A Proven Solid Fullsize
At the beginning of our test, we thought this was the end of the road for the Titan as we know it, but the original plans of Chrysler to build the next-generation Titan off of the Ram platform have been put on ice. This means that the current version will carry on for now, making our year with Nissan's biggest rig that much more relevant.
Our year with Nissan's Titan hasn't been particularly easy for the big truck. It isn't that the Titan wasn't up to the challenge, but rather the challenges were unrelenting. Out of the starting blocks, our Titan was used to tow things around, seemingly more often than most of our long-termers drive around trailerless. With our Titan, we yanked around project rigs and racecars. We hauled a lot of stuff, too, whether it was taking our spring cleaning to the dump or fully stocking a weekend of camping.
And if that wasn't enough, we threw lots of wheeling in for good measure.
The Titan performed admirably with its gutsy flex-fuel 318hp 5.6L DOHC V-8, which feels a lot more powerful than the 385 lb-ft of torque suggests. Testers raved about the exhaust note and often commented that the Endurance V-8 was a cool operator, never swaying the temp needle from its normal position, even on the hottest of days.
Despite a recent refreshening, the Titan has fallen behind the competition in several key categories, including interior quality, ride, and NVH when compared to the current crop of 1/2-tons. While it is worthy of purchasing consideration, the competition has clearly raised the bar.
Where the Titan continues to excel, though, is in sheer utility, from rear cab doors that swing nearly 180 degrees, to the factory bedliner and Utili-trak tie-down system. Add to that an obsessive amount of storage space, including the cargo cubby in the rear quarter panel, and a welcomed 12-volt plug in the bed.
The Titan, ours being a Pro-4X series, also played well in the dirt with a wheeler's bounty of trail equipment as part of the package. We appreciated the usable tow hooks, Rancho shocks, 3.36:1 final drive ratio (compared to 2.94:1 in lesser Titans), additional skidplating for the radiator and t-case, electronic rear locker, and P275/70R18 BFG Rugged Trail T/A tires.
Toward the end of our test, our test vehicle, which had been ridden hard and put away wet more than a few times, began to show signs of its tough life with the Four Wheeler staff. A few creaks and rattles could be heard from the interior panels, sighing along with the ripples in the road surface, as well as a mystery front creak in the front suspension, something we have heard on other Nissans.
After our year-long evaluation, we can tell you that Nissan's Titan is a capable, solid 1/2-ton and offers real truckiness for those who feel the competition has gone soft. It is a featured packed vehicle, and with an as-tested price of only $36,020, it comes loaded with value.
Report: 4 of 4
Previous reports: Sept. '08, Jan. '09, Apr. '09
Base price: $31,450
Price as tested: $36,020
Four-wheel-drive system: Two-speed, part-time electronic shift on the fly
Miles to date: 23,315
Miles since last report: 7,288
Average mpg (this report): 13.33
Test best tank (mpg): 17.18
Test worst tank (mpg): 8.25 (towing)
Oil change: $62.15
Problem areas: Warped front rotors, some squeaks and creaks
What's Hot, What's Not
Hot: Awesome power, exhaust note, features, storage, fine tow rig
Not: Interior quality not as good as competition, aggressive traction control, some squeaks and rattles
* "King Cab is a great size for a personal-use truck, but if you want to put real people back there, get the Crew."
* "Loving the over 300-mile towing range."
* "Holy Mother of Wheelspin!"
* "What a sweet, sweet motor. No other truck motor sounds or feels as good as this."
* "Steering feel is not bad for a fullsize."