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Nissan's 2016 Titan gets a 5.6-liter gasoline V8 option

When the 2016 Nissan Titan was unveiled earlier this year, the big news was the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 available in the XD model. Diesels aren’t very common in half-ton trucks, and Nissan and Cummins still hope this configuration will help distinguish the Titan in a cutthroat segment.

But no modern truck worth its tow hitch is offered with just one engine option. So alongside the diesel, Nissan will offer a more conventional 5.6-liter gasoline V8 in its overhauled pickup. Built in Tennessee, this second engine will become available next spring.

The gasoline V8 should look familiar to owners of the previous-generation Titan, as it shares displacement and other characteristics with the sole engine offered in that truck. But for 2016 it gets a significant bump in power, producing 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, compared to the 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of the previous version. That’s thanks in part to direct injection, and a higher compression ratio.

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Nissan will pair the 5.6-liter V8 with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 gets a six-speed automatic. That engine, by the way, produces 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque, and could return better fuel economy. Buyers will have to decide exactly what they want from their trucks when choosing between gasoline and diesel: the gas engine will probably be better at highway cruising, but the diesel’s torque and presumed fuel efficiency might make it a more practical choice.

Of course, pricing will also be a major factor, and Nissan won’t discuss that until closer to the gasoline engine’s launch next year. Nissan plans to offer the Titan with three cab configurations, two frame sizes, and three powertrain options. That means there’s still one more engine yet to be revealed. Most manufacturers offer a smaller V6 engine in base models, so perhaps Nissan will go that route too.

The availability of a wider variety of powertrain and body configurations will likely be as important to the Titan’s success as any specific feature, including the pair of V8 engines. Sales kick off this month with the diesel Titan XD crew cab.