2020 Nissan Titan arrives with better looks, more tech

Nissan revamps its struggling full-size truck for 2020, but with competition so strong, it still might not be enough.

The off-road specific Pro-4X trim of Nissan's new Titan looks especially good.

Nissan

NIssan debuted the 2020 Titan on Thursday at the Texas State Fair, sporting a redesign complete with a retuned engine and more driver assistance systems than before. However, the full-size truck market is supercompetitive, and while these changes are welcome, they may not be enough for the Titan to move much further up in the ranks.

For 2020 the Titan adds more features to its Nissan Safety Shield 360 system. Now standard on all trims are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist and rear automatic braking. Further, the truck also gets optional adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, a driver alertness system and rear door alert. 

In-dash technology gets a boost, as well. An 8-inch touchscreen is now standard, while a 9-inch screen with Wi-Fi is available, both running the Nissan Connect infotainment tech. Meanwhile, a 7-inch, customizable driver information display lives in the gauge cluster. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still along for the ride, as is the 12-speaker Fender audio system. 

Shown here in SL trim, the Titan's interior gets an optional 9-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan

Though the 5.0-liter diesel engine was nixed for 2020, Nissan's 5.6-liter V8 gas engine gets a bump from 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque to an even 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. There's no word on what that increase in power means for towing and payload, but the current Titan can haul up to 1,930 pounds and tow up to 9,660 pounds. I expect those numbers to go up just a tad. 

Nissan scraps the old seven-speed automatic transmission in favor of a new, nine-speed unit. The final gear ratio has been reset to allow quicker acceleration and more midrange punch. "The powertrain feel is more linear through the gears," Nissan's official statement says. I assume that's marketing-speak for "the transmission doesn't hunt around for the correct gear," but I won't know for sure until I spend some time behind the wheel.

Big styling changes come to the Titan's exterior with what the company calls a Powerful Warrior design. (Incidentally, that's also my favorite yoga pose.) Three different interlocking grilles are on offer, depending on trim level, with the Pro-4X featuring a red Nissan badge right on the nose. A new bumper is also on hand, with available chrome or black accents.

LED lighting is available all the way around the truck, including new LED lighting in the bed and new LED taillights. The LED headlights that come standard on the Pro-4X, SL and Platinum Reserve trims produce 120% more light in low-beam mode than the previous Titan.

The 2020 Titan has three different grille options, depending on trim. Pictured here is the SL trim.

Nissan

New paint choices round out the exterior changes. Drivers can now choose from Red Alert, Baja Storm and Cardinal Red Metallic in addition to older colors like Brilliant Silver Metallic, Gun Metallic, Super Black, Pearl White, Glacier White and Deep Blue Pearl.

Even with these updates, the Titan is still at a disadvantage, competing with completely new versions of the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, to say nothing of the best-selling Ford F-150. Judging from what I've seen here at the Texas State Fair, the Titan gets closer to an even footing but still has a rough road ahead. The Ram's interior is second-to-none and the available 12-inch screen is great for truck tech nerds. The GMC Sierra excels with an available 15-camera setup to make towing less stressful, not to mention the awesome Multi-Pro tailgate. The 5.3-liter V8 in the Chevrolet Silverado features a fuel management system that lets it run on anything from two to eight cylinders, and the Ford F-150 features a Pro Trailer Backup Assist to help newbies reverse the trailer easier. The Titan gets a few welcome additions for 2020, but none of them really changes the outdated, underperforming truck's game.

Nissan hasn't released any official word on pricing, but look for the 2020 Titan to hit dealerships early next year.