Right Out of the Gate, Titan Beats Tundra


The fact that two import pickup truck manufacturers in the U.S. — Nissan and Toyota — made huge news during the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is significant. If they want to stick around this segment, they're going to have to do something dramatic, just like the Detroit Three have done in the midsize and full-size categories. And it looks like the two are giving it a good try.

The 2016 Nissan Titan will have an all-new Cummins under the hood and will beat the Toyota Tundra to market with an integrated brake controller, something that Toyota said was going to be on the 2014 Tundra refresh. So not only will the Titan XD have a diesel, a fifth-wheel hitch and an integrated braking controller — it will beat its main import competitor to market in all three categories. (As a side note, we do find it odd that the Cummins Titan will not have a dedicated exhaust brake button.)

As to the 2016 Tacoma, we'll have to wait and see if this design, chassis and powertrain upgrade will be enough to beat either the Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon in empirical testing. If nothing else, it will be fun watching Chevy and GMC try to cut into Tacoma's crushing popularity in the segment.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams


Nissan Titan brake controller 2 II

Nissan Titan brake controller II

2014 Tundra Int II



Good for Nissan! I hope they do beat Toyota and maybe Toyota will finally realize blood is thicker than water that taking care of their customers after the sale results in loyal and repeat customers.
It AMAZES me how Toyota doesn't get it!
Look at Saturn back in the 1990's they sold cars by giving customers an exciting sales experience by making that customer number one! Saturn had a cult following where owners would make a trip to the Saturn plant every year. Nobody loved their cars more than Saturn Owners!
It amazes me nobody adopts that same idea.
Why does Toyota give customers a warranty if they never had any plans to honor it?

How do you know that Cummins engine in the Nissan is just as good as all other Cummins engines?
Have you ever thought that engine was built under Nissan specifications and cheapened down?
Then how do you know it is or isn't?

When you buy a bottle of Heinz Ketchup cause its 20 cents cheaper at one store did you know that Ketchup was made and produced just for that store?
They made that ketchup to that store specification, maybe it has more water, less sugar, I don't know but you're not getting the same quality from different stores.

Same thing about that Cummins engine in the Nissan, you're getting a cheapened down version engine!

Cummins is an engine company and they will not sacrifice performance or reliability no matter who's truck is using their engine.

Mark Williams, why is there a paragraph about the Tacoma in this article about a Titan beating the Tundra? It is as random as going, "Look squirrel." Mike Levin did so much better with the site than you are. I am not impressed.

@Tom#3 - the 5.0 Cummins engine is made by Cummins and not under licence by Nissan. That same engine is used in HDT and HDT applications.

@ Mark Williams - by definition any truck or car made on USA soil is a "domestic" product. Flag of head office does not factor into the equation.

"As with the term, domestic vehicles, there is a legal definition for import vehicles but popular usage of the term, and popular views of what constitutes an "import" vehicle, vary widely.

For the purposes of Federal regulations, such as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and the American Automobile Labeling Act of 1994 (AALA),[17] vehicles produced in the United States, regardless of brand, are considered "domestic", while vehicles produced outside the United States are considered "imported".

VIN Code Country of Origin


If flag of head office is the final determinant of "import" status then Ram is an import.
If country of origin is the final determinant of "import" than Ram HD's are imports and Toyota and Nissan products are Domestic.

Its looking like there is enough to like about the new Titan that it will swap places with the Tundra as the boring solid lacking innovation/refinement/options sales slouch in the full size truck category.

Still waiting to hear more about the NON XD Titan... you know the one those of us not looking to do 3/4 ton truck things with a superduty 1/2 ton. Especially about engine, configuration (bed/cab), options, capabilities and price.

I am a Ford fan but with GM and Chrysler having gone bankrupt once I would love to see Titan and Tundra become MUCH more relevant. Its very smart and very cool that neither Nissan nor Toyota HAVE to rely on the sales of trucks for their survival. As car companies their strategy of relying on the sales of excellent small and mid sized car/crossover for survival and fullsize tucks/luxury vehicles being for profit is a much more durable business plan especially with market fluctuations, global economics, and long term goals.

Good luck

@Clint - great observation. I agree that car companies need to be strongest with volume products that tend to be least affected by fads, market trends and financial trends.

Toyota will utilize a commercial gimmick - such as pulling a retired space shuttle (for 100 yards) plastering 'Born in America' Tundra trying to make it not Japanese - I know for a fact Oxi will second that.

Even when other products are better however 'There's a sucker born every minute' P.T. Barnum.

