New Horizon

Ram’s half-ton and Nissan’s 5.0L Cummins

September 2014 Feature Michael Deulley

Over the last year, the diesel industry has seen a huge push in introducing new diesel platforms into the market. For years, we've all relied on the Big Three to deliver the latest and greatest to our desire for one-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup trucks. Now it seems the winds are shifting in different directions and what we thought we understood about the nature of our industry is beginning to change altogether. One of our familiar friends, Dodge, will soon be delivering the Dodge Ram 1500 V6 Eco-Diesel into the market, opening up new possibilities on a new platform for a new generation of diesel enthusiasts. Another company, Nissan, looks to turn the Big Three into the Big Four with its 5.0L Cummins Titan. With the whirlwind of new and exciting diesels beginning to make its way into the industry, Diesel Tech magazine just had to know more about it.

Reinventing The Ram

For years, we've been comfortable with our beloved Ram 2500 and 3500 Cummins diesels. They're robust, tough as nails and feature one of the most superior engines on the market today. We love 'em and we'll continue to drive them until there's no more diesel in the world to fuel them. But Dodge Ram had another card to play when it announced the introduction of its 1500 Eco-Diesel. The 3.0L V-6 EcoDiesel engine isn't the well-known Cummins platform found in the 1500's big brothers. Instead, being supplied by Fiat’s VM Motori, it's a different animal altogether. But why and how did this come to be? David Sowers, head of Ram truck marketing at Chrysler Group LLC gave a little insight as to the nature and origin of this revolutionary, game-changing Ram.

“We've been looking at diesels in light-duty trucks since the early 2000s,” says Sowers. “There has been a change in customer expectation. They wanted more fuel economy and VM Motori's EcoDiesel platform gave customers that opportunity.”

Although the idea for a diesel-powered light-duty came to life a decade ago, the work it took to make the perfect platform would take years to perfect and hone. The Ram truck brand had been listening to customers’ growing demand for a fuel-friendly light-duty pickup and stayed hard at work designing and collaborating with VM Motori to engineer the perfect pickup that would satisfy the needs of the customer and stay true to the well-loved Ram brand. But why did Ram use a different engine? Well, they had the story on that as well.

“The EcoDiesel engine is a quiet, efficient platform that has been rigorously tested for optimized strength and refinement,” says Sowers.

For a long time now, Ram, and before that Dodge, has offered the tried and true Cummins platform in its larger pickups, but their direction was shifted to strike the right balance of capability, reliability and a great price point that would not only attract customers looking for a strong light-duty truck, but also customers on a budget looking to find their way into a Ram. The Ram 1500 V-6 EcoDiesel is a great addition to an already amazing diesel lineup, and will undoubtedly become a game-changer in the industry for years to come. Need a little more info? Well, for starters, this light-duty Ram is set at 240 horsepower and 420 lbs./ft. of torque. These numbers are pretty amazing, especially when you compare it to some of the larger platforms that are still rolling coal on the road today. The point to take away from this is, don't be fooled by the size of the engine; there's enough power behind this Ram to set the standard for all other light-duty pickups in the industry, and certainly enough power to do any task you demand of it, not to mention the fuel and money you'll save, too. Since we're not rating this Ram, we won't give it five stars, but it can be said that there are some exciting times on the horizon for Ram truck enthusiasts.

Nissan's Titan 5.0L Cummins

Nissan's Titan with a 5.0L Cummins Turbo diesel is something that came as quite a surprise to us. A Cummins platform engine in any pickup is a great idea, but hearing about Nissan's introduction into the world of diesel was exciting enough in itself. Again, our first question was, why? Senior Manager for Nissan Truck and SUV Product Planning A.J. O'Shaughnessy gave the skinny on the diesel Titan.

“For a long time, we've been listening to customer feedback, and many have been looking for a diesel application in our trucks,” says O'Shaughnessy. “We're always listening to the need of our customers, and the upcoming Cummins-equipped Titan is giving our customers exactly what they've been looking for.”

Nissan has had a loyal customer base for years and Nissan wanted to give them something great. Honestly, you can't aim for much more when you introduce the Cummins engine to an already strong pickup like the Titan.

Like most partnerships, there's a bumpy road that has to be traveled. While the program was started years prior, finding the perfect combination to creating a reliable, robust pickup is a task not easily done. Giving customers a diesel pickup has been a goal for Nissan for quite some time, but giving them a great truck that will stand strong for years is a practice that takes hard work, years of design and a whole lot of testing and honing.

“We were in talks with Cummins for quite some time about our diesel Titan,” continues O'Shaughnessy. “We had some starts and stops with the program, but we knew the Cummins engine was bulletproof and the right fit for what we wanted to create.”

More information surrounding the Titan is still too sensitive to release, but O'Shaughnessy noted that the Titan will not only meet the Nissan's diesel enthusiast's desire for a diesel platform, but will give owners a great, hard-working daily driver.

While there is no exact release date for the 5.0L next-generation, Cummins-equipped Titan, Nissan has been working diligently to get this diesel driver to its customers as soon as it’s ready to launch. All we can do for now is try to hold our excitement in and get ready for an industry-altering addition to an already great diesel community.

As an industry, we are continuously growing. With these new introductions to our world, there are sure to be greater things in store for the future. When asked if we could expect more diesel applications in the upcoming years, O'Shaughnessy replied that they're always studying new platforms for new applications and listening to what the customers are asking for. He couldn't definitively say that more is on the horizon for the moment, but we've got our fingers crossed.

Final Thoughts

Diesel pickups are becoming more and more of a common thing to see on the roads today. With Dodge's step into the world of light-duty diesels, and Nissan preparing to release its own Cummins pickup, it's becoming apparent that diesels are taking the automotive industry by storm, which as far as we can see, was only a matter of time. The future of diesel trucks is looking bright and hopefully we'll see more great innovations in our industry in the future.

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