Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG – As Poorly As It Might Seem?

Despite the terribleness of 2020 and the pandemic that ruined it, at least some parts of the industry were making bank. While regular cars tanked in sales by more than 50%, the good old pickup truck seemed relatively undeterred. In fact, five of the top ten best-selling vehicles in the USA as of 2020 were all pickups. The podium was firmly theirs. Although it didn’t make it into the top ten, Nissan’s own Titan has been selling well lately. So, what is the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG?

Though quite specific, it’s a great question to ask. The Nissan Titan XD Diesel has a gross weight rating of over 8,500lbs. As such, Nissan isn’t obliged to reveal its fuel economy figures like a regular automobile, as the Titan is considered more of a commercial vehicle. Still, if you’re planning to get a Titan of your own, or already own one, surely you must be curious? Fuel can be an expensive commodity, after all. Well then, let’s try to find out what the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG really is.

What Is The Nissan Titan?

The Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG ratings are quite competitive.

Just in case you didn’t know, the Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck built and made for the North American market. The name came from the pre-Olympian gods of ancient Greek mythology, when the Titans ruled over the earth. It was first developed in late 1999. Later, it was then previewed officially with the Alpha T concept at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show. The Titan was later introduced to the public in 2003, which shared a similar ‘F-Alpha’ platform with the Nissan Armada and the Infiniti QX56.

This first-generation Titan went on sale for a long time, from 2003 all the way to 2015, as is Nissan’s tradition. Though it did have a mid-cycle refresh and facelift in 2008. The second-generation Titan saw a huge change in terms of design. Initially, it was planned that this new Titan would be a rebadged version of the Dodge Ram, but this idea fell through. Although Nissan had goals to sell 100,000 units in its first full year. Unfortunately for Nissa, sales were just under 22,000 units in 2016.

The Last Of The Diesels

The second-generation Titan came in two forms, the regular and the XD. That latter variant is what our Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG will be about. Built on heavy-duty frames, the XD shared some underpinnings with other commercial vehicles, like the Nissan NV van. Two engine options were offered. The first was a 5.6-liter gasoline V8, made by Nissan. Next, we have a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel ISV V8 motor. It had less horsepower than the gasoline version, 310hp vs 390hp.

However, that Cummins turbo-diesel has a lot more torque, 555lb-ft vs. around 394lb-ft of torque in the petrol engine. The Cummins diesel engine is only made available from the second-generation Titan’s launch in 2016, and all the way up to 2019. A refresh in 2020 dropped the Cummins motor, leaving you with a retuned 5.6-liter gasoline V8. It’s been upgraded slightly, now producing 400hp and 413lb-ft of torque. No doubt, the extra torques from that diesel will be missed.

This is thanks to the fact that the Nissan XD as a whole has proven to be a somewhat odd vehicle. Some owners and reviewers have said that it can be neither here nor there. Although technically a heavy-duty pickup, it’s not tough enough as some of its direct competitors in this class. On the other hand, it can be a bit too capable and meaty compared to other, lesser light-duty trucks. Nissan themselves calls the Titan XD to be a “tweener” truck, as an in-between.

How Is The MPG Rating In The Nissan Titan XD Diesel?

In other words, Nissan wanted the Titan to be more performant than common light-duty trucks for work like towing or hauling. Yet, they wanted it to be cheaper and more approachable than a full-on heavy-duty truck like its rivals. But perhaps the fuel economy of the Titan XD makes a good compromise between the two? Since the diesel-powered motor is only available from 2016 through to 2019, our sample set for the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG guide will be fairly small.

Now remember, the XD is classed as a heavy truck, and is thus exempt from the EPA’s regular fuel economy estimates that you’ll find with a lot of regular cars. Owing to this, a lot of MPG ratings are based on testing and customer reports that we’ve found while plucking around the internet. But before that, we should set a yardstick. We need a ballpark figure of other competing pickup trucks, which we can then compare the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG ratings, and see if they’re any good.

Once again, it can be hard to pin down a more direct comparison, since the Titan XD Diesel sits in the middle of being a light and heavy-duty truck. Yet, we can say that its closes rivals are trucks like the Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 2500. While your own mileage may vary depending on how you’re using it, the combined mileage of these trucks is around 18 MPG. Often, these are low to mid 18s. Comparatively then, we can now discover why people are favoring the Titan.

You’ll Get Very Competitive MPGs In The Titan XD Diesel… Sometimes

According to the testing data that we’ve found, it looks like the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG ratings just barely beat out the competition. Given the margin of error, we’ll say they’re more or less the same as its rivals from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge. It can get around mid to high 18 MPG. As with the other trucks, highway driving can net you somewhere between 19 to 21 MPG. Take it around congested town or urban driving, however, and those figures can drop to around 15 MPG.

