Road Test
We just took delivery of a new-to-us Nissan Titan. The truck, an '08 model with a little over 12,000 miles on the clock, is a Pro-4X model, which means that it's loaded with some great features and an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system and is more than just some stylish stickers on the bedsides. Since ours is a 4x4, don't expect us to be droppin' this one on some big rims because that would be like putting lipstick on a pig. We'll be outfitting this rig with a bit more altitude and attitude in the coming months, instead of taking the low road. For now though, let's take a look at what you get with a $38,620 MSRP on the window sticker.

The Drivetrain
Since its inception, the Titan has offered plenty of grunt under the bulging hood. Although you won't find amazingly great fuel economy from the 5.6L DOHC 32-valve Endurance V-8, it does offer 385 lb-ft of torque and 317 hp, which means towing and speeding isn't a problem. So far, we've managed to average 12 mpg around town and 15 mpg on the highway. The motor is quiet, the power delivery through the five-speed automatic overdrive tranny is silky-smooth, and the shift-on-the-fly 4WD system works well even if you didn't read the owner's manual before trying to engage it like we did.

The Suspension
The Titan rides on a front wishbone independent suspension and a rear Dana axle suspended by multileaf spring packs and staggered shocks. The framerails are fully boxed in to increase rigidity, and the truck stops via large disc brakes at all corners. The Pro-4X package upgrades the Titan's suspension to Rancho Off-Road performance shocks, a 3.36 final drive ratio, and a switch-on-demand locking rear differential. The Pro-4X model also gains a pair of front skidplates to protect the radiator and two-speed transfer case. The six-spoke 18x8-inch alloy wheels are equipped with P275/70R18 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires, which work pretty well in low-traction situations in the dirt and are quiet on the asphalt. The four-wheel-drive system will save you in most muddy situations and silt beds, but if you are serious about your off-roadin' adventures, then a more aggressive tire tread is in order. But for the rest of us who commute on the freeway more than we drive in the dirt, the suspension and tires offer a pliable ride that is neither harsh nor mushy, and has plenty of capacity for hauling heavy loads and towing. Our Crew Cab has a maximum towing capacity of 9,500 pounds.

The Exterior
The Titan scored very few styling upgrades in '08. The sheetmetal is essentially the same as last year's model, but the front bumper received some reshaping around the lower foglamps and the vertical grille bars are different. The bed retained the bitchin lockable storage compartment on the driver side, and our truck is outfitted with the Utili-track channel system and a factory-applied spray-in bedliner. We also dig the 12-volt DC power outlet in the cargo wall and bed lighting system. The Titan has always been a tough-looking truck, and the '08 model is no different.

The Interior
For '08, the Titan received some redesigned front captain's chairs, and the Pro-4X model features two-tone dark cloth materials with red stitching. Leather is also an option on the Pro-4X package. The rear bench seat is still a split piece and still folds upward to expose a generous amount of cargo area in the rear of the cab. The front passenger-side captain's chair also folds in half so you can stretch out if you're sitting in the back seat and no one is up front. The driver-side captain's chair features eight-way power adjustment, and both front seats are heated. The steering wheel and seats are treated to race-inspired red stitching. We found the seating nice and firm, with a performance feel that holds you reasonably well during hard corners, but the bolsters are unobtrusive and comfortable enough for the daily commute. Like many of today's 1/2-ton sport trucks, this one drives much like a car until you throw some weight behind or inside of it and use it like a real truck. The dashboard features a nice three-gauge cluster that is easily read at a glance and centrally located climate and audio system controls that are easily reached.

Our truck didn't come with the top-of-the-line Rockford Fosgate audio system, but it does have an in-dash six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary input for connecting an MP3 player or similar device. The steering wheel also contained audio system controls, which are one of the best inventions ever. The eight-speaker audio system rocked pretty hard. The overhead console in our Pro-4X has controls and inputs for an auxiliary input and room for an overhead monitor, but it has neither the screen nor DVD player onboard. This is an option on other models though.

The Titan offers a great amount of storage space within the center console and door panels. It also features six cupholders and two bottle holders. Our favorite creature comfort items though are the power-retracting rear window and the one-touch up and down power window controls.

The Plan
Since our truck is a 4x4, it would be sacrilegious to lower it. For now, we are going to rid the Titan of its nose-down stance with a suspension leveling kit and some aggressive rolling stock. We think we can give the truck an improved presence without sacrificing too much fuel economy if we play our cards right and resist the urge to lift it to the moon. Like our '07 Tundra, this truck came to us via a short-term lease, so we won't be cutting it up in the name of style or performance. Keep an eye out for articles covering bolt-on performance mod testing that will wake up the engine and make this one even more fun to drive.

This Truck Costs How Much?
MSRP: $33,950.00
Power package: $1,350.00
*Eight-way power driver seat
*Illuminated steering-wheel audio controls
*Auto-dimming rearview mirror w/ digital compass
*Homelink Universal Transceiver
*Extended overhead console
*Dual medial playback w/ wireless headphones

Floor Mats: $125.00

Side-Airbag package with VDC: $1,200.00

Tow Package: $450.00
*Class IV receiver hitch
*Seven-pin wiring harness and trailer brake pre-wiring
*Transmission temperature gauge
*HD battery

PRO-4X Utility Bed package: $800.00
*Utili-track channel system w/ four tie-down cleats
*Factory-applied spray-in bedliner
*Rear bed lighting and 12V DC power outlet

Destination charges: $745.00

Total Vehicle Cost: $38,620.00