Consider the Nissan Titan pick-up truck's OPEC-friendly 10 mpg. It's enough to make any oil sheik weep for joy. Gas-station attendants will get to know you on a first-name basis. You'll max out your oil-company credit card. Just don't expect any free glassware with a 10-gallon fill-up.
I mock the lousy mileage, but it was really one of the standout features of this truck, even if it wasn't the first thing I noticed.
That would be the Titan's bold presence.
The styling is typically Nissan: bold, distinctive and modern. Large, chunky chromed door handles, a massive grille and side mirrors the size of telephone books give the Titan it's, um, titanic appearance.
That large size pays dividends in the cabin, which is only slightly smaller than the state Texas. Nissan offers the Titan only in four-door Crew Cab and two-door King Cab configurations. A regular cab isn't available.
Needless to say, the Nissan Titan Crew Cab provided for testing proved roomy in both front and rear seats. The interior was styled in a manner that complemented the exterior's bold look. Unfortunately, there was a lot of hard plastic, and more than a few rattles that do little to suggest long-term durability.
While you could complain about interior quality, you can't complain about the drivetrain.
There's only one engine offered in the Titan, and it's a good one: an all-aluminum 5.6-liter V8 good for 305 horsepower. Maximum towing capacity is an excellent 9,500 pounds for the King Cab and 9,400 pounds for the Crew Cab. The engine rumbles with authority, but becomes a droning annoyance after a while. This is a pick-up truck, not a sports car.
Performance is quite good, and there always seems to be enough power. There wasn't an opportunity to try towing with it, however. Ride is firm but absorbent, without a lot of rebound after hitting potholes. Body lean through corners was average for the class.
The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-drive or four-wheel-drive models are available.
Nissan endowed the Titan with many thoughtful touches.
Personally, I liked the side mirrors, with a regular mirror perched atop a smaller convex mirror. It helps give a fuller view. Another nice touch is the lockable storage bin in the side of the bed. Finally, there's the bed itself, with a standard bed liner and Nissan's Utili-track tie-down channel system.
The system employs five rails mounted in the bed (two channels in the bed floor, and one each on the bed side rails and the bed header panel).
Removable cleats slide into the channels, providing a wide range of attaching points for cargo tie-down. The channels are open at the rear of the bed, allowing the cleats to be completely removed when not in use. Of course, Nissan offers a number of accessories that take advantage of the system.
The only downside to the bed is its length. The King Cab has the longer of the two beds, at 78.9 inches. Crew Cab models get a shorter one, at 67.1 inches.
There's also a question of price.
This truck, a rear-driver with minimal options, was just over 32 grand, not exactly chump change. Nissan's incentives match those of the domestic competitors, but the Titan doesn't offer nearly as many body configurations as the Big Three.
That lack of configurability along with the Titan's inferior interior quality and titanic thirst would outweigh its handy features and stylish demeanor.
There's a reason that American companies sell so many large pick-ups, despite the bad press.