Bear in mind, the Titan XD Diesel has a 26-gallon fuel tank. Doing some quick maths here, the average mileage based on road tests will net you at least 468 miles in total range for a combined mixture of driving. Or, it can manage nearly 500 miles if you’re careful, as some tests show that the Titan XD Diesel can manage around 19 MPG in combined driving. This is actually on par with a lot of trucks in a similar category, and in some cases outclasses them slightly.

There Are Some Caveats That You Need To Take Note Of

Nonetheless, there is that big “sometimes” that we highlighted earlier in our Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG guide. It’s important to note that fuel consumption ratings aren’t an easy one-and-done deal, as it varies a lot depending on how you drive it. As for the Titan, the community seems to have split opinions on the MPG ratings it gets. The biggest reason for this is “regen”, or the regeneration cycles for diesel particulate filters (DPF), which controls the emissions from that diesel engine.

Just like a gasoline particulate filter that Europe is mandating cars be fitted with nowadays, the DPF works to catch those small particulates from the diesel’s combustion process, which a catalytic converter might miss. Nonetheless, continually scrubbing the exhaust gases clean of particulates can cause the DPF to clog up at times. For that reason, the DPF is built so that it can perpetually unclog itself, thus ensuring that it can more efficiently capture any dirt particles from the exhaust.

This is usually done by “cooking” the DPF to make it clean again. The regenerative “regen” cycle will increase and contain all the exhaust’s heat to burn out the build-up of particulates, so that it can be nice and clean again. In many cars like the Titan, the regen is done automatically as the computers and sensors can notice a build-up of soot in the exhaust pipe. As you need a lot of heat to burn all this out, fuel consumption can take a nosedive during a typical regen process.

What Do You Need To Know About Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Regen?

While driving, you can sometimes feel this regen happening in real-time. It could be a reduction in power, or a hissing sound as the exhaust is burnt clean. That loss of power is due to the clogging of the particulate filters, hence choking the performance. Some first-time diesel owners, especially, can mistake this for a fault with the car. There are times in which an automated regen might not suffice, which leads to a ‘forced regeneration cycle’.

This is where you’ll take your diesel car or truck to a technician to force the regen to happen. Regen cycles vary depending on the vehicle, the fuel, and the usage, which includes the Titan XD Diesel. For example, a more well-used truck needing to haul a lot of load and running on lower quality diesel might need multiple regen cycles in a day. Adding additives and regular servicing can reduce the number of regens you might face.

Essentially, the number of regen cycles that your car will have depends on the quality of the fuel and its burn. The cleaner the diesel burns, the less soot and particulates that’ll clog up your DPF. As a result, you’ll need fewer regen cycles. Due to the effects of regeneration cycles, like losing power or the engine’s performance as a whole not being able to run smoothly, it’s been found that your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG can be heavily influenced by the state of the diesel particulate filter.

How Much Can The DPF Affect Your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG?

The effects of having a clogged up DPF and regen cycles on your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG can be quite substantial. Looking through the Nissan Titan owner’s forums, we’ve found a myriad of different figures. One particular owner states that prior to regen, their Titan XD Diesel can handle 18 MPG on the highway, and as low as 9 MPG while towing. After a clean regen, however, they can now get at least 11 MPG while towing, and 20 or more MPG on the highway.

Some other owners have been very happy, too. They can drive upwards of 23 or 26 MPG on the highway, with a good regen. Others, meanwhile, aren’t too lucky, with one owner getting just 7 MPG while towing and 12 MPG in the town. Clearly then, how your Titan XD Diesel is able to regen properly, and taking care of the DPF’s wellbeing is crucial in maintaining a higher fuel economy and better performance. There is another way to solve this other than good maintenance.

It seems like a lot of owners of diesel-powered vehicles are removing – or “deleting” – their diesel particulate filters (DPF). This can indeed solve the aforementioned problem of performance and fuel consumption. However, it’s worth mentioning that removing a DPF is illegal in some areas. There are ways to legally remove it, such as having your car re-certified whether it can meet emissions standards. However, deleting your DPF is not a good idea.

What Can You Do To Improve Your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG?

So far then, we’re better acquainted with the true figures behind the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG. While it’s no Prius, the MPG ratings of said Titan is quite well in line with many competing pickup trucks on the market. We’ve also learned by now that its DPF and regen cycles respectively play a surprisingly big role in determining how many miles you can drive per gallon of diesel. While two or three extra MPG isn’t something to rave about, it can make a huge distance over time.

But what if 18 or so MPG isn’t good enough for you? Even if it is, surely you can do better, no? Indeed, there are a few ways in which you can improve on already decent fuel consumption. Here are some examples of what you can do to up that Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG…

1. Practice Good Maintenance

As we hinted at before, good maintenance makes all the difference. If a car can run smoother and in better harmony than before, then fuel efficiency will naturally go up. This is especially true for the Titan. As it is a heavy-duty truck, it’s likely that you’ll be stressing it quite often. This may include hauling a lot of stuff in the back, or towing a trailer. This added strain will cause wear and tear more often than just regular driving would, but keeping on top of servicing would help.

