By on October 22, 2019

Image: Nissan

Hot on the heels of Nissan’s refreshed Titan pickup reveal, the brand’s tweener three-quarter ton Titan XD has received a mid-cycle update of its own. Expect change, but less choice.

There’s good things to be had beyond the obvious changes to Nissan’s “Powerful Warrior” (!) styling and new “double boomerang” LED running lights. For one, there’s a wider-ranging nine-speed automatic in place of the previous model’s seven-speed unit. There’s more power on tap, more tech content, and nervous drivers can rest assured that Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of electronic safeguards will help keep insurance adjusters at bay.

What 2020 Titan XD buyers won’t like is their lack of menu options.

Introduced in 2016, the Titan XD is a vehicle that encroaches on the specs offered by Detroit’s heavy-duty lines, without going whole hog. However, the past year has seen domestic brands up their game, pushing the Titan further into the full-size/heavy-duty tweener arena. Maybe the added distance will help it shine? Nissan would like that to be so, as 2019 has not been a good year for sales of the Titan nameplates.

Image: Nissan

Whereas a buyer could once choose a Titan XD in a variety of cab and bed configurations, for 2020 there is only one: a crew cab bodystyle with 6.5-foot bed, mated to four-wheel drive — the truck’s most popular configuration. You’ll recall that Nissan aimed high with the XD, offering as many build configurations (and packages) as possible to attract the eye of landscapers and public works fleets.

Well, Nissan’s in a lot of trouble now, so only the popular one gets the go-ahead. Gone are the regular cab and King Cab (extended cab) models. Gone, also, is the 5.0-liter Cummins V8 diesel, cast aside in favor of a standard 5.6-liter gas V6, now endowed with more power than previous. The Endurance V8 now makes an even 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque — up from 390 hp and 394 lb-ft.

Image: Nissan

Available in S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and lofty Platinum Reserve (each sporting a different grille finish), the 2020 Titan XD boasts a 9-inch touchscreen on the top three trims and a 7-inch driver information display on every level. Roll and pitch angles can be viewed on the Off Road Gauge, which Nissan claims works better at higher speeds than its competitors. You be the judge on that. Spring for the more rugged looking PRO-4X and you’ll gain standard hill descent control and an electronic locking rear differential.

Image: Nissan

Hoping to keep ahead (or at least abreast) of its rivals, the 2020 XD makes Nissan’s suite of driver-assist features standard on all trims. The bundle includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. For now, that latter feature is a class-exclusive addition.

Additional safety features, including intelligent cruise control and an around-view monitor, can be had for extra dough. You might want that monitor if you’re planning on lugging something around on one of the available hitches. Opt for a tow package, and Nissan adds an integrated brake controller, trailer sway control, tow/haul mode with downhill speed control, and a trailer light check function.

Inside, Nissan opted to give buyers every opportunity to outfit their truck with extra luxury features, thus boosting the vehicle’s margins. The top two trims can be outfitted with a dual panoramic moonroof; depending on trim, there’s tonier seat materials to walk up to. The list of niceties doesn’t stop there, but we will.

Nissan’s newest XD may be a product of a turbulent time in Nissan’s history, but financial concerns and alliance pressures hasn’t stopped the brand from keeping its largest vehicle fresh. It’s now up to buyers to notice.

[Images: Nissan]

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37 Comments on “2020 Nissan Titan XD: You Can’t Have It Your Way...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Since they’re just mailing it in, they should make an RHD version for letter carriers.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Reduced build complexity saves lives.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    While I would heartily support a move back to big 5.6L V6s, I think that’s a typo.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Beautiful trucks, especially in that matte color at the top of the article. But its more than I would ever need or want and isn’t likely to bring me into the show room.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    So what. I appreciate the Nissan warranty, 5y-100k, bumper to bumper. I do not pay for stupid decisions by the corporate elite trying to make their quarterly green cell in some Excel Spreadsheet to get their bonus.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I like the 2020 Titan as well. And their warranty is a positive outlier for pickup truck duty.

