Truckmakers know that profits lie in margins, and a Denali-Longhorn-Platinum-Limited-Whatever edition of every pickup includes a sky-high price tag for a truck filled with amenities inconceivable on a heavy hauler a generation ago. Ignore the lure of heated, cooled and massaging seats, 900-watt stereos, iPad-size touchscreens, power-deploying running boards and wood trim with those oh-so-delicate inlays — no, really, ignore them — and a truck’s true nature as a workhorse shows through.
Especially when it’s not jaw-droppingly expensive.
That’s the appeal of the Nissan Titan, a truck that, by nearly any measure, trails its rivals from Detroit to Japan. It’s actually a pretty good value in base form, which is something virtually unheard of in the new-truck market.
I spent a week with a 2020 Titan, the mildly updated version of the truck that has languished in showrooms since the 2016 model year. The Titan SL trim level that I drove was loaded up with leather seats, a decent Rockford Fosgate audio system and gaudy chrome wheels. Nissan has yet to say how much the refreshed 2020 Titan will cost (even though my calendar says it’s already a new decade), but its list price is unlikely to stray too far from the roughly $55,000 that Nissan charged for last year’s model.
Yes, that’s a massive amount of money. But keep reading.
The 2020 Titan sure looks a lot like its 2019 predecessor, which isn’t much of a surprise given how limited the new-year changes were. It has a new 9-speed automatic transmission in place of last year’s 7-speed, the touchscreen is larger, and a slew of collision-avoidance features that were previously unavailable are now standard.
Admittedly, the safety tech would be nice to have, but last year’s Titan drove just fine with the 7-speed automatic, and its touchscreen still boasted Apple CarPlay. The 2020 Titan that I drove averaged about 16 miles per gallon in combined driving, which isn’t much better than what the old truck offered. Its 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 is as powerful as it is thirsty.
The Titan makes the most sense the less you spend. Do you really need 4-wheel drive? Probably not. Leather seats? Definitely not. A rear-wheel-drive 2019 Titan S crew cab lists for about $38,000, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Nissan dealer that will charge you that much for one.
Right now on Autotrader, there are dozens of new 2019 Titan trucks for less than $30,000. Uniquely, the base regular-cab Titan comes with an 8-foot bed, which is more than a foot longer than other base pickup beds. You may not need much more than a pulse to negotiate upward of $10,000 off a new Titan, and the various factory rebates appear to be applicable to just about anyone rather than that unicorn-of-a-buyer who just graduated college, is a 4-H Club member, works for a non-profit, served in the military within the last 6 weeks and happened to pick up a flyer to save an extra $500 off at the Des Moines International Auto Show.
Nissan also throws in a 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is the most comprehensive full-size pickup coverage.
It is far from perfect, but the Titan is surprisingly appealing when its discounts are taken into account. Find a Nissan Titan for sale