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August 26, 2009 > Auto Review: Nissan Titan pickup truck

Auto Review: Nissan Titan pickup truck

We don't often get to test drive pickup trucks, so this week's Titan 4X4 SE was a treat. The Titan is Nissan's full-sized, half-ton pickup. I have to admit that I assumed we were in for a week's worth of bone crunching rides. I mean all 4X4 pickups ride like that, don't they? But I was wrong because the Titan was smoother riding than I expected. It was not a "luxury car" smooth ride, but the ride of some sports cars is much stiffer than the Titan.

Our Titan sure had plenty of power. Everyone gets the all aluminum, 5.6-liter, double overhead cam, V-8 that produces 317 HP and 385 foot pounds of torque. It is then mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission designed especially for truck use and towing. During its EPA test cycles, Titan produced 12 mph city and 17 mpg. An electronically-controlled transfer case allows shift-on-the-fly in the 4X4 versions. The Titan would make an excellent tow vehicle because its towing capacity is about 9400 pounds.

The 2009 Titan choices include King Cab and Crew Cab body styles. Then you get to choose between 4X4 or 4X2 drive systems. Next is a choice of two wheel bases and four different bed lengths. Finally, there are four trim levels. Nissan gives you a lot of build options for your new Titan.

Rear doors of King Cab models have a unique hinge system that allows them to open much wider that you would expect (168 degrees) for really easy entry and exit. Nissan also offers their Utili-track tie-down system that offers extensive cargo hauling and tie down configurations.

Interior options are as varied as many luxury cars. They include a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Nissan's excellent nav system, Rockford Fosgate audio system, heated leather front seats, and a DVD entertainment center. You also can choose between a 3-person front bench seat and two bucket seats with a large center console. The center console is even designed to hold hanging file folders for business owners.

I really liked the Titan's large, external side mirrors. Both sides were power adjustable as with many cars. Each side also had two sections of mirrors. The top section was a large flat mirror as with many large vehicles. Under that was wide angle section that allows the driver to really see what is behind and next to the Titan and assists safe lane changes.

About the only negative comment I have is a little unusual. The back window of the Titan is flat. In the dark, reflection of the radio lights on the back window can be seen in the center rear-view mirror. This is both distracting and annoying.

The base Titan is the King Cab XE 4X2. Its base price is $26,150. To buy the Crew Cab version it costs an additional $2,550 and another $2,850 if you want to upgrade to the 4X4 drive train. The top of the line LE starts out at $33,850.

The PRO-4X model is specially equipped for off-road use. It gets Rancho Shock Absorbers, a lower final drive ratio, electronic locking differential, additional skid plates to protect the driveline components, and all-terrain tires. It starts at $33,680.

A big Titan would be the perfect way to tow our racecar. I wonder if I could talk my wife into one.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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