      Hopefully Nissan fixed the engine woes from the 17-18 production years. There were a lot of blocks replaced due to misbored cylinders and resulting loss of compression / scoring.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree nice truck but more truck than I want or need. When I retire and downsize I will probably get rid of my last remaining pickup. I have owned pickups for 34 years.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Gone, also, is the 5.0-liter Cummins V8 diesel, cast aside in favor of a standard 5.6-liter gas V6, now endowed with more power than previous. ”

    Ouch to the diesel buyers:

    MY18 NISSAN TITAN XD 4WD V8 TDSL EXT CAB 5.0L PRO-4X

    STARTING MSRP PER NISSAN FOR MY19: $52,340

    6/14/19 $39,600* 16,662 4.9 8DT/A Yellow Regular Southwest Dallas
    6/7/19 $35,000* 16,657 4.6 8DT/A Yellow Factory Southwest Dallas
    12/20/18 $39,000* 2,092 4.9 8DT/A White Factory Southeast Nashville

    So, lost roughly 12,5 or roughly 80% of base MSRP, not bad.

    BUT

    MY18 NISSAN TITAN XD 4WD V8 TDSL EXT CAB 5.0L SV

    STARTING MSRP PER NISSAN FOR MY19: $48,380

    10/2/19 $27,750* 2,646 5.0 8DT/A Gray Regular Southwest Dallas
    3/21/19 $30,600* 1,841 3.3 8DT/A Gray Lease Midwest Chicago

    So, lost roughly 21K on avg or roughly 43% of base MSRP leaving a residual of 57% – and these examples have like 2K miles. In two MY! YIKES.

    2018 NISSAN TITAN XD 4WD V8 TDSL EXT CAB 5.0L S

    STARTING MSRP PER NISSAN FOR MY19: $45,300

    7/3/19 $28,200* 15,022 4.7 8DT/A White Factory Southeast Nashville
    4/18/19 $29,000* 7,373 4.8 8DT/A Black Factory Southeast Nashville

    So, lost roughly 16K on avg or roughly 35% of base MSRP leaving a residual of 65%. Better, but not great.

    Based on this:
    1. Don’t buy the Titan EXT Cab TDSL SV 4×4, opt for the cheaper one or step up.
    2. Nissan doesn’t sell hardly any of these, just eyeballing the gas EXT cabs its probably 10% or less take rate.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Facts schmacks. You can prove anything with facts.
      … Homer Simpson :-)

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I’m guessing the market will have no love for an orphaned diesel engine.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Well, the Titan diesel XD was one of the worst reviewed trucks of all time, was riddled with issues, and orphaned after a short production span. So a buyer should take heed and factor in reduced part availability and increased repair costs associated with the diesel XD aging. Pickup buyers arent dumb and they tend to read the rags and reviews, which will impact pricing for used diesel XDs.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Some of them may not be as bright as you’d think since the loaded PRO-4X is still trading at 80% of MSRP and someone must be buying this crap. I can’t track down an MY18 used ext cab diesel on autotrader, but the crew cabs are listed between 47 and 51, 10K miles and under. I found an ext cab 4×4 (“King Cab”) with 12K in Waco TX listed for… 39,5.

        Sign me up, orphaned diesel motor for all the money in a country whose EPA hates diesels. #Winning

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          How much are Toyota Tundra TRD Pro trucks of similar age, mileage and condition selling for? It is my opinion that once people figure out that the Cummins ISV doesn’t have a future involving development and production numbers close to seven figures, there will be enough fear of a lack of accumulated knowledge as to its needs that they will be tough to sell in any spec.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    “Whereas a buyer could once choose a Titan XD in a variety of cab and bed configurations..”

    Yeah, unless you wanted an actual 8 foot bed in anything but a regular cab.

  • avatar

    One of Detroit’s biggest concerns is the Asian makers equaling or bettering them in truck and large SUV quality. This scenario has already happened in small to mid-sized cars. Now Detroit has surrendered the entire car market to concentrate solely on trucks and SUVs. What must be troubling is how fast companies like Hyundai and Kia are gaining in this market segment. In two recent magazine tests, the Kia Telluride easily beat the Ford Explorer. The same problems that have previously shown up in Detroit’s cars are now revealing themselves in their trucks and SUVs. Maybe Ford and GM should change the way they manufacture vehicles instead of leaving entire market segments to the foreign competition.

