Nissan updates the Titan of all pickup trucks.
2020 Nissan Titan Review
The Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck, a model introduced in 2005, then completely overhauled in 2017 to launch its second generation. This year, it receives a refresh with unique grille designs across its trim line along with new headlights and daytime running lights. The updated powertrain includes a new automatic transmission. Finally, the 2020 Titan has more standard safety features than before.
Five trims are available: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve. Most come with standard rear-wheel drive and available four-wheel drive. All Titans are powered by a V8 gas engine.
You can’t find a regular cab Titan these days as this once dominant body style has given away to extended (King) and Crew Cab options. It seems customers want four doors and anything less means manufacturers must justify the cost of keeping a two-door model. With Titan sales at the bottom of the segment, the decision to eliminate the Regular Cab was a wise one.
With two cab choices left, the customer must decide between rear three-quarter or rear full-size doors. The Crew Cab is the natural choice here as it supplies the most interior room.
The list of standard features includes halogen headlights and 18-inch steel wheels. Also available are 18- and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. All trims except the PRO-4X have all-season tires; otherwise all-terrain tires are standard on the off-road PRO-4X. All trims include four fixed tie-down hooks and a removable, lockable, and damped tailgate. Four moveable aluminum cleats are available. A bed channel-management system is extra as is a bed liner.
Moving away from the base S trim brings in many features of note including LED tail lights and cargo bed lights (SV trim); LED low and high beam headlights, double boomerang LED daytime running lights, and LED fog lights (PRO-4X); LED lights under the bed rail and footwell lamps (SL); and body color and chrome grille accents, two-tone painted overfenders, and illuminated chrome running boards (Platinum Reserve).
Features such as puddle lamps, heated, and tilt-down side mirrors are also available beginning with the PRO-4X. Front tow hooks, a trailer light and brake controller, and receiver hitch are also available.
How much room do you want inside your pickup truck? If you’re like the overwhelming majority of shoppers, only a Crew Cab will do. In the Nissan, you still have a choice of a King Cab layout, but it’s shorter and the rear-swinging rear doors give way to a smaller rear compartment. Opt for the Crew Cab and five big guys can sit inside without touching shoulders.
Standard front and rear bench seats allow the Titan to claim room for six. However, we’d be willing to sacrifice one of the seating positions for the very comfortable front bucket seats found in the top three trims (optional in the SV). They’re big, wide, and plush – just imagine any tall or heavyset person upfront and those seats become thrones to them.
The rear bench seat folds up, effectively creating extra storage space when the truck bed is full or when weather conditions merit protected space. Under the rear seat is a storage locker that is ideal for the safekeeping of expensive tools.
The standard cloth seats look and feel quite good. There’s also leather upholstery that’s standard beginning with the PRO-4X trim. We like the available embroidered leather on the PRO-4X as it supplies a distinct look.
All trims come with keyless entry, push-button start, full power accessories, and air conditioning. The list of upgrades includes 8-way power driver with lumbar support (SV) and 4-way power front passenger seats (PRO-4X); driver heated (SV) and cooled (SL) front seats, heated outboard second-row seats (PRO-4X, Platinum Reserve), metallic kick plates (SL), and open-pore wood finishers (Platinum Reserve).
Other upgrades include climate control, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and a power-sliding rear cab window.
The Titan’s standard 8-inch touch-screen is the largest in its class, but choose the PRO-4X and above brings in a better resolution 9-inch touch-screen display. Nissan equips the Titan with a standard six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
Nissan’s connectivity services begin with the SV trim and navigation comes in with the PRO-4X. A pair of 12-speaker audio packages are also available, including a delightful Fender arrangement. You’ll also find pre-wiring for a DVD rear entertainment system, which is a port-installed upgrade.
Besides the usual suite of airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control systems, Nissan supplies a generous package of driver-assist safety features as standard equipment. These features include lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
You’ll also find adaptive (intelligent) cruise control beginning with the SV trim. Another safety feature is traffic sign recognition. It comes standard beginning with the PRO-4X or optionally with the SV.
Every 2020 Titan comes with a 5.6-liter V8 gas engine with 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of power for a pickup truck. This year, a new 9-speed automatic transmission debuts, matching the unit now found in the midsize Nissan Frontier pickup truck.
The Titan’s engine is perfectly suited for this model. With at least 5,200 pounds of truck to move (and in some cases three tons at the ready), anything less would have taken away from its performance. You’re forgiven if you think this beefy V8 is Detroit iron – it acts like one and reminds us of the 6.2-liter V8 powering GM’s large pickup trucks.
Step-off power is steady and strong – this naturally aspirated V8 operates willingly and without complaint. Floor the gas pedal and the V8 roars – you’ll move up to highway speeds and beyond with ease. Working almost seamlessly is the 9-speed automatic transmission, which does a stellar job of lining up the right cog for the moment. We may forget that Nissan isn’t only about CVTs – the company knows how to make very good automatic transmissions. We’d only wish automatics were more widely available, but we understand the fuel efficiency edge a CVT supplies.
Opting for four-wheel drive is a natural upgrade for anyone anticipating operating in snowy or muddy conditions or frequenting sand, dirt, or gravel roads. This system includes a transfer case designed to maximize power distribution in every gear. You’re aided with hill start assist and a brake limited-slip differential. The PRO-4X trim brings in Hill Descent Control and, optionally, an electronic locking rear differential.
Keep an eye on the Off-Road gauge when four wheeling to track the Titan’s tire angle, relative pitch and roll angles. It’s a useful tool when rolling down trails, but helpful on other less-even terrains.
We weren’t able to take the Titan to our favorite off-road haunt, the Uwharrie National Forest, but we did find a long stretch of gravelly road with muddy sections much closer. Dialing in 4-High early on will save this truck from much slippage. It’s a must to avoid spinning out, especially if traveling at a relatively fast clip. The all-terrain tires on our PRO-4X trim proved their worth and are a must-have upgrade over the standard all-season radials.
You’ll average about 15 mpg with the Titan and that’s typical of pickup trucks in this class outfitted with a powerful engine. If you need to pull, its towing capacity ranges from 9,210 to 9,370 pounds. That’s lower than what its chief competitors supply. Opt for the Titan XD and the towing capacity rises to 11,000 pounds.
The Ford F-150 is the top-selling model in this segment. From GM come the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins. The Ram 1500 is another formidable player in this segment. Finally, Toyota has its own entry in the Tundra.
Both Toyota and Nissan are at a distinct disadvantage to their American rivals as each offers multiple powertrain choices, including turbo-diesel engines. Nissan targets a much narrower section of the market by offering more standard equipment from the onset.
We’d choose a Crew Cab to enjoy maximum interior room. Further, we’d begin our build with the SV trim, then make our selection based on a variety of packages and amenities. Just like competing models, a well-equipped Titan Crew Cab will cost you at least $50,000. With this in mind, choosing additional upgrades will depend entirely on the features that are most important to you.
2020 Nissan Titan Specifications
|Price Range||$36,190 to $61,690|
|Standard Engine||5.6-liter, V8|
|Horsepower||400 @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||413 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Seating||5 to 6|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||5,502 to 5,919|
|Length (inches)||243.4, 244.4|
|Width (inches)||79.5, 80.7|
|Height (inches)||75.1 or 78.9|
|Storage (cubic feet)||67.0|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||7,100 to 7,300|
|Towing (pounds)||9,210 to 9,370|
|Payload (pounds)||1,580 to 1,680|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||26.0|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||16/22/18|
|Manufacturing Plant||Canton, Mississippi|
See Also — 2020 Nissan Frontier Highlights
Data compiled by Tom Keegan. Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.