By on January 7, 2020


What can a nine-speed automatic do for a full-size pickup that once carried a seven-speed unit and a reputation for guzzling fuel at a prodigious rate?

That’s a question answered not by the EPA, which hasn’t gotten around to posting updated MPG figures for the refreshed 2020 pickup, but by its counterparts north of the border. Natural Resources Canada has the new figures on file, but you’re out of luck if you’re only interested in rear-wheel drive Titan models. For 2020, Canadians aren’t allowed to have those.

Forgive the inclusion of metric figures on these predominately American pages.

If you’ll recall, the EPA rated the 2019 Titan (not Titan XD) at 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined when equipped with four-wheel drive and Nissan’s lone 5.6-liter gasoline V8 engine (retuned to make 400 horsepower for the current model year). Canadian ratings amounted to the same. It’s worth noting that 2WD Titans earned the exact same rating, so that’s something to remember as we plow forward.

For 2020, the Titan ditches its seven-speed in favor of a nine-speed automatic with a larger final drive ratio aimed at improved pulling power across the range. This implies not much in the way of increased fuel economy.

And that’s what we see here. Natural Resources Canada rates the 2020 Titan 4X4 at 15.1l/100km in the city, 11.1 on the highway, and 13.3 combined, which translates to (just barely) 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. The only upward movement of gas mileage occurs in the city and combined fields, which creep upward by one-tenth of a liter per 100 km. For city driving, that slimmest of increases is enough to round the U.S. figure up to 16 mpg.

So, not a lot of change, but things get more exciting when considering the brawny Pro-4X variant. The 2019 model carried an EPA rating of 15 city, 20 highway, and 17 combined, which is born out in annoyingly metric Canuck calculations.

For 2020, the four-wheel drive Titan Pro-4X earns a Canadian rating that translates into 16 mpg city, 21 highway, and 18 combined. In other words, a 1 mpg increase in all fields. Not a full MPG, mind you, but an increase nonetheless.


The updated tranny hasn’t done much to improve the Titan’s thirst, especially when compared to its Detroit rivals, all three of which have light-duty diesels on offer (or, in the case of GM, on the way), downsized six-cylinders, and even a lone four-cylinder turbo. But fuel economy is just one consideration when buying a big-bucks pickup.

As one colleague likes to inform me, Titan owners often state that their fuel economy doesn’t drop in the slightest when towing, which is a perk that’s hard to shoehorn into marketing materials without calling out the unloaded truck’s thirst.

Stay tuned for a broader range of EPA figures.

[Images: Nissan]

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24 Comments on “2020 Nissan Titan Fuel Economy Figures Emerge...”

  • avatar

    “Titan owners often state that their fuel economy doesn’t drop in the slightest when towing.”

    That of course is a thermodynamic impossibility, but clearly I wasn’t intelligent enough to buy a Titan.

    • 0 avatar

      Titan is the result of intelligent design – you can expect miracles to happen. For intelligent design thermodynamics is irrelevant. As we all know Big Bang was a very special event with extremely low entropy just like Titan.

    • 0 avatar

      Consider that there are a number of pickup truck buyers in America who don’t care about fuel economy or the cost of gasoline.

      Also consider that there are a number of pickup truck buyers in America who consciously choose not to buy the offerings from Ford, RAM or GM but instead choose to buy a Titan or a Tundra that is actually MADE IN AMERICA, by AMERICANS, for AMERICANS.

      Titan and Tundra will never sell in numbers like Ford, RAM and GM, but they will sell, if only as an alternative to the Big Three.

      At least in America we have a choice.

      And that is a good thing.

      • 0 avatar


        I am one of those buyers I suppose, since I own an F350 that gets 12 mpg on a good day and was built by Americans in Louisville, Ky.

        I would certainly never claim it got the exact same mileage empty as pulling a trailer though. That is foolishness and anyone who has ever towed anything knows it. That’s all I’m laughing at.

        • 0 avatar

          jack4x, I understand.

          The fuel economy on both my 2011 and 2016 Tundra, and my wife’s 2016 Sequoia, were universally BAD.

          So, when towing or hauling I used that 5-8 mpg standard as the norm. But when running around empty, getting 12-16 mpg combined, I viewed that as an improvement.

          Kinda like the glass half full/glass half empty.