As car companies their strategy of relying on the sales of excellent small and mid sized car/crossover for survival and fullsize tucks/luxury vehicles being for profit...


I seriously doubt that Titans or Tundras are being built for "profit" as your message seems to suggest.

The two Asian makers are trying to have an impact on market share--and they are actually hurting their overall profitability to do that. It's considered a long term investment.

Toyota and Nissan do make huge profits building coupes and sedans. Their half ton trucks have hardly caused a ripple in the American market till now.

In the interest of making me smarter, please share any facts you've found to support your view that Nissan and Toyota are humping the half tons for the purpose of profit.

@papa jim--I don't think Toyota and Nissan are losing any money on trucks but they are not the big rain maker for them when they come to profit. I see Toyota and Nissan establishing themselves in a market dominated by the Big 3 and over time they are hoping to establish a loyal customer base and a larger segment of the market. Nissan has made some significant changes to the Titan especially with the option of a Cummins. It will be interesting to see the next generation of Frontier. Toyota seems to be doing what Toyota does best in relying on a loyal customer base with little change to their products unless prompt by the competition. It will be interesting to see the new Tacoma when it comes out and see how it compares to the new Colorado/Canyon. The new V-6 in the Tacoma with the new manual and automatic transmissions seem to be the most significant changes to the Tacoma. I am curious to see how the new Tacoma's V-6 will compare with the V-6 of the Colorado/Canyon.

People will still keep buying the Tundra, the lipstick on a nearly decade old power-train is all Toyota really needs to keep the majority of their buyers. Its pretty obvious that Toyota is pursuing the "lifestyle truck owner, that part is obvious from all the "Ive got to be me" commercials and their radio spots where the prospective Tundra buyer drones on and on about taking up skydiving, and whitewater rafter, and lumber jacking and blah blah blah, the majority Tundra owner isn't going to care about the increased capabilities of the Titan vs the Tundra, and to be honest those who "work" their Tundra could probably get by with a Tacoma or a GM midsizer.

The majority of the people deciding between a Tundra or a Titan will buy the Tundra because it is a Toyota because even in spite of having some pretty good offerings across the board, I get the sense that people see Nissan as the 2nd tier Asian car maker. For those that might sit on the fence, Toyota gave them a new interior and some shiny bits to ogle. That should be more than enough to keep nearly all their customer base and they didnt have to spend all the money refreshing the powertrain, its a win-win for Toyota.

Let face it, for the vast majority of pickup truck buyers the decision driven by about 60% brand loyalty 30% interior fit/finish/amenities and maybe 10% power/capability.

Let face it, for the vast majority of pickup truck buyers the decision driven by about 60% brand loyalty 30% interior fit/finish/amenities and maybe 10% power/capability.

devilsadvocate -

Best post of the week.

@Jeff S

Have you considered how many years of profitable operations it will take for Toyota to pay for their plant in Texas, or Nissan their plant in Mississippi?

Those plants required huge capital investments, money that could have been devoted to paying dividends to their investors, they could have been invested in R&D for their core products, spent on advertising and marketing.

Trucks are not a big money maker for Nissan in North America and Toyota's Tacoma is their only truck in the US that actually has an impact in the market (it killed the Ranger, the S10 and the Dakota).

Those are conversations about two things: 1. Product development 2. Market Share.

Profitability was about number 5 on that list. We might be saying the same thing, but neither Toyota or Nissan expects to do more than break even at best on their truck lines here.

How come Nissan will not advertise fuel mileage numbers? Do you think the drive train is not finished or simply the fuel mileage numbers are poor. Ram is the new standard. And by the way how may truck drivers use their trucks to pull heavy loads? Very few.
Come on Nissan advertise your mileage numbers and come clean.
Can't buy what I don't know what I am buying.

Wonder if nissan will comes with a decent gas motor. Diesels are way more expensive to run then a gas motor. The 5.7 tundra is more cost effective to run then this new 5.0 cummins. Nissan needs something to compete with all the superior gas rigs on the market.

Toyota and Nissan may not be as profitable as Ford or GM with full size pickups but a least they give people that's been burned by the big 3 options.

Robert C, Because Nissan is only talking about the XD which has a 8,600 lb GVWR. Pickup trucks with GVWR over 8,500 pounds are not tested for fuel economy with the EPA. Please ask papa jim if you need any more help on this matter.


With this report coming from Nissan, Toyota will now have no option but to respond accordingly with an innovative step to add additional Powertrain options, perhaps it's not a bad idea to reconsider on having talks with CAT based on the Tundra Heavy Duty Concept that was introduced back in 2008 and had CAT Diesel Engine under the hood.

