If you have been following the progress of our '04 Nissan Titan long-termer, you would know by now that we absolutely love this truck. You would also know that the Titan has served us well over the course of its stay, putting up with the daily punishment of hard-core use that our staff often projects upon our long-term fleet, and proving itself a worthy competitor in the fullsize market.
We feel Nissan has done a tremendous job putting the Titan together. With a year under our belts, our problem areas were few. Our only issues with our early production truck were the quality of interior materials, belt tensioner, front brake wear, and the rear axle, which, from the beginning, we felt was just adequate for the awesome power that the DOHC 5.6L V-8 puts out. Our axle issue occurred last year on our trip to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, when after an admittedly improper break-in period, the rearend grenaded on us. Thankfully, Nissan covered it under warranty.
It must be something about Moab that had our truck spooked, because with three days left until it was to complete its one-year evaluation with us, it was being driven home from this year's Easter Jeep Safari and an editor, who will remain unnamed, hit a patch of black ice on State Route 70, east of Salina, Utah. Unfortunately, our man driving overcorrected and completed his spinout only after impacting both the front and rear of the truck on a guardrail.
The good in all this is that two of our guys walked away from the accident unscathed, coming out way ahead of our Titan, which suffered serious damage and had to be towed to the nearest town. Amazingly enough, and for the severity of the crash, the Titan's structure dissipated the energy well, allowing our guys to walk away, and for us to evaluate the truck in a way we fortunately don't often get to evaluate, and that is in a real-world crash.
While the staff was upset to see the Titan damaged, after 22,365 great miles behind the wheel (our truck arrived with 586 miles), we knew the time to return it was coming soon anyway. Our Titan performed great while towing, was awesome in everyday commuter life, and shined on the trail-but at the end of the day, we can't speak highly enough about how the Titan protected our crew.
Previous reports: Jan. '05, May '05, July '05
Base price: $34,200
Price as tested: $36,850
Four-wheel-drive system: Electronic two-speed transfer case
Miles to date: 22,951
Miles since last report: 4,036
Average mpg (this report): 14.81
Test best tank mpg: 17.4
Test worst tank mpg: 8.5
20,000 -mile service: Oil Change
Wiper Blades Cost: $27.90
Front Brakes: Replace Warped Rotors, Pads
Problem areas: Interior trim, serpentine belt tensioner, front brakes, rear axle
WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT:
Hot: As much as we love gushing over the engine and trans combo, we are more so impressed with the crash performance of our Titan.
Not: This report, we had some noticeable front-end shimmy, which our team at Douglas Nissan of Orange, California repaired by replacing the front pads and rotors, under warranty.
* "Starting to notice a few squeaks in the interior."
* "Still getting lots of questions from people asking how we like this truck."
* "This must be the brainiest transmission ever."
* "Still loving that engine!"