2020 Nissan Titan

PHOENIX — Nissan launched its current generation Titan pickup truck in 2017. Until then, it had remained relatively unchanged since its initial launch back in 2004. The 2017 Titan was a major leap forward and huge improvement over the previous Titan. To stay competitive — now that the other major brand full-sized pickups have completed refreshes in the past two years — Nissan has given the Titan modest updates outside and some really meaningful feature upgrades for the 2020 model year.

It essentially fixed some of the things we had hoped for — and a few others.

Outside, the Titan gets an updated grille with a higher degree of differentiation between trim levels. New headlamps available as full LED, the tailgate gets different trim-level unique finishers, and rear LED taillights complete the look. Gone from all trim levels are the faux ventiports that previously adorned the front fenders.

There are more changes inside, including the first ever-optional dual-pane sunroof that’s more than three-foot square and the biggest we’ve seen in any full-sized pickup. Technology is also improved and delivered via a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment center that combines with a new seven-inch driver information display. Nissan calls the new nine-inch screen the “Integrated Command Center” with crystal clear and colorful screen information with icons nicely laid out for intuitive usage.

We thought it fairly advanced. That is, until we recently sampled the new and massive 12-inch touchscreen from RAM with its split-screen capability, 350-degree camera views and other class-leading features. We think Nissan could have easily equipped Titan with a larger screen. We really like that Nissan has returned to using the Fender premium audio system that includes 12 speakers with Crew Cab models and 10 speakers on King Cab. 

Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 safety technology is now standard, with a suite of six advanced systems, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and class-exclusive standard rear automatic braking.

The new Titan also features a number of available advanced technologies — Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Driver Alertness and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Nissan's innovative Rear Door Alert is standard on all grade levels. And, the 2020 Titan now includes eight air bags (versus the previous six) and four seat belt pretensioners versus the previous two.

All 2020 Titans are powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 that now delivers 400 horsepower, up from 390 last year and 413 lb-ft of torque up from 394 lb-ft. For the record, competitors offer multiple choices of V-8 engines, V-6, hybrid- and diesel-powered trucks.

Power is delivered via an all-new Jatco nine-speed automatic transmission, up from seven speeds in the outgoing Titan. The suspension and chassis tuning are carryover from last year, ditto for ride and handling, but thanks to added sound deadening material, the new Titan is noticeably quieter.

Towing capability reaches 9,350 pounds for standard drive train trim levels and 9,210 for 4x4s. That’s competitive for the class.

The 2020 Titan Cr
ew Cab features a standard 5.5-foot bed, while the Titan King Cab includes a 6.5-foot bed. Our test Titan SV is available in King and Crew Cab models with cloth seats, carpeting, an overhead console with sunglass holder, and an overall nicely finished cabin. It also included the optional SV utility package with Utilitrack rear cargo bed tie down hooks and a configurable bed alternative.

On the road, our Titan felt quick, quiet and refined, with ample power from the potent V-8 powertrain. Seats are extremely comfortable thanks to Nissan’s Zero Gravity construction materials.

Overall, while the updated 2020 Titan is certainly improved, it fails to break any new ground in the full-sized pickup segment and doesn’t feel as upscale and new as its Detroit Big 3 competitors especially the excellent Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150. It does enjoy an industry and class best five-year or 100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty instead of the usual three-year or 36,000-mile found on competitors.

And, for those who are curious, there is a 2020 Titan XD, the slightly larger heavy-duty Titan that’s only available as a Crew Cab with 4WD and it gets the same improvements as the standard Titan tested here. The new Titans do not go on sale until spring of this year, so it’s too early for pricing or fuel economy numbers.

Vital Stats
Base Price: Not yet available
Powertrain: 5.6-liter 400 hp V-8 connected to an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: Not yet available
Seating: Up to 5

Crash Test Ratings: The 2020 Nissan Titan has not yet been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However the very similar 2019 Nissan titan received an overall “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and an overall score of 4 out of a possible 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Where Built: Canton, Mississippi

Competes With:
Chevrolet Silverado
Ford F-150
Ram 1500
Toyota Tundra

Fab Features
New and huge panoramic sunroof
Best new truck warranty: 5:years/100/000 mile
Standard Safety Shield 360

— Jim Prueter