2020 GMC Sierra vs. 2019 Nissan Titan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali offers optional Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Titan doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Titan doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Sierra and the Titan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sierra the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 164 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Titan is not a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Sierra’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Titan’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 57 percent more GMC dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sierra’s warranty.

Reliability

The Sierra has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Titan doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sierra has a standard 730-amp battery (850 Diesel). The Titan’s 710-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Sierra’s reliability 19 points higher than the Titan.

Engine

The Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali’s optional 6.2 V8 produces 30 more horsepower (420 vs. 390) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 394) than the Titan’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

The Sierra’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 394) than the Titan’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali 6.2 V8 is faster than the Nissan Titan:

Sierra

Titan

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.4 sec

11.7 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

3.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.9 MPH

92.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sierra XFE RWD 8-speed Auto 5.3 V8 gets better fuel mileage than the Titan RWD (17 city/24 hwy vs. 15 city/21 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Sierra’s fuel efficiency. The Titan doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Sierra SLE/Elevation/SLT/AT4/Denali’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Titan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Sierra Regular Cab’s standard fuel tank has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Titan (28 vs. 26 gallons).

The Sierra has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Titan doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A ten-speed automatic is available on the GMC Sierra, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Titan.

Brakes and Stopping

The Sierra stops shorter than the Titan:

Sierra

Titan

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Sierra’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 70 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Titan S’ standard 75 series tires. The Sierra’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Titan SL/Platinum’s 60 series tires.

For better load carrying, ride, handling and brake cooling the Sierra offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Titan’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Sierra offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Titan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the Sierra has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Titan.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sierra’s wheelbase is longer than on the Titan:

Sierra

Titan

Extended Cab Standard Bed

147.4 inches

139.8 inches

Crew Cab Short Bed

147.4 inches

139.8 inches

Crew Cab Standard Bed

157 inches

n/a

The Sierra 1500 Short Bed Denali Crew Cab 4x4 handles at .77 G’s, while the Titan Platinum Reserve Crew Cab 4x4 pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sierra 1500 Short Bed AT4 Crew Cab executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Titan S Single Cab 4x4 (27.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sierra 1500 Long Bed Regular Cab’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Titan’s (44.7 feet vs. 48 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Sierra 1500 Short Bed Crew Cab Lifted has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab (10.9 vs. 9.8 inches), allowing the Sierra to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GMC Sierra may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 1000 pounds less than the Nissan Titan.

Passenger Space

The Sierra Regular Cab has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room and 2.8 inches more front shoulder room than the Titan Single Cab.

The Sierra Double Cab has 2.1 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front hip room, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 10.4 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Titan King Cab.

The Sierra Crew Cab has 2 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front hip room, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, 4.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Titan Crew Cab.

Cargo Capacity

The Sierra Regular Cab has a much larger cargo box than the Titan Single Cab shortbed (89.1 vs. 74.8 cubic feet).

The Sierra Double Cab has a much larger cargo box than the Titan King Cab shortbed (72.7 vs. 59.6 cubic feet).

The Sierra Crew Cab shortbed has a much larger cargo box than the Titan Crew Cab shortbed (63.9 vs. 50.7 cubic feet).

The Sierra’s cargo box is larger than the Titan’s in almost every dimension:

Sierra Double Cab

Sierra Regular Cab

Titan Crew Cab

Titan Single Cab

Length

79.4”

98.2”

67”

98.5”

Max Width

71.4”

71.4”

63.8”

63.8”

Min Width

50.63”

50.62”

50”

50”

Height

22.4”

22.4”

20.8”

20.8”

The GMC Sierra has a standard CornerStep, which allows for much easier access to the cargo area. A rear cargo step is only available on the Nissan Titan PRO-4X/Platinum Reserve for extra cost.

The Sierra has an all welded cargo box to eliminate possible corrosion spots and to provide better chassis stiffness. The cargo box in the Titan is bolted through the bed to the frame with large bolts. These bolts are a prime area for corrosion to start as the normal flexing of the truck’s chassis causes them to eat through the finish; they can also snag cargo as it slides in and out.

Payload and Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Nissan Titan is limited to 9660 pounds. The Sierra 1500 Standard Bed Double Cab 4x4 offers up to a 12100 lbs. towing capacity.

The Sierra has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Titan:

Sierra

Titan

Extended Cab 1500

2030 lbs.

1630 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500

2030 lbs.

1590 lbs.

Regular Cab 1500 4x4

2140 lbs.

1930 lbs.

Extended Cab 1500 4x4

2020 lbs.

1630 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500 4x4

2010 lbs.

1610 lbs.

The Sierra has much higher optional payload capacities than the Titan:

Sierra

Titan

Regular Cab 1500

2240 lbs.

1860 lbs.

Extended Cab 1500

2160 lbs.

1640 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500

2140 lbs.

1590 lbs.

Regular Cab 1500 4x4

2140 lbs.

1930 lbs.

Extended Cab 1500 4x4

2140 lbs.

1630 lbs.

Crew Cab 1500 4x4

2070 lbs.

1610 lbs.

Ergonomics

The Sierra AT4/Denali offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Titan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Sierra’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Titan’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows available on both the Sierra and the Titan have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sierra is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Titan prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Sierra’s basic available front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Titan’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

Keyless Open and Start optional on the Sierra (except Base) allows you to unlock the doors, tailgate and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading cargo, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Nissan Titan’s Pushbutton Start doesn’t unlock the doors or the tailgate.

The Sierra has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Titan only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Sierra SLT/AT4/Denali detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Titan doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sierra has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Titan S/Single Cab doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Sierra offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Titan doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sierra is less expensive to operate than the Titan because typical repairs cost less on the Sierra than the Titan, including $135 less for a starter, $31 less for front struts and $40 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sierra second among large light duty pickups in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Titan isn’t in the top three.

The GMC Sierra outsold the Nissan Titan by over four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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