Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG – How Can You Improve Its Fuel Economy?

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG – How Can You Improve Its Fuel Economy?

Despite the terribleness of the 2020s 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 on the market for a while now. 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.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel

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.

Cummins Turbo Diesel

The second-generation Titan came in two forms, the regular and the XD. That latter variant is what our Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG guide 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, the Cummins turbo-diesel has a lot more torque, 555lb-ft vs. around 394lb-ft of torque in the gas 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.

Nissan Titan MPG

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 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 closest 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.

Does Diesel Get Better MPG

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 towns or urban driving, however, and those figures can drop to around 15 MPG.

Bear in mind, that 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.

How To Get Better MPG In A Diesel Truck

nissan titan xd diesel mpg

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 them. 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 control 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.

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 will clog up your DPF (diesel particulate filter). 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 DPF.

How Many MPG Does A Diesel Truck Get

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 take care of the DPF’s well-being 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 and whether it can meet emissions standards. However, deleting your DPF is not a good idea.

How To Improve 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 are 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…

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #1: Practice Good Maintenance

nissan titan xd diesel mpg

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.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #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 loads. 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 gas), 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.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #3: Keep The RPMs Low

Fuel economy pickup truck

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 gas 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 is where it’s at if you want to maintain an economical MPG for your Titan XD Diesel.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #4: Use The Right Set Of Tires

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 Tips #5: Mind the Weight

Have you ever wondered how much junk or unnecessary items you’ve got in your truck? Excess weight can quickly diminish fuel economy. Every pound counts, particularly in larger vehicles like the Titan. If you’re not using the toolbox, sandbags, or other heavy items, it’s better to take them out. A lighter truck uses less power to move, translating to better fuel economy.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #6: Aerodynamics Matters

A truck, by design, isn’t the most aerodynamic vehicle. However, you can still make improvements. Roof racks, large mirrors, or other external fittings can disrupt airflow. If they’re not necessary, consider removing them. Likewise, if you have a truck bed cover, it can improve airflow and enhance fuel efficiency. The smoother the air flows over your vehicle, the less resistance, which means less fuel burnt.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #7: Watch your Driving Habits

Your driving habits play a pivotal role in determining the MPG. Quick starts and sudden stops waste fuel. So, avoid “flooring” the accelerator or slamming on the brakes. Moreover, using cruise control on highways can maintain a steady speed and optimize fuel usage. Smooth, gradual changes in speed are the secret to achieving better fuel economy.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #8: Avoid Excessive Idling

Letting your Titan XD idle for extended periods can consume more fuel than you might think. If you’re waiting for someone or stuck in a non-moving traffic jam, consider turning off the engine. Modern diesel are much more efficient with their start-stop cycles, ensuring no excess fuel wastage on restarts.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #9: Plan Your Routes

Taking the time to plan your trips, whether it’s for work or errands, can lead to fewer miles driven. Combine multiple tasks into one trip. Not only does this strategy save fuel, but it also reduces wear and tear on your Titan. GPS or mapping apps can also guide you to the most efficient route, avoiding heavy traffic areas which can consume more fuel due to frequent stops and starts.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #10: Seasonal Considerations

Fuel economy can fluctuate with the seasons. In colder months, diesel can become more viscous, requiring the engine to work harder. You can mitigate this by using winterized diesel when temperatures dip. Likewise, in summer, ensure your air conditioner is serviced, as a malfunctioning one can put extra strain on the engine, reducing MPG.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG Tips #11: Regularly Check Wheel Alignment

If your Titan’s wheels are misaligned, even slightly, it can lead to increased tire wear and drag. This drag causes the engine to work harder, guzzling more fuel in the process. Regular alignment checks ensure your wheels are in harmony, translating to a smoother ride and better fuel economy.

In conclusion, optimizing your Nissan Titan XD Diesel’s MPG isn’t just about the truck itself but also how you treat and operate it. From maintaining the right tire pressure to adjusting driving habits, minor tweaks can lead to significant savings. After all, a well-maintained Titan not only performs at its peak but also goes easy on your wallet.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel Fuel Economy Facts

