2020 Nissan Titan XD First Look Review: Bigger Is Better

First Look / Comments

A major update but with one interesting loss.

The Nissan Titan XD returns for the 2020 model year better than ever, though the Cummins diesel engine has been replaced by a gasoline V8. Chances are this won't deter buyers as Nissan kind of miscalculated demand for the outgoing Titan XD. That's why the heavily revised full-size pickup truck stands a greater chance at success this time around. Nissan has had time to better study the hot and highly competitive American pickup truck market and modify the Titan XD accordingly.

Compared to the standard half-ton Titan, also updated for 2020, the Titan XD is aimed at those who need greater payload and towing capacity along with a full suite of safety features and a premium feel inside and out. On paper, it appears Nissan has done a lot of homework. Let's see if it'll pay off.

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Bigger And Bolder Looks Are Welcomed

In general, the 2020 Titan XD's updated exterior design is very similar to that of the half-ton Titan, which is certainly not a bad thing. All trim levels sport unique grille and tailgate designs. The PRO-4X trim, in particular, is highly noticeable thanks to its all-black grille and tailgate, which also features the new Lava Red Nissan badge. Higher trim levels' headlights house a Titan logo engraved internally. Nissan also redesigned the wheels and front bumper. There are several new exterior paint colors including Red Alert, Baja Storm, Super Black, and Cardinal Red Metallic. The latter is a premium option.

How much bigger is the Titan XD over the standard XD? It's actually quite significant at 15 inches longer and 3 inches taller. The wheelbase measures at 151.6 inches and all truck beds are 6.5 feet. They also all feature LED "surround" lighting. Unlike before, the Titan XD is only available as a Crew Cab, a lesson learned from the previous truck.

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Premium Interior And Advanced Safety

Full-sized pickup trucks today have become fully-fledged luxury vehicles, offering the best of both worlds for buyers. The new Titan XD is certainly no different. Its cabin design is handsome and premium, featuring a nicely laid out dashboard. An 8.0-touchscreen is standard while a 9.0-inch screen is optional, the latter coming with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. One added dose of premium includes a large Dual Panel Panoramic Moonroof available only in the SL and Platinum Reserve trims.

Nissan's highly regarded Safety Shield 360 also comes standard, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, emergency braking with pedestrian protection, automatic high-beams, and rear automatic emergency braking.

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Power, Payload, And Towing

The diesel Cummins engine is gone. In its place is an updated 5.6-liter V8, now capable of producing 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is also new, replacing the old seven-speed gearbox. It also has a new final gear ratio that will increase torque at the wheels. So, why drop the diesel? Because its sales numbers were far below expectations. If something doesn't sell, it's bad business to keep selling it. Fortunately, the gasoline V8 can do the jobs required with ease.

Nissan claims the Titan XD is stronger than before, meaning its towing and payload figures are improved. Oddly, Nissan has yet to release those official figures but chances are they'll be somewhere in the neighborhood of over 1,500 pounds of additional towing capacity and another 100 pounds of payload.

Optional towing aids include a tow and haul mode with downhill speed control, trailer sway control, and integrated trailer brake controller. Another interesting available feature is RearView Monitor with Trailer Guides and Nissan's impressive Intelligent Around View Monitor to help make parking and off-roading easier. Need a hitch? No problem because there are a few available, including gooseneck hitch built into the frame.

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Pricing And Competition

Nissan has not announced official pricing, but the outgoing 2019 Titan XD carried a starting MSRP of $32,990. Fully equipped, the truck could reach around $65,000. Chances are 2020 prices will be similar.

The Titan XD's main competitors are the familiar faces, specifically the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. Some heavy-duty truck customers may also want to take a trip over to a Nissan dealership as well. Given that the diesel-powered Titan XD failed to meet expectations, Nissan is giving this specific truck segment another go with something a bit more conventional, more luxurious, and more capable than ever.

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