2020 Nissan Titan XD: You Can't Have It Your Way
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vulpine on Oct 23, 2019
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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