Into the rabbit hole
Brian VancephotographerMotorTrend Staffwriter
Few cliques have been as tight as the full-size-pickup truck cadre, with the Big Three owning this mega-volume segment since the dawn of modern mechanical workhorses. Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and GMC have kicked sand in the face of Toyota for two product generations, as the import-brand powerhouse has sought to gain a sizeable slice of sales that reach annual volumes in the hundreds of thousands for even the midlevel players.
Observing from the sidelines, Nissan learned lessons from Toyota and readied a brilliant product onslaught that's come to define the company's rebirth. About 45 years after Nissan introduced its compact pickup to America, the company rolled out the Titan, its first full-size truck based on the scalable Alpha platform that underpins the Armada, Pathfinder, Xterra, Frontier, and Infiniti QX56.
Rather than serve up a variety of body and powertrain configurations, Nissan struck at the heart of the market with King Cab and Crew Cab models and a single powerful engine. Even the exterior dimensions were simple: The Titan measures 224.2 inches and rides on a 139.8-inch wheelbase in either body style, with the Crew Cab conceding bed length to passenger space. The half-ton truck matches those of the Big Three players within an inch or two for each dimension, adding up to a full-scale pickup, and its production simplification has enabled aggressive pricing and a clear marketing message.
Pickup trucks increasingly are becoming not only commuter vehicles, but family transport. We ordered a five-passenger Crew Cab model, outfitted for comfort and adventure with several feature-rich option packages. Right off the Canton, Mississippi, assembly line, SE trims boast a generous roster of standard equipment, from essential power niceties to the more subtle details, like locking tailgate and rear A/C vents. To this, we upgraded the stereo to a Rockford Fosgate system (bringing along such unrelated items as adjustable pedals and a universal garage-door opener), prepped the truck for towing, and fit the bed with all available cargo-anchoring hardware.
The default engine is an all-new 5.6-liter DOHC V-8 that generates 305 horsepower and 379 pound-feet of torque, ratings the staff felt were conservative. At 305 horses, the "Endurance" engine outmuscles the base V-6 and first-level V-8 offerings from every competitor. Making a good thing even better, the engine is teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission, giving the powertrain a performance and fuel-economy edge that helps further distinguish the Titan from the OHV/four-speed competitors.
A 2WD base Titan has more immediate steering response and more communicative handling than the segment's isolated norm. We chose to equip our long-termer with the Off-Road package (17-inch wheels with dirt-loving BFGoodrich tires, Rancho shocks, more aggressive axle ratio, foglamps, tow hooks, skidplates, and bravado). It seemed a good idea at the time, but as recurring logbook notes point out, we sacrificed ride quality without gaining off-road traction through 4WD. All compromise, no reward, the unnecessary suspension diminished the staff appreciation for what's normally a commendable ride/handling setup.
Perhaps our best return on investment was spending $900 on the five-foot seven-inch Utility Bed package that featured a first-class factory spray-in bedliner and Utili-track system, with beefy, adjustable anchors. The rails can accept a wide variety of dealer-offered cargo holders, such as a sliding toolbox, making it easy to customize the box to an owner's specific needs. The package also included a driver-side lockable storage space in the fender, perfect for emergency gear. As expected, the bed was in constant use for bringing home DIY supplies, cabinets, furniture from storage, and even chasing storm supplies across hurricane-ravaged Florida. The textured liner meant not worrying about damaging a painted box's finish, and it held up well given all the objects that slid across it.
The 126-cubic-foot cabin provided ample passenger space for both rows, with many measurements exceeding the segment leaders'. The abundant storage received lots of praise, with large map pockets, large center console, cupholders, pen trays, and dash-top shelf. The wide, modestly bolstered seats were comfortable on long trips, aided by lumbar adjustments.
The Titan's dash design, drawing clear inspiration from the Altima with its rectangular vents, circular controls, and planar surfaces, stands out in the segment for its carlike appearance. The Rockford Fosgate head unit had a microplug input, enabling the staff to install an XM Satellite Radio system and listen to iPods. Still a rarity in this MP3-crazed age, this simple, affordable feature was among the logbook favorites.
As the year progressed, most criticisms were centered on the commodious interior. The stereo's Achilles' heel was its AM reception. Repeated Florida dealer visits were met with the insistence that all was fine, and it was ultimately corrected in California, with the trouble traced to a loose connection. Rear-seat riders routinely complained about how the non-adjustable seatbelt cut into their necks. The belts were eventually replaced under an unrelated safety recall, but the discomfort remained. A burned-out power point was replaced.
