Nissan Frontier vs. Titan: How Much Truck Do You Really Need?

Many enthusiasts prefer Ford or Chevy as their ideal choice for a pickup, but Nissan has capable options too. Nissan offers the Frontier and the Titan variants as its truck options. Deciding between the Frontier and the Titan really comes down to how much truck you need. 

The Nissan Frontier is smallish but mighty 

Compared to its class rivals, the 2020 Frontier stands out for its simplicity. Nissan gave the 2020 Frontier an updated 310-hp, 3.8-liter V6 engine linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers at U.S. News recognize the Frontier for its admirable power and its quietness.

The Frontier is technically a midsize/compact pickup, but it offers some of the same capabilities as a full-sized one. Like most trucks, the Frontier is standard with rear-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is available. Crew Cab models can tow up to 6,500 lbs.; the King Cab can haul 6,270 lbs. No matter which body style you choose, the Frontier has a max payload of 1,460 pounds. 

Frontier models with 4WD make good off-roaders and have a transfer case and a hill descent control function. But if off-roading is your passion, you’ll want to get the Frontier Pro-4X model. The Pro-4X offers more features, including Bilstein shocks and skid plates. 

A red Nissan Frontier sanding.
2020 Nissan Frontier | Nissan

While the Frontier is a solid performer, a few things hold it back in 2020. The Frontier doesn’t tow as much as competitors like the Ford Ranger. The Frontier also has an outdated looking interior, and it doesn’t offer active safety equipment or modern infotainment features. We are expecting big things for the 2021 Frontier, which gets a revamped exterior and car cabin. 

The Nissan Titan packs more power and tech

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Nissan’s Titan is the Frontier’s bigger sibling. Additionally, the 2020 Titan delivers in ways this year’s Frontier doesn’t. With the Titan, you get a beefy 400-hp, 5.6 -liter V8, and a nine-speed automatic. The Titan offers plenty of power and is a smooth operator too. However, some critics aren’t sold on this Nissan’s handling. 

Some critics favor the Titan because of its smoothness, especially for a full-sized truck. Others found the truck’s steering to be on the heavier side. The Titan’s handling isn’t a huge dealbreaker, though. As Consumer Reports highlighted, the Titan makes towing a breeze. When properly equipped, it can haul up to 9,300 lbs.  The Titan also has an Pro-4X trim for off-road enthusiasts.

The black-and-red-trimmed interior of the 2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X
2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X interior | Nissan

Naturally, the Titan also offers more interior space than the Frontier. The Titan can seat up to six people, depending on the configuration you pick, while the Frontier seats up to five. Plus, the Titan offers a grander experience.

The 2020 Titan comes with many desirable infotainment features, including an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The truck’s display screen is easy to use, and it’s conveniently placed for the driver. The Titan also has many active safety features such as forward-collision warning and rear cross-traffic alert. 

So should I get the Nissan or the Titan?

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If you want a modern yet straightforward workhorse, the 2020 Frontier is an OK choice. The Frontier is also pretty affordable and starts at $26,790. If you require more horsepower and want more standard tech, the Titan has a clear advantage. The 2020 Titan begins at $36,190, but we also recommend shopping used models because it has an above-average depreciation rate