If that became a reality, where would those numbers stand against the updated Cummins Diesel for the new Titan??

If you watch this site regularly and some of the other truck sites you would have seen that Toyota has been in discussion with Cummins for the same engine Nissan is using.

I don't see either Toyota or Nissan losing a lot of money over the long run. Any time you build a new plant or equip a plant with new equipment you are not going to recover your cost in a year or two. Ford is not realizing immediate gains on their new F-150, they will amortize the cost over several years. I don't think Tacoma is losing any money for Toyota considering it is basically the same truck since 2004 with a few cosmetic changes. As for the 2016 Tacoma except for the V-6 and transmissions which basically come from Lexus and other Toyota products there is probably not going to be a lot of change unless maybe the new Tacoma has a Hilux chassis and even then this is a global chassis long since paid for. As for the Tundra again this is a refresh of an existing model that was redesigned in 2007. The plant in San Antonia is amortized along with tooling costs over several years as is the plant in Mexico. Are Nissan and Toyota trucks as profitable to their manufacturers as Ford, GM and Ram? The answer to that is definitely no, but they are not money losers in the long run. Ford, GM, and Ram can recovery their development, tooling, and plant costs quicker because they sell more units, but Toyota and Nissan will take many years longer because they sell much less. Neither Toyota or Nissan are in the business to lose money but breaking even or having some loss in the short term is worth it to them to have a place in the lucrative truck market. Trucks do not change as much as cars so they have a much longer time to recover their tooling costs.

Toyota has established deep roots in North America and globally they are No 1 with VW following closely behind. Toyota will stay the course and eventually their Tundra will become a larger contributor to their profits. Actually both Toyota and Nissan are much more flexible than the Big 3 in that most of their income is derived from cars and crossovers and are less dependent on trucks. Remember 2008 and the drastic effects that the financial crisis and higher fuel had on the Big 3? Toyota was in much better shape than the Big 3 in 2008 and definitely didn't have to sell or discontinue product lines or take any Government loans.

Ohhh Ahhh diesel engines are sooo wonderful

200,000 Ford 2011-2012 Super-Duty with the 6.7 DIESEL engines are stalling leaving truck owners stranded on the highway.

ironic how nobody mentions that !

funny how gasoline prices are down at the same time the price of diesel has gone up!
here in my area diesel is $3.69, gasoline is $2.29 and E85 is $1.79
ooooo wow I can save money cause my diesel gets better mileage WRONG! cause diesel COSTS MORE !

tell me again why do you want a diesel for?

@Tom#3 - Me love you long time.

I believe the the Titan beats the Tundra right out of the gate myself and have been very critical of the 14+ Tundra to the point where I was booted form TH. I suggested that the 5.7L iforce needed to switch from dual vvt-i to vvt-ie so it could hold open the intake cam longer allowing for Atkinson cycle. I also wanted the 5.7L iforce to switch from port injection only to D4S port and direct injection for a higher compression ratio which was crucial in GM's 6.2L getting FE up. I also knew more than any 1/2 ton the 8-speed auto from lexus would help as it is past time to get rid of that 4.3 axle ratio. The 5.7L iforce should at the very least be a 15/20 cty/hwy mpg pickup. It may be capable for as much as 15/22 city/hwy mpg. Now when I suggested that TH said it was fancy tricks now they run a story suggesting it's coming?

@ papa jim
You must be a GM salesman as your comment is a flat out lie because pretty much everybody knows Toyota is making money off the Tundra. That is why it is managed the way it is. They only make small numbers they no they can sell, fewer options (can't order a Tundra with options they were not scheduled to build), fewer configurations and longer generations.

@AD and the rest of us can believe you because...?

I have contacted my local Nissan dealer about the new diesel XD and their contact person talked to me like I have a third eye or something. She did not have a clue about the product whatsoever. Later someone emailed me from the dealership an said they don't know when they are getting any....

@Jeff S

You are splitting hairs at this point. Neither Nissan or Toyota follow the same business model as the big 3 with regard to half ton trucks in the US market.

Their profit centers are in coupes and sedans.

Trucks are simply a strategic move meant to take incremental share away from Ford and GM. They are probably drooling over the success that RAM has had in taking share away from the rest since 2009.

Daimler's big investment in Chrysler filtered down to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the RAM half ton trucks. Each has been a big success during the last four years.

Nissan and Toyota would like to experience that kind of market impact in a specialty line such as half ton trucks.

Please notice that I did not say "profit." This is about market share and impact.