One unsolved mystery involved the haunted driver's seat that tilted forward a few degrees when parked. Never observed, yet regularly experienced, this phenomenon couldn't be reproduced at the dealer (figures!) or traced to the exiting method. A driver's door wind whistle developed that sounded like the window was down a quarter inch. This was remedied with a new weather strip, under warranty. Other service items included replacing brake rotors and pads under warranty to resolve a shuddering issue. Beyond warranty and scheduled service, no wear costs were incurred.
The first-year jitters were apparently not limited to our Titan, as Nissan ranked as the 32nd nameplate in the 2004 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. With the Titan and other new vehicles destined to play key roles in Nissan's revival, the company reacted swiftly by sending over 200 troubleshooting engineers to the assembly plants, design center, and parts suppliers. Just one year later, Nissan ranked 18th in the 2005 Initial Quality Study, ahead of Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford.
Launch pains aside, the Titan has proven a strong alternative to the domestic-branded trucks at an attractive price point. It packs all the core essentials (robust engine, roomy interior, etc.) in distinctive styling with numerous special touches you won't find in others, such as the available spray-on bedliner. Our early-build Titan fell short in areas largely attributed to minor build quality issues that should resolved by now. Wipe the logbook criticisms, and we're left with praise for Nissan's accomplishment and the liveable, and indeed lovable, truck. On its first turn at the plate, Nissan hit the ball out of the full-size park, even if there was a bit of cork in the bat. The company will continue to flesh out the Titan lineup, and Toyota comes back up to hit soon enough.Looks good! More details?
|What's Hot• Strong, smooth engine• Attractive, functional interior• Clever bed treatment, with spray-on liner, storage, and adjustable anchors available|
|What's Not• Quality niggles• Rubbing rear seatbelts• Ride quality with Off-Road package|
|Don't Miss• The standard engine is more powerful than all base V-8s in other pickups|
|Bottom Line• Powerful, right-priced competitor to the dominating domestics in the full-size arena|
|From The Logbook|
"The optional spray-in bedliner seems like something that ought to be standard in every pickup. A painted bed now looks incomplete by comparison, just begging to be scarred by the first cargo item it carries. "- John Matthius
"Out of the dozen or more vehicles I've driven cross-country, the Titan ranks among the most road-trip friendly, thanks to steering-wheel audio controls, rockin' stereo, and more nooks and crannies than an English muffin. Just wish the off-road suspension were smoother, or that we didn't check it on the options list." - Jeff Bartlett
"If this is 305 horses, they're Clydesdales and not Shetlands. Maybe it's the wide powerband or perhaps that the five-speed automatic's ratios are closer and keep the engine on boil. But, whatever, this thing hauls. And it hurls, too. Not crazy about the look of it, although everyone who saw it seemed to be. "- Matt Stone
"Having the bed extender on the track so it can be moved back and forth is a great idea. However, being limited to removing it at 90-degree angles can prove awkward when loading the bed with cargo that's taller than the extender." - Danny King
|2004 Nissan Titan SE|
|Drivetrain layout||Front engine, 2WD|
|Engine type||90* V-8, aluminum block/heads|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|Displacement||338.8 cu in/5552 cc|
|Power (SAE net)||305 hp @ 4900 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||379 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|Weight to power||16.5 lb/hp|
|Axle/final-drive ratio||3.36:1 / 2.80:1|
|Suspension, front; rear||Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, leaf springs|
|Brakes, f;r||12.6-in vented disc; 12.6-in vented disc, ABS|
|Wheels, f;r||17 x 7.5 cast alum|
|Track, f/r||67.5 / 67.5 in|
|Length x width x height||224.2 x 78.8 x 75.1 in|
|Turning circle||46.0 ft|
|Curb weight||5019 lb|
|Weight dist, f/r||55 / 45 %|
|Payload capacity||1585 lb|
|Towing capacity||9400 lb|
|Headroom, f/r||41.0 / 40.4 in|
|Legroom, f/r||41.8 / 40.4 in|
|Shoulder room, f/r||65.1 / 64.6 in|
|Acceleration to mph|
|Quarter mile||15.6 sec @ 89.2 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||132 ft|
|600-ft slalom||57.4 mph avg|
|Lateral acceleration||0.72 g avg|
|Price as tested||$32,240|
|Stability/traction control||No / no|
|Basic warranty||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|Fuel capacity||28.0 gal|
|EPA city/hwy econ||14 / 19 mpg|
|MT fuel economy||15.1 mpg|
|Recommended fuel||Regular unleaded|
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How many miles will a 2004 Nissan Titan last? ›
The pickup also earns 95 out of 100 in quality and reliability, a score of 88 for resale value, and a 79 for driving experience. Many other experts suggest today's Nissan Titan models should last well beyond 200,000 miles with the proper maintenance and care.Does Nissan Titan have a good engine? ›
2023 Titan Engine
The 2023 Titan is available with one engine, which is a rarity in the pickup truck world. It's a pretty good one, though: a 5.6-liter V8 producing 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque.
