Automotive

Review: 2020 Nissan Titan gets a raft of much-needed improvements

Review: 2020 Nissan Titan gets...
A big improvement for the 2020 Titan is the introduction of a nine-speed automatic transmission in place of the seven it had before
A big improvement for the 2020 Titan is the introduction of a nine-speed automatic transmission in place of the seven it had before
View 15 Images
A big improvement for the 2020 Titan is the introduction of a nine-speed automatic transmission in place of the seven it had before
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A big improvement for the 2020 Titan is the introduction of a nine-speed automatic transmission in place of the seven it had before
A few aesthetic changes mark the exterior of the 2020 Nissan Titan as it enters its midcycle refresh
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A few aesthetic changes mark the exterior of the 2020 Nissan Titan as it enters its midcycle refresh
One of the more marked exterior changes for the 2020 Titan is in the grille, which is a bit less massive in appearance than it was before
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One of the more marked exterior changes for the 2020 Titan is in the grille, which is a bit less massive in appearance than it was before
The Pro-4X model of the Titan upgrades the truck with off-road goodies like a locking rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers, and knobbier tires
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The Pro-4X model of the Titan upgrades the truck with off-road goodies like a locking rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers, and knobbier tires
At the rear tailgate of the 2020 Nissan Titan, a large gate cover adds bling to the truck on some models such as this Pro-4X edition
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At the rear tailgate of the 2020 Nissan Titan, a large gate cover adds bling to the truck on some models such as this Pro-4X edition
Other light changes to the bodywork on the 2020 Titan can be seen from the rear as the fenders lose some of their bulge and the tailgate and lighting gets more modern
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Other light changes to the bodywork on the 2020 Titan can be seen from the rear as the fenders lose some of their bulge and the tailgate and lighting gets more modern
The 2020 Nissan Titan still comes with only one engine and one rear axle ratio, but has one consistent tow rating no matter which model is chosen
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The 2020 Nissan Titan still comes with only one engine and one rear axle ratio, but has one consistent tow rating no matter which model is chosen
The Nissan Titan has been the underdog pickup truck since its introduction in 2003
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The Nissan Titan has been the underdog pickup truck since its introduction in 2003
The current-generation Nissan Titan was introduced in 2016 and has received a 2020 refresh
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The current-generation Nissan Titan was introduced in 2016 and has received a 2020 refresh
The 2020 Nissan Titan now comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that outputs 400 horsepower
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The 2020 Nissan Titan now comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that outputs 400 horsepower
The 2020 Nissan Titan
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The 2020 Nissan Titan
Hauling lumber in the 2020 Nissan Titan showed its capability as a standard pickup truck despite its Pro-4X bling
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Hauling lumber in the 2020 Nissan Titan showed its capability as a standard pickup truck despite its Pro-4X bling
The Titan now comes standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which adds both forward and reverse automatic emergency braking and blind spot management to the truck
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The Titan now comes standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which adds both forward and reverse automatic emergency braking and blind spot management to the truck
Interior changes in the 2020 Nissan Titan are good attempts at fixing some of the fundamental issues we’ve had with this truck in the past
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Interior changes in the 2020 Nissan Titan are good attempts at fixing some of the fundamental issues we’ve had with this truck in the past
The Louisville Slugger-sized shift handle on the Nissan Titan remains in the 2020 remodel, but other switchgear get upgrades throughout the cabin
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The Louisville Slugger-sized shift handle on the Nissan Titan remains in the 2020 remodel, but other switchgear get upgrades throughout the cabin
View gallery - 15 images

The 2020 Nissan Titan gets several improvements and changes as a mid-cycle refresh. This generation of the Titan was introduced in 2016 and made quite a splash before sinking to the bottom of truck sales in North America. But Nissan learned a few things from that.

At a Glance

  • Improvements include a much better transmission, more standard safety equipment, and a better interior experience.
  • Drive quality for the 2020 Titan is far better than it was for earlier model years.
  • The interior changes are good attempts at fixing some of the fundamental issues we’ve had with this truck in the past.
  • The 2020 Nissan Titan still comes with only one engine and one rear axle ratio, but has one consistent tow rating no matter which model is chosen.