For example, a blocked air filter can cause your Titan’s engine to work a lot harder just to output the same amount of horsepower. Swapping out those filters can spare you a lot of added grunt. Old and burnt-out motor oil isn’t able to lubricate as well. This, in turn, will cause the engine to work inefficiently. Or, the transmission fluid might need replacing. As you can imagine, having to change gears in a pool of sludgy and oozy gearbox oil is less than ideal.

Little by little, not servicing your car or truck properly can take away a bit of horsepower and torque at a time. Individually, the extra fuel consumption might not make a difference. But over hundreds or thousands of miles, you can really see the difference. This is regardless if you use the Titan as an everyday car or a work truck. Simply sending it down to the workshop to have those replaceable items like fluids and filters changed will make a significant addition to your Titan’s MPG.

2. Using Synthetics And Additives

In food, using synthetics or additives isn’t always a healthy or delectable choice. But if you’re keen to improve your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG, it might help. Some companies heartily recommend swallowing the higher cost of synthetic oils and fluids, just for their benefits. It can be very true for those looking to use their vehicles, like the Titan, as workhorses that are constantly under heavy load. Synthetic motor oil, for example, is known to better lubricate an engine and its moving bits.

Not just the engine, mind you. There are synthetic alternatives to transmission fluid or oil for the transfer case. These synthetics have been formulated to be the best for not only lubrication, but also for healing the internals of your vehicle. Some of these synthetic fluids have additives in them that repair rubber seals or lines over time, fixing and maintaining their compound’s rigidity. This has the side effect of stretching their lifespan, thus not necessitating a replacement all too often.

As we mentioned before, using good quality diesel and additives can make a big difference to your MPG. Diesel is regarded as a “heavier” form of fuel compared to gasoline, and thus has more properties to maintain in good order. For example, the lubricity, cetane rating (similar to octane for petrol), and sometimes even microbes can have a big impact on their performance. Dripping in some additives could thus have a big enough impact on how quickly or slowly that diesel empties.

3. Keep The RPMs Low

Another way to keep your Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG in the green is by paying more attention to your engine’s revs. Gasoline engines need you to work it through the top of the rev range before the power comes along. On the flip side, diesels don’t work that way. One big advantage of picking diesel over petrol is the low-end torque that surges through as soon as you feather the throttle. While driving your diesel in the higher RPMs won’t cause damage, it will degrade the fuel economy.

The next time you’re in your Titan, just keep the revs as low as possible. Only use the bare minimum amount of power that you need to get up to traffic speeds. Otherwise, all that torque is available right at the bottom end of the rev range. Generally, it’s best to keep your foot light on the throttle pedal, and let the car coast along when you can. Cruising in the lower RPMs are where it’s at if you want to maintain an economical MPG for your Titan XD Diesel.

4. Use The Right Set Of Tyres

Perhaps a more unexpected tip for gaining an extra MPG or two is minding your Titan’s tires. Those rubber donuts can in fact make a big impact on how much fuel you use. In all, it’s your tires that are making contact with the ground. The more efficiently it can roll, and the less aerodynamic drag it can create, the higher your MPGs will be. There are some industry-wide rules that can generally be agreed upon when it comes to the impact tires can have on fuel economy.

For example, new and fresh tires can cut your fuel consumption by around 7% until they’re broken in. For every 10 PSI of pressure that your tires are underinflated by, you lose another 1% of fuel economy. Therefore, you need to know and plan out the right tires for the occasion. If you don’t need to take your Titan out into the woods, then why bother with fitting off-road tires on it? Those thick and chunky tires will do nothing more than cost you pricier fuel bills.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG – Conclusion

Finishing off our guide here, the Titan, although not as popular as its Detroit-born cousins, does at least have some benefits. For one thing, these figures on the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG are a tiny bit better, and can be improved significantly if you drive it well. If you can get 18+ or 20+ MPG in much of your daily driving, then that’s a big win. Although, the performance of that Cummins turbo-diesel might not be to everyone’s liking, despite the impressive torque and towing abilities.

Still, at least owners have praised the build quality on the Titan. It has all the hallmarks of top-notch Japanese engineering and durability. Plus, the Titan’s placement could be a great compromise for anyone looking at a middle ground between the light and heavy pickups. In short, the subject of Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG is much deeper than one would expect. Be sure to mind those diesel particulate filters, and the regen cycles if you’d like to avoid abysmal single-digit MPGs.

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1 Comment

  • Mark Wolinsky Says

    I own a 2017 Titan XD Diesel. I keep very detailed records of mileage, DEF use, Regens etc. I use cruise control as much as possible and I regularly make 20 MPG. Regens average 700 miles although there were some that occurred 100 and 150 miles apart.

    Years of Ownership: 3.683
    Mileage to date: 58,137
    DEF Cost to date: $180.65
    DEF gallons to date: 58.326
    Regen count to date: 84
    Average miles to regen: 692

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