  1. The Nissan Titan XD diesel isn’t required to report its fuel economy numbers due to its gross vehicle weight rating of over 8,500 pounds.
  2. The Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X equipped with a turbo-diesel 5.0-liter engine is the final year for the Titan XD with a diesel engine.
  3. The Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X produces 310 horsepower and 555 pounds-feet of torque.
  4. The Nissan Titan XD is considered a “tweener” truck, providing extra power over a light-duty truck for towing and hauling but is less expensive than a full-on heavy-duty model.
  5. The Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X equipped with chunky General Grabber all-terrain tires isn’t made for maximizing mileage, but rather for off-road use.
  6. The Nissan Titan XD diesel was tested in a 200-mile fuel economy loop around suburban Detroit, MI.
  7. The Nissan Titan XD diesel’s trip computer showed an average of 18.8 mpg overall during the test.
  8. Calculations using mileage and fuel used during the test showed an average of 18.7 mpg for the 2019 Nissan Titan XD diesel.
  9. The Nissan Titan XD diesel’s fuel economy is comparable to the 2017 three-quarter-ton Premium Truck Challenge’s on-road-oriented Titan XD Platinum Reserve model’s fuel economy of 19.3 mpg.
  10. Nissan plans to end production of the diesel later in the year, making it an interesting alternative choice in the pickup market with a competitive fuel economy and a lower price point than heavy-duty trucks.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG: In Conclusion…

Fuel economy pickup truck

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 of 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 the 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.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’re still curious to learn more about the Nissan Titan XD Diesel MPG, our FAQs here might help…

Where Are Nissan Titans Made

The Nissan Titan, alongside the old QX56 and Nissan Armada, were all built at Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi. All three of those models were engineered atop Nissan’s then-new F-Alpha; a full-sized, body-on-frame platform. But going back to Nissan’s Canton plant, more than 50% of the Titan’s components are sourced from suppliers in Canada and the US, before being put together in Mississippi. Meanwhile, the remainder of the parts – mostly transmission-related components – were shipped over from Japan. The rest of the Titan, however, is proudly American. It was designed in Nissan’s studios in California, before undergoing engineering work in Michigan. While the gasoline engines were made in Tennessee, the Titan’s Cummins diesel was built in Indiana.

Are Nissan Titans Good Trucks

While Nissan’s Titan isn’t a best-seller in the truck market today, it’s certainly among the best. It’s a pretty solid truck all-around, with a powerful V8 engine, and being a Nissan, it’s also rather reliable. Although, there are certainly some downsides when comparing it to other, more featureful full-size trucks. For instance, the Titan isn’t as spacious inside, especially in the second-row seating. Moreover, and this would no doubt be a deal-breaker for many, its towing and payload capacities are lower than most other competing full-size trucks. Therefore, although the Titan is a full-size truck, it’s not as heavy-duty or as rugged as some others, especially as a work truck.

How Reliable Are Nissan

Nissan’s history with reliability and build quality had been rather poor in the past. In the early 2000s and 2010s, Nissan faced numerous issues with its CVT transmissions failing, not to mention endless complaints concerning its cheap, plasticky build. However, Nissan has made significant improvements in recent years. As of a very recent 2022 survey by RepairPal, Nissan scored 4.0 out of 5.0 for reliability. Note, this was an average across 345 unique Nissan models and variants. This ranks Nissan as the 9th most reliable brand out of 32 other automakers – not a bad result. RepairPal’s surveys also unveiled that Nissan’s recent line-up of vehicles isn’t as likely to break down or face severe issues, compared to other automakers. Although, Nissan’s cars are slightly more expensive to maintain than others.

What Cummins Is In The Nissan Titan

The Nissan Titan is available with either a gasoline or a diesel engine. Concerning the gasoline powertrain, it’s a 5.6-liter V8, engineered by Nissan. Meanwhile, the diesel is a 5.0-liter turbo-diesel ISV V8 from Cummins. The diesel option has less horsepower than the gasoline engine – 310hp compared to a mighty 390hp. However, being a diesel, it has significantly more torque compared to the gasoline powertrain – 555lb-ft compared to just 394lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, it was announced in 2020 that the Cummins diesel option would be dropped in favor of an updated gasoline engine. This time, the aforementioned 5.6-liter gasoline V8 could output 410hp and 413lb-ft of torque. This decision was driven by the fact that the Cummins variants of the Titan didn’t sell well.

Does Nissan Make A Diesel Truck

As of 2022, Nissan no longer makes any diesel trucks. They used to, however, before discontinuing the Nissan Titan XD Diesel in 2020. Back then, it had a Cummins turbo-diesel V8, which unfortunately sold rather poorly for Nissan to continue offering it. One of the reasons for this was the Titan’s meager towing and payload capacities, as well as poorer fuel economy when compared to other diesel full-size trucks. In addition, there was a myriad of engine issues, too. While the 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel V8 was a solidly reliable motor on its own, pairing it with the Titan caused some problems. There were numerous issues, such as DEF pump failures, faulty EGR valves, bad coolers, malfunctioning turbos, and more. All of which served to push customers away.


  1. Mark Wolinsky

    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

    1. Harry Gibson
      Zack Norman

      Thanks for the comment, Mark Wolinsky!

      Wow, brilliant work at keeping a pretty detailed log of your Titan XD Diesel’s fuel economy, mileage, DEF, and regen. I wonder if other owners are getting similar figures, too…


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