It was braking, however, that proved to be the Titan's strong suit; in fact, it has the best brakes of the bunch. It scored the shortest 60-0-mph cold-stop distance and the least amount of brake fade; two important categories that made up for its mid-level 0-60-mph and quarter-mile performances. The Bosch ABS worked flawlessly in the test as well as in the spirited driving over the course of the road test.

Summary: In reviewing the scoring, it is telling that the factors that made the '04 Nissan our choice for Sport Truck of the Year were not its raw, straight-line acceleration and agility through the slalom. It placed mid pack in acceleration to speed and dead last in the slalom. But it had the best brakes and the second-highest towing rating, which allowed it to score 40 out of a possible 60 points in the objective performance part of our test regime. This part of the test counts for 40 percent of the score, so it is critical. In the subjective portion of the performance evaluation - i.e. how the truck felt to our testers in terms of ride quality, handling, powertrain response, and refinement - it scored nearly 53 points out of a possible 60. The Titan also scored 52 points from a possible 60 points in the subjective scoring of the interior and exterior styling and fit and finish of the vehicle, a category that counts for 30 percent of the score.

These scores show that Nissan packed far more style and innovative features into the Titan than the other trucks tested. A short list of some of its most-liked features include the in-dash navigation, spray-in bedliner, bedside storage compartment, and huge interior. The front seats offer class-leading comfort, and the cab is huge, with flexible storage and cargo management options that'd make a minivan envious. Combine these very desirable features with the smoothest powertrain, the best brakes in the class, an estimated MSRP of $36,400-$38,400 for a heavily equipped Titan Crew Cab, such as the one tested, and you've got the 2004 Sport Truck of the Year.

Sport Truck of the Year Score
Acceleration: 16 of 24 possible
Ride and Handling: 15.83 of 18 possible
Ergonomics/Style/Build Quality: 15.6 possible
Total: 47.43 of 60 possible

Nissan's '04 Titan was strong in all areas of our test and evaluations. This was the mass production truck everyone on the staff wanted to drive, and therefore wins our Sport Truck of The Year award for 2004.

Likes:
* Great powertrain; wonderful exhaust note, incredible powerband; magnificent five-speed automatic
* Excellent use of storage space; innovative interior and cargo bed cargo management
* Good instrumentation, DVD player, sunroof, on-board GPS navigation, subwoofer - it doesn't get any better than this

Dislikes:* Front window not high enough -looking through sun strip...high seating position
* Front-end styling; mini-van style engine compartment; bed too short for fullsize truck
* Front seats need more side bolster support