Is bigger always better? That seems to be the thinking behind the newest full-size pickups these days. With the demand for large trucks growing, Chevy, Ford, GMC and Ram have all introduced new models tnat are larger than the ones they replaced.
The new trucks have a lot of advantages over the previous ones, including more front and rear cab space, more hauling and towing capacity, and greater ride height in the four-wheel-drive models. But they are also longer, wider, higher and heavier, which makes them a little harder to get into and out of, and a bit more of a struggle to drive around town.
Although the 2020 Nissan Titan is updated this year with a fresher exterior and interior, the basic truck is older than the newest competitors. But surprisingly, this doesn't mean it should be overlooked by anyone interested in a new full-size truck. To the contrary, our fully loaded PRO-X model was very capable but also a little easier to live with on a day-to-day basis than some of the other 2020 models we've tested.
Not only that, but it packed the most powerful standard engine of any full-size truck, a 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 413 foot-pounds of torque on premium gas. That provided good acceleration for our test model, which was fully-loaded crew-cab version equipped with the optional PRO-4X four-wheel-drive package.
Because Nissan doesn't offer an optional diesel, other trucks to haul heavier load. But a properly-equipped Titan can still pull up to 9,660 pounds, which is more than what most potential owners will ever need.
Although the basic truck is the same as previous years, Nissan refreshed the Titan this year. Exterior revisions include a bolder grill, new headlights, and a handy foldable step under the rear bumper. The interior looks and feels more refined, especially with the special leather trim that came with our PRO-X Convenience Package.
Technology upgrades include an available 9-inch display screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an impressive standard safety package. We also appreciated the available Intelligent Around View Monitor system that made backing up in tight spaces easy.
On the road, 2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X was every bit a serious truck, just a little less intimidating than some others. The optional running boards were still helpful for getting in and out — we just didn't need a step ladder to reach them. And the interior was plenty large, including the rear seats that will easily haul up to three large adults in comfort.
During a week of test driving, we found the Titan surprisingly easy to handle in a mix of downtown, suburban and light off-road driving. The optional 4WD suspension was a little stiff, but not nearly as hard to live with as some performance-oriented sport sedans we've driven. The snazzy red and black exterior also drew looks everywhere we went, although subtler color combinations are also available.
Although it's a few years old now, the Nissan Titan is still a reasonably alternative to the newest full-size trucks on the market. In fact, the 2020 upgrades make it more competitive than ever.
2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X
Base price: 49,790
Price as tested: $60,180
Type: Full-size pickup
Engine: 5.6-liter V8 (400 hp, 413 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 15/21
Overall length: 228.2 inches
Curb weight: 5,604 pounds
Final assembly: Canton, Mississippi