2020 Nissan Titan review: When good isn’t good enough

If you’ve been thinking about buying a pickup truck, then you already know the segment is red hot. The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 are all battling it out for dominance, and honestly, it’s hard to pick between those options. The heavily refreshed Nissan Titan enters the ring swinging for 2020, but it’s really just a middleweight option taking on the heavyweight contenders. Good as the updated Titan is, its swing can’t match the punch offered by its American-made rivals.

7.5 2020 Nissan Titan
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Revamped V8 engine offers strong performance

Updated styling looks good, especially on the Pro-4X

Lots of available driver-assistance technology
Don’t Like

Only one engine, while competitors offer more

No helpful towing tech

Towing and payload numbers fall behind the competition
Nissan simplified the Titan’s lineup for 2020, but with competitors available in myriad configurations, check this only hurts the truck’s appeal. The S, SV and Pro-4X models are offered in King Cab and Crew Cab body styles, while the SL and Platinum Reserve only get the latter. You can buy the Titan with two- or four-wheel drive, except the Pro-4X, which is 4WD only.

No matter which version you choose, check this every Titan is powered by the same engine: a naturally aspirated, 5.6-liter V8. Honestly, the powerplant is the best thing about the Titan, pushing out 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Compared to 2019, check this 5.6-liter engine has more power and torque all the way around — provided you fill it with premium fuel. A higher final drive ratio improves acceleration, which is especially noticeable in the engine’s midrange. In fact, Nissan says the Titan is a full second quicker from 50 to 70 mph than a 2019 model.

The transmission is a gem, probably the quickest-shifting automatic in the class. It never hunts around for the right gear and is happy to upshift or downshift multiple steps at a time. Best of all, a throaty V8 rumble comes into the cabin without much wind or road noise to drown it out.

Not everything about the driving experience is hunky-dory, though. The higher final drive ratio might be great for acceleration, but it can do a doozy on fuel economy. I saw only 14.8 miles per gallon during my week with the Titan. Meanwhile, the EPA estimates that a two-wheel drive truck like mine should return 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

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