With the launch of the Titan, Nissan joined the full-size pickup truck ranks. Seriously big in size, the Titan competes against the domestically built trucks from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and GMC, which have virtually owned the full-size segment for decades.
Nissan installed a powerful 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 that cranks out 305 horsepower and 379 pounds-feet of torque in the Titan. The truck is available in King Cab (extended-cab) and Crew Cab forms and can be equipped with either rear- or four-wheel drive.
For 2005, Crew Cab models get a powered rear window and the front seats of all models gain active head restraints. Tailgates gain dampened assist struts. Three trim levels are offered: XE, SE and top-of-the-line LE. Titans are manufactured in Canton, Miss.
Wide front fenders and blistered cargo-box sides help convey the sensation of bigness. At 224.2 inches long overall with a 6.5-foot cargo bed, the Titan King Cab is 5.6 inches shorter than an equivalent extended-cab Ford F-150.
The King Cab's rear doors open nearly 180 degrees for easy access. A factory-applied spray-in bed liner is offered on upper-end trim levels. Nissan's available Utili-track bed channel system uses C-channel rails on the cargo-box floor, side rails and front panel. A lockable bedside compartment, tailgate illumination and a bed-mounted 12-volt power point are included.
Titan XEs have 17-inch tires, but aluminum wheels on other models hold 18-inch tires. An optional offroad package includes a lower-ratio rear axle, a driver-selectable locking rear differential, Rancho shock absorbers and skid plates.
Buyers can choose from two King Cab interior layouts. A front bench seat provides three-across seating, and a column-mounted gearshift is used. Titans with bucket seats get a large console and a gated gearshift.
Under the Hood
The Titan's 5.6-liter V-8 produces 305 hp and teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission. The Titan can tow as much as 9,500 pounds when properly equipped. Optional part-time shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled dual-range transfer case.
Four-wheel all-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are optional.
Shoppers searching for solid construction in the full-size pickup category need not look any further than Nissan's Titan. It delivers confident handling, both on- and off-road. Expect superior maneuverability through twisting, narrow roads.
Performance is strong but not superlative. After some brief initial sluggishness, the Titan accelerates from a standstill with authority. Response is strong at midrange speeds, but acceleration is accompanied by considerable engine noise.
Occupants may feel quite a bit of body motion on rougher surfaces and when the bed is empty, but a loaded Titan rides quite nicely. It provides a secure ride with only a touch of body roll as the rather stiff suspension absorbs road imperfections.
Titans emit a distinctive exhaust note that's not trucklike. Auxiliary tilt-down mirrors enhance rearward visibility. The seats provide good back support and feature especially long bottoms and soft cushions.