2008 Nissan Titan Review

2008 Nissan Titan - Big attitude.


The description of who might own a pickup truck is about as easy to pinpoint these days as it might be to determine the profile of people who own an iPod. The good news for those producing pickups is that the best answer is pretty much anybody might own a pickup.

Years ago you would have been right to focus on tradesmen and cowboys, farmers and contractors. Those very general classifications of pickup owners are still big supporters of the full-size pickup category, but it is the seemingly inexplicable love shown for the pickup by those with little need for its size of function that drives the huge sales numbers every year.

Once a category owned solely by the domestics, Toyota and Nissan have pressed resources together to bring respectable competition to a very American class of truck.

The 2008 Nissan Titan lineup has expanded this year to deliver more than 25 different combinations of wheelbases (Short or Long); cabs (King, Crew); 2- and 4-wheel drive models; and four trim levels (XE, SE, LE and Pro-4X). It is just this laundry list of combos that helps make the perfect pickup so appealing to such a broad range of consumers.

From the base model, look for 4-wheel drive to add about $3,000 while a long wheelbase adds about $400. If you are considering cabs, expect about $2,500-$3,000 to make the jump from King Cab to Crew Cab. My tester was a new long-wheelbase model Crew Cab with 4-wheel drive and the high-end LE trim.

Looking at the exterior of the Titan, you cannot help but feel small. Its name implies size and power and it delivers in every category.

The attitude begins with a huge grille, bumpers and 20-inch wheels. This year, some softened edges to the previous model are appreciated but they do nothing to dampen the spirit of the Titan. Especially appreciated were the great-looking chrome, power folding side mirrors.

One of the first things I noticed when first approaching my Titan was the box - it was enormous. The new long-wheelbase option gave me 7 feet and 3 inches of storage; the King Cabs are a whopping 8 feet and 3 inches of length, the biggest box in the 1/2-ton class.

There are all kinds of reasons to really admire the Titan's expansive space and functional design options. The tailgate is lockable and it allows for the flat position to extend the bed by encompassing a cargo track system ($280) in the bedsides and the floor.

I actually had a chance to test this out and it worked great. I had a real hard time getting the gliders back onto the tracks, but I'm sure practice makes perfect.

Inside my Titan LE's luxurious cabin I found creature comforts among the highly functional pickup necessities. Leather seating swaddles you in the front and back benches.

Visibility is outstanding as you sit high above everything on the road. Dash instrumentation has an appealing sophistication. Pleasant woodgrain is prevalent inside and it adds to the interior's refinement.

Front passengers have power seating adjustments, which allow for plenty of legroom and headroom. Rear passengers enjoy plenty of room and first-in-class wide-open rear doors. These doors, and the running boards, really do make getting in and out a lot less cumbersome.

You will be blown away by the sound quality of the 350-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system. It could liven up a cabin five times Titan's size with its 8-speaker layout and 6-disc availability. Add XM satellite radio to the mix and you have a cabin you may never want to leave.

Dual-zone climate control allowed for perfect temps inside the cabin. I liked the deep design of the center console; it would have accommodated pretty much whatever I needed to fit in there. Blootooth hands-free communication is available with Titan.

Standard power for the Titan comes from a solid V8 (317 hp) mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. I found acceleration to be very good and comparable, if not better, than everything else in this class.

As you might expect, fuel economy is 12 city/17 highway. This is not good, but nothing this big and powerful gets good mileage - just comparable mileage to the others in the class.

My tester had the optional ($450) tow package including dual-element mirrors and a transmission temperature gauge. Towing is rated at 9,500 lbs.

My Titan LE base started at $35,150 but nudged up to $36,909 with a few of the add-on items mentioned previously. Overall, it is an outstanding pickup offering class-best features in many areas as well as the grinder power and torque required to compete in this class of truck. Titan has to be on your radar if you decide to look at full-size pickups.

John Stein

John Stein grew up in an extended family that valued the art of going fast. Spending plenty of weekends at U.S. 30 Drag Strip and Sante Fe Speedway, he fondly remembers the screaming machines and the flying mud that made those long-gone racing havens such special memories. With plenty of late nights spent ‘tinkering’ with cars throughout high school, he never anticipated his interest cars and his love for writing might find a common ground. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 1988, John started writing for the weekly Southtown Economist. So, when the Economist went to a daily in 1994, and needed an auto editor, John took the proverbial steering wheel. Featured weekly in the Sun-Times and its 17 suburban publications, as well as ELITE Magazine, John balances being the Automotive Editor for Sun-Time Media with being a husband and dad in Plainfield, Illinois.