In the March '04 issue we named the '04 Nissan Titan as our Sport Truck of the Year. Part of that honor involves a long-term build of the best new platform in the sport truck market. So, in this article, we're introducing you to our Sport Truck of the Year project truck: an '04 Nissan Titan crew cab.

In our Sport Truck of the Year competition, we put all the new trucks in the '04 model year through a series of rigorous performance tests and hours of hard driving to discover the truck with the best handling, braking, and acceleration. We don't give a lot of weight in the scoring to ergonomics and conveniences, so we don't tend to talk about them much in our Sport Truck of the Year reviews. We're more interested in the raw performance of the truck, and the '04 Nissan was the best of the bunch.

We know that the dynamic performance of a truck doesn't tell the whole story of a new pickup, which is why we're completing the picture of Nissan's newest in this introduction. We'll review the truck's seat comfort, materials choice, HVAC system, mobile entertainment system, use of interior space, and other design choices that provide much of the enjoyment of owning a truck.

The Titan offers more to the performance-oriented sport truck buyer than power, even though that's the truck's strong suit. The Nissan Endurance 5.6L V-8 engine's 305 hp and 379 lb-ft of torque and the Titan's maximum towing capacity of 9,400 pounds with the optional towing package puts it right at the top of the best domestic light trucks. This highly refined engine backed with an electronically controlled five-speed Torq-King automatic is one of the best gasoline-fueled light truck power teams on the market. Add the tow/haul mode and a 28-gallon fuel tank, and you've got the performance and capability that made it our choice for Sport Truck of The Year.

The spacious and accommodating interior is one of the Titan's traits that we really appreciated but didn't have the space to expand on in the Sport Truck of the Year coverage. Our project truck is the five-passenger with center console layout, but you can get one that'll seat six with the optional front bench. Ours had the power-adjustable front seats with the driver's seat memory system and the heated seats -- great on cold winter mornings -- and the power-adjustable foot pedals with memory and transmission interlock. And with either five- or six-passenger configuration, you'll be plenty comfortable with its 126 cubic feet of interior space, including 41.8 inches of front and 40.4 inches of rear legroom.