The Nissan Titan has been the underdog pickup truck since its introduction in 2003. In 2016, Nissan introduced a second generation of the truck which, while eye-catching, wasn’t terribly popular. It had a few shortcomings but for the 2020 model year, Nissan has made some changes and addressed some of those shortfalls. Namely, Nissan fixed the previous Titan’s struggling powertrain and some of the poor choices for knobs and switchgear in the truck.

The Louisville Slugger-sized shift handle on the Nissan Titan remains in the 2020 remodel, but other switchgear get upgrades throughout the cabin
The Louisville Slugger-sized shift handle on the Nissan Titan remains in the 2020 remodel, but other switchgear get upgrades throughout the cabin

The new Titan now comes with a 5.6-liter V8 engine that outputs 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm) of torque. This is a slight bump from the previous model and comes mostly due to the better transmission attached. That is a nine-speed automatic instead of the previous seven, adding smoother power delivery throughout the speedometer’s range. This change greatly improves drive quality and confidence in the Titan.

Going with those powertrain changes are some safety updates. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which adds both forward and reverse automatic emergency braking and blind spot management to the truck, now comes as standard, as does adaptive cruise control, eight cabin airbags, and four seatbelt pre-tensioners. Some of these are firsts in the full-sized pickup truck segment in the US.

The 2020 Titan comes in five trim levels, with the Pro-4X we drove landing right about in the middle of those offerings. Nissan has dropped the single cab offering and now offers only King (double) cab and Crew cab models. The Pro-4X package we drove adds several off-road-centric upgrades such as four-wheel drive (optional on all other trims), Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, an electronic locking rear differential, more underbody skid plates, and LED headlamps.

No matter which trim level is chosen, though, the 2020 Nissan Titan is capable of towing 9,370 lb (4,250 kg) in its King Cab and 9,350 lb (4,241 kg) in its Crew Cab, when equipped. We’ll note here that the Titan should not be confused with the Titan XD, which is a similarly-designed, but heavier-duty pickup truck with more capability than the standard half-ton Titan.

Hauling lumber in the 2020 Nissan Titan showed its capability as a standard pickup truck despite its Pro-4X bling
Hauling lumber in the 2020 Nissan Titan showed its capability as a standard pickup truck despite its Pro-4X bling

Inside, there is some improvement as well. The cabin still lacks a lot of the refinement and style of the Nissan’s competitors, being more plain by comparison and more SUV-like in look. Some of the switchgear, especially the radio knobs and a few of the more-used buttons, have been replaced with something more truck appropriate. Previously, these were too small and too lightweight in feel, making them hard to use with cold or gloved hands and out of place in a big, beefy pickup truck. Nissan didn’t replace everything, but it did replace the more obvious incongruous items. Fans of the big Louisville Slugger-sized shift lever will be happy to know it’s still there.

The changes Nissan has made to the new Titan should make it more competitive. The competition in full-sized trucks is, however, very fierce and most of them outclass the Titan in most every way. The Titan should be eyeballing the Toyota Tundra as a chief rival, however, and stacks up well against that truck. With similar capabilities, more updated styling, and a better warranty, the Titan could be a strong nemesis for the Tundra. Time will tell.

Whatever it is, though, the 2020 Nissan Titan has solid improvements, but a long struggle ahead of it if the truck is to begin gaining significant market share.

Product Page: 2020 Nissan Titan

View gallery - 15 images
3 comments
nick101
I had a Nissan pickup back when they were small, cheap to run and inexpensive to buy, this overpriced gas guzzling monster is a travesty.
Lawrence Stacy Jr.
I have had a Nissan truck for over 30 years. Every version and type. 4 of those have been Titans. the best built and quality trucks on the road by far. I and my family have also owned Dodge ( complete trash in every instance). GM ( fair but iffy quality). Ford ( a close 2nd to Nissan). None sunk low enough to try a Toyota. Couldn't get over the bland and over hyped cars to even consider a truck. Have also owned vehicles from Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Infiniti and Cadillac among others so it's not a brand loyalty thing.
Spud Murphy
Why would anyone spend a heap of cash on a fossil fuel dino burner when EV equivalents are about to hit the market which are vastly cheaper to run and maintain and will have a lower TCO. Add to that the collapsing resale value of ICE vehicles compared to EVs, you are just throwing money away. You are much better off fixing the vehicle you have and shifting to an EV once available, which should be next year at the latest.