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Nissan turns the Titan XD pickup truck into a smarter, better-behaved brute

Nissan introduced the updated 2020 Titan XD less than a month after the smaller, cheaper variant of the truck broke cover. The firm’s biggest, boldest truck receives design improvements inside and out, better tech, and a more powerful V8 engine.

The Titan XD will enter the next decade with a sharper, more modern design characterized by a wide, upright grille and new-look LED inserts in the headlights. It’s not a revolution, but the changes are significant enough to set the 2020 Titan XD apart from the 2019 model it replaces. Nissan says stylists followed a design theme called Powerful Warrior; we’ll let you decide whether they’ve nailed it.

The most noteworthy changes inside are tech-related. The top four trim levels receive a nine-inch touchscreen that displays the latest generation of Nissan’s infotainment system. The software is compatible with the firm’s over-the-air updating system, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The onboard Wi-Fi router keeps up to seven devices connected, though it requires a subscription that’s sold separately.

Nissan pared down the Titan XD range to one body style (Crew Cab), a single cargo box length (6.5 feet), and a lone powertrain option; the available diesel engine has dropped off the list of options, and Nissan hasn’t explained why. The truck carries on with a naturally aspirated, 5.6-liter V8 engine tuned to make 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, improvements of 10 and 19, respectively, over the outgoing 2019 model. It shifts through a nine-speed automatic transmission, which is two more gears than before. The extra cogs help improve fuel economy, while making the truck quicker off the line. Four-wheel drive comes standard, and two-wheel drive isn’t available.

Motorists who want to explore the great outdoors can count on an Off-Road Gauge to avoid getting stuck. It displays the tire angle, the pitch, and the roll angles, which are pretty standard measurements, but the technology behind it is interesting. Rather than relying on a gyroscope, the software calculates the truck’s orientation by analyzing accelerometer data and calculating its G forces. The Japanese firm expects its gauge will be more accurate than the competition’s at higher speeds.

You’re in for a surprise if you haven’t driven a truck since the early 2000s. The Titan shows how far the segment has come by offering a full suite of electronic driving aids including forward collision warning, a 360-degree camera, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Upmarket variants are decked out with leather, and nearly as nice inside as the luxury cars made by Nissan-owned Infiniti.

The 2020 Nissan Titan XD will be available in five trim levels called S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve, respectively, when it arrives in showroom in 2020. Pricing information will be released in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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