On the Road: 2020 Nissan Titan

The Nissan Titan full-size pickup undergoes an extensive redesign for the 2020 model year. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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The Nissan Titan full-size pickup undergoes an extensive redesign for the 2020 model year. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Peter Perrotta

One of the quickest and easiest car buying decisions I ever made was quite a few years back – if my memory serves me correctly, probably around 1994 or so.

It was one of the hottest days of the year and I was driving an old beater Chevrolet Caprice with no air conditioning.

I said to myself, “Self, this car has to go and go quickly.”

I pulled into the first “buy here, pay here” used car lot on Route 130 in Edgewater Park I could find – conveniently located across the street from the newspaper where I worked.

Two hours later, I was driving off the lot in a jet black 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe – one of the finest cars I ever owned – with ice cold air blowing right into my sweaty face. That Caprice was a distant memory.

About five minutes after pulling out of that used car lot with this hot rod Camaro, I noticed something else I had never witnessed in a car before.

That 5.7-liter V-8 engine liked to drink gas. You could actually see the gas gauge moving toward empty every time you stepped on the accelerator. I don’t know what the EPA gas mileage rating on this car was, but I could tell you this, you didn’t pass too many gas stations between fill ups.

I only bring this up because driving this week’s On The Road review car – a 2020 Nissan Titan pickup truck – kind of brought back some old fond memories of that Camaro.

I believe this memory jog happened for two reasons. First off, while I liked the 2020 Titan, overall, it doesn’t have the most impressive EPA gas mileage ratings – sporting a 17 miles per gallon overall average.

Secondly, the size of the engine on this Titan is eerily similar to that of the Camaro.

All five available Titan trim levels come with a standard 5.6-liter, V-8 naturally aspirated engine.

That Camaro sported a 5.7-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 engine.

The 5.6-liter, V-8 on the Titan produces 400 horsepower and 413 pound feet of torque and pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

This engine isn’t shy. “I really like the way this truck feels when you accelerate,” my son quipped one day when he tagged along for a ride.

For 2020, Nissan offers the mildly redesigned Titan in five different trim levels: the base S (starting at $37,785); SV ($41,585); Pro 4X ($49,790); SL ($55,585) and the Platinum Reserve ($60,285).

The tester I drove for a week featured the Pro 4X option packages, which are quite attractive. This pickup has a rugged, off-road stance and capabilities.

However, this off-road gingerbread package doesn’t come cheap.

While the base price of my Pro-4X model is $49,790, my test vehicle came loaded with $8,795 worth of options that included: a $2,190 Pro 4X utility package; $3,390 for a Pro 4X convenience package and $1,490 for a Pro 4X moonroof package.

All totaled, when you add up all the options and destination and delivery, the bottom line sticker price of this rig comes in at $60,180.

Some of the items included in the utility package include: front and rear parking sensors; tie down cleats; power slide rear window with defrost; a Fender premium 10 speaker upgraded audio system; and an electronic looking tailgate.

Some of the items in the convenience package include: leather appointed seats with contrasting stitching; heated and cooled front seats; heated steering wheel with power tilt; remote engine start and an intelligent around view monitor.

The overall stance and rugged look of the Pro 4X model is quite impressive. While this pickup packs plenty of power and is quite rugged and attractive looking, it won’t win any awards for its athletic prowess when it comes to handling.

This truck is big and bold and a handful to handle. Moreover, if you are planning a trip into the city, you better have plans for where to park this monster.

The Titan is a whopping 228 inches long, 80 inches wide and stands 77 inches tall. That’s a lot of truck to try and park.

Last Sunday, my wife and I sojourned into Philly to try and visit Ikea. When we arrived, there was a COVID-19 induced line of about 200 people long waiting to enter this popular place, all standing outside in near 100 degree heat.

We both decided the wait wasn’t worth it and quickly Googled up some alternative furniture stores nearby. All the stores, she picked – of course – were located in either South Philly or Center City.

I told her there was no way I was going to try and park this thing in the narrow confines of the South Philly or Center City streets and we promptly headed back to South Jersey.

The 2020 Titan has not been crash test rated by the federal Department of Transportation.

When it comes to the significant tow and payload ratings for this pickup the Titan’s maximums are not as impressive as either the Chevy Silverado or the Ford F-150. This Titan can tow up to 9,660 pounds, which should be enough to meet the needs of most owners.

As far as visibility, comfort and interior ergonomics go, I think the Titan is just as impressive as the Silverado and F-150.

The Titan’s 9-inch infotainment touch screen center console command center was above average. I found it fairly easy to sync up my phone, iPod music and use the navigation system.

The voice command system in this Titan was below average, however. It employs a system of commands that unless you say what you want it to do exactly how it is programmed to receive it, it won’t understand your command. A software upgrade to improve this system is in order.

Overall, I must say,  I have to give the Titan generally high marks. I don’t think it is going to displace the kingpin Silverado and F-150 just yet, but it is worth considering if you are shopping for a full-sized pickup.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. If you have any comments or questions, he can be reached at peter@capitalmotorcars.com