2004 Titan New Car Test Drive
A man and his truck. It's a beautiful thing.' So read the legend on a sweatshirt. I smiled in understanding. Most certainly pickups inspire in their owners, male or female, an emotion rarely generated by other wheeled objects. It's a feeling more often associated with a favored dog, or maybe a sports team.
That unique relationship is a force to be reckoned with if you're a manufacturer looking to move up in the market. That's the task Nissan has set for itself with what it terms the first truly full-size pickup from a company other than Ford, Dodge, or General Motors. Titan is significantly larger than the Toyota Tundra, which is not quite full-size.
Nissan has done its research, benchmarking favored pickups and edging the bar higher for its Titan. The Titan boasts best in class headroom; best in class torque; best in class interior volume (for the Crew Cab); best 4x4 ground clearance; best 4x4 approach angle; largest in class 4x4 tires. Titan can tow up to 9,500 pounds, putting it at the top of the class alongside the new Ford F-150.
The Titan features a new 5.6-liter V8 and five-speed automatic that deliver dazzling response. Its handling is equally responsive, making it among the most enjoyable of the full-size half-ton pickups. Brakes, suspension, drivetrain all feel refined. This is a serious pickup that pleases all the senses.
Titan boasts clever innovations that improve on the traditional pickup bed, such as the factory-applied spray-in bedliner and a C-channel tie-down system. A stash box integrated into the driver's rear fender offers a neat place to store a hitch or other small items. The rear doors on the King Cab open nearly 180 degrees for quick access.
The Titan was designed in California. It's built at Nissan's new plant at Canton, Mississippi, and its new V8 is built at Nissan's Decherd, Tennessee, production facility.
Nissan Titan is available in two body styles: King Cab with a 6-foot, 7-inch bed or a Crew Cab with a larger cabin and conventional doors and a 5-foot, 6-inch bed.
All Titans boast Nissan's new 5.6-liter V8 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. All models are available in 2WD and 4WD versions.
Three trim levels are available, XE, SE, and LE. The XE comes standard with a split front bench seat with a fold-down armrest storage bin and split pop-up rear seat; XE comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, but has manual door locks and wind-up windows. SE adds captain's chairs, a better grade of cloth, 18-inch wheels, power everything, and host of other features; SE is expected to be the most popular trim level. LE comes with leather front seats. All models come with a high level of standard equipment including features such as a tire-pressure monitor, automatic headlamps, cruise control, and a CD stereo.
A navigation system is optional and comes bundled with a rear park-assist system. Also optional is a package that includes front-seat side-impact air bags and curtain air bags, always good choices in tall vehicles like SUVs and trucks. The Utility Bed Package includes a clever channel system in the bed for flexible tie-down configurations to fit a wide range of cargo; a lockable storage system in the outside of the bed; tailgate lighting; a power point at the rear; and that factory-applied spray-in bedliner. The Rockford Fosgate system boasts 10 speakers and is standard on LE, optional on SE.
An off-road package is available with a unique lower-ratio Dana axle, switch-on-demand electronically activated locking rear differential, off-road-style Rancho performance gas shock absorbers, large all-terrain tires, fog lights and lower radiator, oil pan and transfer case skid plates.
Nissan has made no effort to match the staggering mix of options in engine, transmissions, body styles and accessories that greet, say, a Ford pickup buyer. So you'll have to look elsewhere if you want a big duallie or a cheap, V6-powered regular cab. Nissan says its plan is to get the basics right and then build on that with a new level of style and innovation. We think the Nissan Titan has achieved those goals.