          BTW, did you get that F350 with the TurboDiesel?

          My son has asked me to look into what is possible for his 2015 gasoline F350 4dr DRW now that it is beginning to smoke.

          I’m inclined to advise him to trade up to a 2020 F350 4dr DRW with a TurboDiesel.

          What do you think?

          • 0 avatar

            I did not get the diesel. Too many bad experiences with expensive repairs on older ones. I saved the $10k up front and bought a higher trim package instead and have no regrets.

            As for your son, the 2017+ Super Duties are a huge improvement over his 2015 model. If he has not driven one, he will be shocked at how much better they are overall. I’d recommend he drive Ford, GM, and Ram but I suspect he will come home with the Ford. Engine wise, if he doesn’t tow daily, I think he’s better off with the gas engine. Perhaps try out the new 7.3L big block? Or stick with the tried and true 6.2 as he has now.

          • 0 avatar

            hdc – I agree with jack4x on this. I purchase a ’19 F350 4wd with the 6.2 gasser to replace my ’99 F350 7.3 diesel last year (my son now drives the ’99 and loves it). My ’19 pulls as well or better than my old diesel and is definitely more up to date than the pre-2015 Super Duty’s. It has the 4.30 rear axle to allow me to pull my 16k horse trailer and gets 12 to 13mpg unloaded, around 8mpg towing at 65mpg. The 6.7 diesel, while perhaps strong and somewhat improved, still experiences problems (the local Ford dealer in the small local community always has a newer 6.7 with the cab lifted in the service bay for engine work). The 6.2 liter underwent some positive changes beginning in ’17 and is a better powerplant than that of previous years – somewhat improved over the engine in your son’s ’15.

  • avatar

    It’s physics folks. Move X Weight with known fuel burn at Y rear ratio you get Z mileage. You save ZERO dollars on cylinder deactivation factoring in stuck lifter repair at 40-60k.

  • avatar

    Maybe more people will buy them now.


  • avatar

    “Titan owners often state that their fuel economy doesn’t drop in the slightest when towing”

    Ha… I’ve got a 2005 Titan and get ~16 normally. But when towing my 3500lb boat, most I can get is 8. So, I guess I’m not one of THOSE owners!

    Of course, my truck is 15 years old. Must be the 5-speed transmission then that’s killing it.

  • avatar

    Just for the sake of comparison, if you go to fuelly, they have hundreds of trucks from a variety of engines and years, the F150 for instance is averaging between 15 mpg and 17 mpg on average over several thousand owner reported fuel economy figures. No putting lipstick on a pig.

    If you are buying a pickup truck….are you really worried about fuel economy? Sure, nobody wants got get single digits, but lets face it, its just not really a overriding concern.

  • avatar

    The Titan doesn’t offer a mileage champ, since it’s set up (geared) to tow and max payload. There’s not an option to opt out, just to keep production simple (and fast).

    It’s the same for the Tundra, and they suffer when it comes to MPG comparisons.

    • 0 avatar

      Even when comparably equipped and geared they suffer next to more modern Ford and GM powertrains. There’s just not a business case for Toyota or Nissan to develop a new truck powertrain which would catch up to the Detroit three in technology.

  • avatar

    18mpg combined doesn’t sound that bad to me for such a big vehicle. Shrug.

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    I think it looks a little better with the refresh, but not as distinctive as the first generation in imo. Nice interior and great power, but no six cylinder. I can’t wait for the new tundra.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    “annoyingly metric Canuck calculations”
    Perhaps you mean rest of the world calculations?

  • avatar

    The part that’s annoying is the x100. Why? Instead of 13.3l/100km, what’s wrong with simply “0.133 lpkm”?

    Is it because it sounds stupid that way? I say it does either way. Or why not a translated 5.9G/100miles (17 MPG)?

    Or better yet, a US 0.059 GPM???

  • avatar

    Thanks jack4x and bullnuke, most helpful in your comments. Have forwarded them to my son’s email.

    Yes, the truck is used everyday to tow and haul by my son or his business partner. I mean, every day. No break for weekends or days off. In the cattle business there are no days off and deliveries to the reservation of cattle and/or horses are often made on the weekends.

    There were times when I had to help out and make a delivery when both of them were out doing something and they needed an extra driver.

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