lights when we stop, their trucks sit higher and are more substantial. I know they are getting better gas mileage and came with better warranties. Everyone knows the definition of "titan"...my truck is no titan by any stretch of the imagination. I am disappointed in my purchase. Sorry for the beatdown but I am being honest here.



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