How competent is the Titan at handling everyday tasks?
When it came time for to move apartments, instead of renting a van from U-Haul, we asked Nissan if we could review the facelifted Titan for the week. Not only could we give the 2020 Nissan Titan truck a thorough review, but we could also throw a bed and sofa in the back of it. It's no secret that Nissan distantly trails Ford, Ram, Chevrolet, GMC, and Toyota in full-size pickup truck sales. But with a facelift for 2020, Nissan hopes its new Titan can move more units than before.
Moving into a new apartment may not be the most daunting task for a modern full-size pickup, but we think it served as a competent evaluator for how the Titan might handle everyday tasks. Here is what we liked (and hated) about the Titan during our moving week.
Inside, Nissan equipped the facelifted Titan with two new infotainment screen. An eight-inch unit serves as the base system while our SL trim tester possessed the larger nine-inch screen. Infotainment was a major weak point for Nissan for several years, but this latest system is intuitive to use, lovely to look at and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In the SL, it comes linked to a nice-sounding 12-speaker Fender audio system.
We had just one complaint with this system. With Tropical Storm Isaias set to hit Florida next week, the infotainment system alerted us of the impending weather about five to six times, every single time we started the truck. The readout of the weather can likely be deactivated, but we could not find it in the settings.
Since the Titan sells in much lower volumes than American trucks, Nissan cannot afford to offer endless bed and cab configurations. The King Cab and Crew Cab are the only options available, and each comes locked to a single bed size. Since we tested an SL Crew Cab, we were stuck with the smaller five and a half foot bed rather than the six and a half foot box found on the King Cab. You can step up to a six and a half foot bed with the Crew Cab, but only if you buy the more expensive Titan XD.
That extra foot of space would have come in handy when loading a mattress and sofa into the back and would have prevented us from having to drive with the tailgate down. Fortunately, we had tie-downs and only had to drive across the street for our move, but other trucks in this segment offer much longer bed sizes of up to eight feet.
For 2020, the only engine on offer in the Titan is a 5.6-liter V8 producing 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are strong in the segment, and since there is no smaller option available, Nissan can say the Titan has class-leading standard horsepower (albeit on premium gasoline). Power gets routed to a new nine-speed transmission, which is much smoother and faster than the outgoing seven-speed box. With more ratios to choose from, the V8 engine delivers effortless power and acceleration and a towing capacity of up to 9,370 pounds.
Most modern pickup truck buyers opt for the four-door body style because it works better as an everyday or family vehicle. Nissan sent us the four-door Crew Cab Titan to review so we could stick overflow items into the back seat. However, some of those larger items couldn't quite fit because the Titan's rear doors don't open wide enough. Even if the doors did have a wider gap, rear-seat space in the Titan feels small compared to other trucks in this segment. The Titan's 38.5 inches of rear legroom pales in comparison to competitors that offer more than 40 inches.
The SL trim may not be the most luxurious Titan available, but it feels comfortable enough to take on long journeys (or across the street with a mattress in the back). Nissan's Zero Gravity seats are compliant and the Titan exhibits acceptable ride comfort. While not as soft or luxurious as the Ram 1500, it's not uncomfortable either. Optional features like the Fender audio system, 360-degree parking camera, panoramic moonroof, and stop & go adaptive cruise control make the Titan easy to live with on a daily basis.
Overall, the Titan feels like an acceptable truck, and Nissan's facelift for the 2020 model seems like a mild success. But it just feels like something is missing. Each of the other trucks in this segment offers some (or many) unique features to set them apart. The upcoming 2021 Ford F-150 has too more features than we can count, the Ram has the best ride, interior quality, and infotainment system, the General Motors twins have great engines and towing features, and even the Toyota Tundra has a strong reputation for resale and reliability. The Titan just doesn't have the one "wow feature" that sets it apart from the rest, which is why it still doesn't feel up to the task of dethroning the competition.