    Look how superior the interior of the Titan is to any of the domestic competitors. The picture in the above article provides enough evidence that Nissan cares more about interior design than either Ford or GM.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Not only does the interior look nice, the material quality is very nice as well. I’ve been looking at trucks and was surprised by the Titan’s interior quality ; in my opinion the Platinum interior was better than that of the GMC Denali (where the door pull creaked each time I pulled on it).

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Detroit executive’s biggest concerns is just keeping their overpaid employment positions. That is what the culture rewards, at least with GM.

      Hell yes; other brands will take over the high-profit full size truck market. Having traveled the U.S. often, I see non-Big-3 pickups on a shockingly increasing basis, like in Kansas!. P.S. Such brands don’t have $22m/year CEO clowns either.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Hell yes; other brands will take over the high-profit full size truck market.”

        well… when? Nissan’s marketshare with the Titan is a rounding error, and Tundra sales have been more or less flat for almost 10 years now.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      “Look how superior the interior of the Titan is to any of the domestic competitors. The picture in the above article provides enough evidence that Nissan cares more about interior design than either Ford or GM.”

      Even with Fred Diaz formerly of Ram Trucks, the Titan still doesn’t match the Ram 1500 in material quality—never mind features.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        Perhaps, but for those who only want a vehicle to haul pig-slop…

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Of course you already know that there is HUGE money in pig slop, and cow manure, and chicken guano.

          It’s actually recycled and made into fertilizers, used in methane generation in landfills, etc.

          And while on the subject, some pickup trucks are also used to tow equipment to service and vacate sewer pits, septic tanks, etc.

          HUGE money there.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Those have to be the most obviously Photoshopped vehicle pictures I’ve seen in a long time.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I kinda like the one with the black grille… the two chrome grills I strongly dislike. And the hood is much too high on all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed on the brown/black one. Hood height – well, that’s the nature of full size trucks today.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        May be the nature of them but totally unnecessary. A more sloped hood would improve the aerodynamics for highway fuel economy and make them a little easier to drive as you have a better idea of just how far your nose is from the vehicle in front of you (in a parking lot, for instance.) Those massive, Class 8 wannabe grilles look ridiculous on a pickup truck and always have.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Likewise, there’s a reason freight trains don’t bother with bullet noses.

          Pickups have too much turbulence over, under, around, for it to matter. Never mind trailers, but a huge grill is required for max cooling. It used to just be for engine cooling, but besides AC there’s intercooling, trans and PS coolers.

          Yeah you’re constantly pulling into a blindspot, but practice with some cones. And or simply get out and look (GOAL). They’re trucks, so some scratches/wear give it character. Every bigger dent has a story. It’s like taboo to get them fixed.

          But no doubt the chrome delete, black trim is the only good looking Titan.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Freight train maximum authorized speed is 59mph, not 200-300mph. But that’s beside the point.

    Pickup trucks travel the highways just as much, if not more, than the average sedan and CUV. Aerodynamics is still critical, especially when fuel economy legislation demands a fleet-wide increase of fuel economy, even if that number has been frozen at currently-legislated values and not the 2025 numbers. Today’s trucks can’t break the 30mpg barrier without a significant change to their frontal area and Coefficient of Drag. The few who do are using the smallest possible engines and honestly lack what the AVERAGE owner wants out of their truck.

    Oh, I’m not saying modern trucks need to be needle-nosed speedsters but lowering that hood and helping the air to go over, as well as around, the body would help realize as much as a 10% increase in fuel economy without having to go to such ridiculous straits as putting a tiny four-cylinder engine under a hood meant for a V8. Lowering the forward edge of the hood even four inches while keeping the rear of the hood where it is would notably affect the wind resistance and actually reduce the frontal area of the windshield itself, even if the slope of the glass never changes.

    Simply put, those massive grilles are probably the one reason why truck fuel economy isn’t better. My Colorado with a V6 gets over 27mpg on the highway–I’ve achieved a full 28 mpg on a truck marginally smaller than a full-sized Chevy Silverado–that struggles to achieve the same numbers with that tiny four. It makes me wonder what my more aerodynamic smaller truck could do with that same 4-cylinder engine. I’d expect I would exceed that 30mpg barrier with little effort.

    I can only imagine what my ’97 Ranger would have achieved with that same engine.

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