By Gerry Miles
Do you remember the Titan? No, not the inspirational football movie with Denzel Washington. This is the Nissan Titan pickup truck that debuted in 2003 sharing the same platform as the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 SUVs. Made in Mississippi, the large Titan went mostly unchanged until 2015, when the truck was completely overhauled for the 2016 model year.
In the crowded half-ton marketplace that features the top-selling Ford F-150 alongside the Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra, the Titan was often lost in the shuffle. Perhaps, in Nissan’s desire to sell as many offerings as Baskin-Robbins has ice cream flavors, the models were muddied in the message.
From 2016 through 2019, the Titan used to offer two Single Cabs, three King Cabs, and five Crew Cabs in both 4×2 and 4×4 with 3 different bed lengths. It had a gasoline V-8 and a Cummins diesel, too. It may have been too much.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the new Titan offerings have been slimmed down, simplified and expanded with new offerings, improved amenities, the first dual panoramic sunroof on a Titan, connectivity and an upscale Pro-X Redline trim.
“We simplified our offerings to what sells the most and what people wanted the most,” Kevin Raftery told the New England Motor Press Association at the truck’s recent introduction in Boston.
The 2020 Titan, which is designed in San Diego and built in Mississippi, will be sold as either a King Cab (extended cab in street speak) or Crew Cab with four-doors and a 5.5-foot bed.
A single motor—the 5.6-liter V-8 got tweaked to 400 hp—cranks out 413 lb-ft of torque, the most in its class, Nissan claims. The engine connects to a 9-speed automatic, which gained two more gears than previously offered. Acceleration from 50 to 70 mph and smoother shifting was a point of emphasis, Raftery noted. Estimated economy is 18 city/20 highway.
Nissan upgraded other areas such as Safety Shield 360 that monitors your perimeter with rear cross traffic alert, reverse emergency braking and forward emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. New is Nissan Concierge, a 24/7 service to help travelers with daily life such as dinner reservations or movie show times.
Proving it’s a serious work truck, Nissan has sliding tie-down cleats on both sides augmented by two bed rails to secure most loads. An LED light shines from the bed’s tailgate openings.
Underscoring its value proposition, Nissan noted that it offers an Intelligent Forward Collision Warning that can track up to two vehicles ahead, eight airbags, and a feature called Rear Door Alert that Ford’s F-150 V-8 doesn’t offer.
Comparing the Titan Pro-4X with the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Nissan says it offers more safety features, a larger touchscreen, more standard power and America’s Best Truck Warranty—five years and 100,000 miles—at a prurient price point. It’s a selling point that Nissan needs to trumpet to help get eyeballs on its truck and traction in the showroom.
“People hear that 5/100 is an assumption that it’s just the engine or powertrain, but it’s bumper to bumper. The entire truck is covered under that warranty,” Raftery said. “If something does happen, and we don’t expect it to, we’re confident in the ability of this truck, that we’re going to stand by it. That’s a huge talking point for us.”
If you’re asking “where’s the beef?” you’ll find it in the XD trim, which has a reinforced frame for higher towing weights and is offered only in a crew cab body. The Pro-X trim’s red badges and tow hooks distinguish it from a distance. The Platinum Reserve trim loads up the truck with leather, a 9-inch connectivity touch screen, and more luxuries including a wood-trimmed interior.
Nissan’s biggest hurdle, Raftery acknowledges, it making people aware of the truck and its numerous offerings.
“We’re confident we have a really good offering in the new Titan,” Raftery said. “It’s not a surprise that awareness has been an issue for us. It’s knowing that it exists on many levels, and getting the word out there about this truck.
Nissan hopes that after your drive it, you’ll definitely remember the Titan.