In 2004, the brand-new Nissan Titan was the biggest, brawniest full-size truck from Japan. A 305-horsepower V8 and freight-train styling raised the game, and alerted Detroit to an attack on one of the last segments the American Big Three still dominated. It didn’t offer as much variety as the established lines from Ford, Dodge and GMC/Chevrolet, but was more of a one-size-fits-all truck.
Three years later, the Toyota Tundra kicked it up a few notches. For 2008, Nissan has followed suit, offering more configurations and more power. The Titan’s 5.6-liter V8 now makes 315 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm and 387 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400. That’s only fourteen pound-feet shy of the Tundra’s 5.7. Fuel economy is standard for huge pickups at a rated 12 city and 17 highway.
Nissan has also added an off-road trim level called the PRO-4X, and that’s what they sent us. The Pro-4X comes standard with off-road specific shocks by Rancho, a specialty division of Tenneco with fifty years of experience making truck suspensions. There are also skid plates for the transfer case and the lower radiator. Serious enthusiasts will make further upgrades, but the Pro-4X’s purpose is to save them some work, as well as to simply provide the casual off-roader with a turn-key package.
The Titan PRO-4X’s interior has drawn some criticism for being too plain. That may or may not be important to the truck’s demographic. It is simple and blocky, but it’s still miles ahead of a mid-nineties American full-size pickup. Our PRO-4X tester carried unique interior treatment, some of which we liked (steering wheel and shift knob done in leather with red stitching) and some of which we could have done without (“PRO-4X” tags attached to the front seats). More importantly, it works. The Tundra has a few more nooks and crannies, but the Nissan Titan is no slouch. Six cup holders and two bottle holders, as well as an extended roof console and an appropriately oversized center console, make it a capable swallower of stuff.
You also watch the 2008 Nissan Titan Pro-4x Video on YouTube.
Roadfly had a long-term Nissan Titan last year, and it scored pretty well with our staff. Neat little features like the dampened tailgate assist and the lockable storage box mounted in the driver’s side of the bed add little dashes of practicality, as does the power sliding rear glass. Bigger features like the “Utili-track” system, with tie-down clamps that move around on a system of rails in the bed, make still bigger improvements in the Titan’s capabilities. The handy track system is part of the $800 High Utility Bed package, which also includes a spray-on bed liner, bed lighting, and a 12-volt DC power outlet. If you skip this package, you should probably stop here and consider buying a Sentra instead.
Our PRO-4X had a lot of options, giving us a case of mild sticker shock. The base price of $33,950 was a bargain, but it ballooned to $41,870 after all the added options. Some of them were no-brainers, like the bed package, the tow package (Class IV hitch, extending towing mirrors, trailer brake pre-wiring) for $450, and the $900 moonroof.
Others were more expensive and you may want to go without them if you’re looking for a steal. The “popular package” included (to name a few) an eight-way power driver’s seat, power adjustable pedals, HomeLink, Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, and steering wheel-mounted controls for the 10-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. This is neat stuff to be sure, but at $2,250 it might be something the hard-core off-road clientele are willing to forgo.
Ditto the rear-seat mobile theater system for $1,450, which gets you a flip-down 8-inch monitor, a DVD player with auxiliary inputs, remote control, and two sets wireless head phones. However, this might be a very worthwhile option if you plan to use the PRO-4X for tailgating or camping.
A tough call would be the side airbag package our tester was equipped with. It supplies the Titan with side-impact air bags mounted in the front seat, curtain air bags mounted in the roof, and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and brake assist. This is all really good stuff, especially since big trucks in general are heavy, roll-over prone, and easy to lose control of. However, it’s a pricey option at $1,200.
Whatever options you choose, the Titan PRO-4X is a pretty impressive truck. It’s not as speedy as the Tundra, but it has a specific enthusiast flavor that vanilla-bean Toyota has yet to inject into their full-size pickups. In reality, the 2008 PRO-4X is more of a competitor to the Ford’s formidable FX4 off-road trim level of their full-size F150.