I am not a GM or Toyota salesman papa jim. Yes you did say profit earlier "I seriously doubt that Titans or Tundras are being built for profit" as your message seems to suggest." Now that would be a lie the Tundra does turn a profit just not nearly what the Big 3 do as you said in your last post. Now if we are saying the same thing but differently dis regard post.

I would say the Tundra has been out long enough that it is making some profit, but not enough profit to base the future of the company on or to have bragging rights. Nissan is probably making some profit as well with the Frontier and Titan which are both more than a decade old since they have not been changed that much. A product can be profitable but have a small market share. I don't see either Toyota or Nissan upsetting the market balance of the Big 3. If any manufacturer is going to aggressively gain market share it will be Ram, but then Chrysler is very dependent on Ram and Jeep for their survival. GM and Ford though not as dependent as Ram on trucks are enough dependent that a downturn in truck sales would hurt both of them. I would rather be Toyota because if the truck market goes South they have a stable of best selling cars and crossovers that are fuel efficient meeting and beating most of the current efficiency standards. Toyota has more loyal customers than any of the Big 3 and is Number 1 in the World. Toyota has more time to establish themselves in the truck market and much less dependency on trucks. Toyota can afford to sell less trucks and not discount because they sell a lot of Camrys, Corollas, RAV-4s, and Highlanders to more than make up for any loss or less profits from trucks. If you notice Toyota is not a leader on using new materials or technology on their trucks like Ford is and Toyota will only try something new if forced to by the competition--they have enough loyal customers that will buy their products without even comparing them to a competitors product.

The way you guys chop holes thru the bed of a brand new diesel pickup to install exhaust stacks make me SICK !
I mean how stupid are you ruining your truck and chopping off a perfectly good exhaust system?
I often wonder how someone that stupid has a job that can make that money to afford a truck like that!

You have to be slightly mechanically inclined to own a diesel, you have to at least know the basics how a diesel engine works and I KNOW you have NO idea!

If you notice Toyota is not a leader on using new materials or technology on their trucks like Ford is...

@Jeff S

Toyota brought out a 32 valve all alloy V8 about 25 years ago, first used in a Lexus if I remember correctly.

Ford's 5.0 32 valve engine was about 20 years behind Toyota on that little item. RAM and GM still use pushrod V8s in their half ton trucks all these years later and it does not appear to be costing them any sales.

Toyota had a hybrid gas drivetrain on the market years before Ford, in fact Ford used Toyota-licensed hybrid technoloy in some of their early hybrids like the first gen Escape.

Toyota had a mid engined sports car back in the 1980s the MR2. Sold a lot of them.

Ford? The Mustang only got independent rear suspension in 2015 (unless you count a few hundred IRS Mustang/Cobras a few years back).

I list all of these things to counter your statement that Ford trumps Toyota on technology. Not sure that statement stands on its own.

Wow, the extreme, unrealistic, inaccurate, and ridiculously biased reporting for trucks continue unabated.

Toyota does not use any technology in their trucks that they haven't used first in their cars. Not really talking about hybrid cars I am talking about trucks. Is Toyota using an aluminum body like the new F-150? Do you hear any rumors that Toyota will use aluminum bodies? Does Toyota us turbo charged engines in their trucks like the EcoBoost? Does Toyota have a step on the back bumper to get into the bed. Have you heard 8 or 10 speed automatic transmission planned for the Tundra and Tacoma? No, but Ford, GM, and Ram have plans for 8 and 10 speed autos. Any technology that Toyota uses on their trucks comes from the cars. If you read what I said above the V-6 engine and the 6 speed automatics are not new to Toyota, they are technology shared by their Lexus and other Toyota products. I am not saying this is bad just Toyota is not a risk taker on new technology when it comes to their trucks. Toyota for the most part is very conservative except maybe with the new hydrogen car they are planning. Hybrid engines are not anything new except Toyota applied them to cars--locomotives have used similiar technology for over 40 years.

Many Toyota owners are more concerned about Toyota's reputation for reliability which it is much easier to make a reliable product with older and more proven technology than to experiment with new technology especially when it comes to trucks.

I have owned all of the big 3 trucks and I have moved to the Tundra and so far I do not regret it one bit! The fuel mileage is probably the biggest issue I have with this truck. Guys that drive Tundras would not be caught dead in a Titan, Its kinda like a Harley rider climbing on a Vespa scooter!

I had a tundra and drive a titan. Like the boxed frame and better payload capacity. At least Nissan listens and takes risks. Their 5.6 won't be a carry over like the tundra 5.7. You'll see 400 + HP and an 8 speed transmission. I like the tundra but they need to be more innovative.

