It's aging and has lost its status as the new kid on the block.
What was tested? 2008 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE ($31,600).
Options: Popular package with bench seats ($1,200), floor mats ($125), under seat storage bin ($150), tow package ($450), SE high utility bed package ($950), sliding bed extender ($280).
Price as tested (including $745 destination charge): $35,500
Until recently, the Nissan Titan was your only option if you wanted a full-size, Japanese-brand truck.
It was a great honeymoon for Nissan, giving the company plenty of publicity because it looked like the Land of the Rising Sun was mounting a direct attack on the Home of the Free and the Brave. It was the perfect story line.
It still offers a lot of good features at a fair price, including some innovative things that are now being copied by other brands.<
Now the Toyota Tundra has entered the fight, too, which could be catastrophic for the Titan for two reasons: One, the Tundra is a great truck, providing some tough competition for the aging Titan. And two, Nissan no longer gets the benefit of attention-getting headlines with Pearl Harbor overtones. All those have shifted to Toyota.
In any case, it's fair to say the Titan hasn't been as successful as Nissan had hoped, and the Tundra doesn't make things easier.
So, how is Nissan responding? By adding two new versions.
One is the Long Wheelbase (LWB), which -- guess what? -- has a longer wheelbase than the standard Titan. That enables it to have a eight-foot-long bed, the longest in its class, along with a huge, 37-gallon fuel tank.
It's fair to say the Titan hasn't been as successful as Nissan had hoped, and the Tundra doesn't make things easier.<
The other new model is called the PRO-4X, which is designed for off-road driving. It has Rancho-brand shocks, a low gear ratio, extra skid plates and an electric locking rear differential. It also comes with a unique style, including white gauge faces, special interior treatment, and body-color exterior trim.
These two, distinctive trucks are designed to send a clear message. Nissan wants the Titan to be remembered for both hard work, as in the LWB, and play, as in the PRO-4X.
The PRO-4X is fairly pricey, starting at $31,980. The LWB is available at a variety of price points, though, starting at $24,800 with rear-wheel drive and topping out at $36,170 with four-wheel drive on a luxurious LE model.
The Titan continues to have some interesting features, including some that other manufacturers have recently started copying.<
Speaking of luxuries, Nissan is making several new features available this year, including a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, XM satellite radio, a heated leather bench seat, and a bigger, 8-inch DVD screen.
The Titan continues to have some interesting features, including some that other manufacturers have recently started copying. You can get a spray-on bedliner straight from the factory; rear doors on the King Cab open nearly 180 degrees for easy entry; the bed has a nifty Utili-track tie-down system that keeps cargo secure; and it has a lockable bedside storage compartment. All those things add to the Titan's coolness factor.
Will the improvements be enough to keep the Titan relevant in an increasingly crowded full-size truck market? It's tough to say. It's still priced attractively -- depending on how you equip it -- but it's also facing a one-two punch from the impressive-but-expensive Tundra and pickup buyers' loyalty to the American brands.
It's still priced attractively -- depending on how you equip it -- but it's also facing a one-two punch from the impressive-but-expensive Tundra and pickup buyers' loyalty to the American brands.
The Titan may have been first to the dance, but that doesn't guaranty a kiss at the end of the night.
Pros: It still offers a lot of good features at a fair price, including some innovative things that are now being copied by other brands.
Cons: It's aging and has lost its status as the new kid on the block.