Also. I wouldn't be caught dead in a Harley. Had one biggest piece of crap I've ever owned. I'll stick with the Japanese bikes.

@Alex the Ford V8 you make reference to was an exotic item produced in very small numbers. By the late 1990s they were all being hand built--not exactly a production item. Rare as hen's teeth actually.

The 4 valve modular Ford V8s were short lived. The 3 valve was a dog. They had beaucoup cooling issues, blown head gaskets, etc.

Your remark about IRS was incoherent. Are you saying that a live axle is where it's at? It's the technology of the 1920s, actually. It has its place in pickups or HD equipment, not on a sports car.

Overhead camshaft engines have in fact been around for a long time, and with good reason--they work.


For those that knock the 2014 Tundra...have you checked cost vs 2014 GM/Ford/Ram(Fiat) on comparable models? 2014 Tundra is thousands less so the 1-2 MPGs you might save with them over the Tundra is blown out by this. Did you test drive comparable models (i.e crew-cab/biggest engine/etc)? If you did you'd realize the Tundra has better fit & finish, higher quality and reliability and as great or greater power than GM/Ford/Ram(Fiat) even with the "outdated" 5.7 + 6sp trans drivetrain. And when it's 8-10 years down the road (or longer) and you want to sell or trade-in (and if it's still running in decent condition) you'll get a meager $um for your GM/Ford/Ram(Fiat) though you'll be pleasantly surprised re: how much you'll get for your trade with the Tundra as the residual value will be drastically higher than GM/Ford/Ram(Fiat). I judge based on cost vs quality, performance, reliability and residual. I test drove 2014 Ford 3.5 Eco/RAM 5.7/Silverado 5.3/Tundra 5.7 all in crew cab 4x4 and found the Tundra by far the best choice (using my formula of cost vs quality, performance, reliability and residual value).
Now...this article is about the new Titan. My experience with Nissan trucks is I owned a 2006 Frontier for several years. It was a good truck but had more problems than it should (IMO) though residual value ($7500 trade-in in 2014 with 135k on the odo) was great. It cost a few thou$and less than the Taco for the comparable model though the $ I had to spend post-warranty ate that cost up. I didn't consider Titan at the time as I wanted a mid-size truck not full. I'm looking forward to the new Titan though skeptical of reliability and quality based on past ownership of Nissan vehicles. Vehicles are (obviously) machines and are going to break at some point. It's how frequent and how easy breakage occurs that matters. All of this said the best part of both Titan and Tundra is no UAW stink wafting from either of them!

Funny how some guys think you have it all solved. Do you really think Toyota has not turned a profit on the Tundra? Who sells at a loss? That is not a business model in anyone's plan. Toyota sells Tundra's because they are profitable. At the sales point and later when they don't keep coming back for service.

Ford and GM might sell a lot of trucks but come difficult times what happened. GM would have gone under had it not been for the bail out and Ford was not far behind. They mass produce at discount prices to move inventory kinda what Wal Mart does. Which is why they make junk. They only care to move inventory at any price. And that is why I don't buy that crap from Ford, GM and Ram.

@papa Jim. Who sounds naive? What are your sources for your "knowledge"?

I believe that while Nissan builds good race cars, (GTR), their other products are substandard. Their problems began with the grossly underpowered Pathfinder and they still cannot seem to decide on a concrete design theme. I do not appreciate the gigantic trucks that are now produced by Toyota, Nissan, GM, etc. It seems that the truck buying public needs to overcompensate for a lack of something.. Better idea would be to concentrate on making a real functional truck, that is full sized but still able to negotiate city streets. It needs stump pulling torque and some decent mileage to boot. Quad cab is good, dont need an 8' bed. Just a good pickup with power and economy when not stomping the throttle.

Toyota tows a space shuttle but Nissan lads an airplane. great truck - Nissan

First off, this article sound very biased. I own both a Nissan and Toyota truck currently (06 and 07 range) and will have to say the overall quality is better for the Tundra. Mechanically and interior/exterior ascetics wise Toyota will almost always win in the same price point.

One thing I will say, is the Nissan is a lot easier to work on and is WAY more fun to drive. That is something Toyota has never really understood well.

I'm looking forward to both the Tundra and Titan diesel variants but will have to do some more research once they have had a year or two to start showing their flaws.

On another note (and please correct me if I'm wrong) but I thought I heard the Tundra is also using a Cummins engine. Is that correct?

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