Nissan Titan Reliability Rating Breakdown. The Nissan Titan Reliability Rating is 3.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 2nd out of 17 for fullsize trucks. The average annual repair cost is $555 which means it has lower than average ownership costs.How fast are Nissan Titans? ›
Equipped with this engine, the 2021 Nissan Titan Crew Cab takes 7 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill and achieves the quarter-mile in 21.1 seconds. Another engine available here is a 5.6-liter Premium Unleaded V-8 that makes 400 hp @ 5800 rpm and 413 lb. -ft. @ 4000 rpm.How many miles is a Nissan engine good for? ›
A Nissan car can put on a mileage range of 200,000 to 300,000 with proper care and maintenance.How long is a Nissan engine good for? ›
Most Nissan drivers report a lifespan of around 250,000 miles for their vehicles. Naturally, maintenance habits and driving history can push this number higher or lower. With excellent caretaking, your Nissan could easily last well beyond 300,000 miles.What years did Titans avoid? ›
Quick Answer: Avoid 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2016, and 2018 Nissan Titans. Nissan's first foray into full-size pickup trucks didn't go off without a hitch; in fact, it took them a few years to get things rolling.What's the best year for the Nissan Titan? ›
The best year for a used Nissan Titan is either 2007, 2009, 2017, 2019, or 2020. Newer vehicles tend to be more reliable than their older predecessors, and that's true for the Nissan Titan. However, occasional model years didn't live up to expectations—even though they're fairly new models.Is Nissan Titan better than Ram? ›
The 2022 Nissan Titan got a "Great" score of 85 out of 100 for Quality and Reliability3 from J.D. Power. Compare the Nissan Titan vs. Ram 1500, and you'll see that the 2022 Ram 1500 truck received an "Average" Quality and Reliability score of 80 out of 1004 from J.D. Power.Does Nissan Titan have transmission problems? ›
Titan Transmission Problem Causes
Our investigation into the common transmission problems with the Nissan Titan revealed a key insight. A radiator design flaw is the root of the Titan transmission failures, thus resulting in early transmission failure and overheating.
Do Nissan Titans hold their value? ›
The 2021 Nissan Titan is our top pick for the best model year value for the Titan. With the 2021, you would only pay, on average, 88% of the price as new, with 92% of the vehicle's useful life remaining. The 2022 and 2020 model years are also attractive years for the Titan, and provide a relatively good value.Is the Nissan Titan made by Dodge? ›
The Nissan Titan is a full-size pickup truck manufactured in the United States for the North American market by Nissan. It was named for the Titans of Greek mythology.Does Nissan Titan require premium gas? ›
The Nissan Titan is currently the only full-size truck that comes standard with a V-8 engine. Nissan tout's Titan's best in class power of 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, but here's the catch: only with premium fuel.Why did Nissan discontinue the Titan? ›
Perhaps anticipating low sales numbers, Nissan offered the Titan in just a handful of configurations, and though its standard V8 provided plenty of power, it wasn't suitable for all buyers. (The more expensive Titan XD also offered a pricey diesel engine for a few years.) Then there was pressure from the outside.Is a Nissan Titan a 1 2 ton truck? ›
Overview. In the world of pickups, there are two Titans. While the regular half-ton Titan, which we review separately, commands its own place in the full-size segment, the heavy-duty-ish Titan XD ups the payload and towing capacity.Is 200k miles too much for Nissan? ›
Although it may have been well maintained, the purchase of a vehicle with over 200,000 miles on the odometer might lead to significant maintenance costs. At this point, the car is likely nearing the end of its useful life, and you may soon need to either invest a significant sum in repairs or replace it entirely.Are Nissans good after 100000 miles? ›
They have all lasted well over 100,000 miles. The first car was running great when it was hit and totalled at about 135,000 miles. Its engine went into a race car. The second car was at about 185,000 miles when something went wrong with its engine computer and it would flood the engine when starting.How many miles is too many for a used Nissan? ›
Often, 100,000 miles is considered a cut-off point for used cars because older vehicles often start requiring more expensive and frequent maintenance when mileage exceeds 100,000.Do Nissans last as long as Toyotas? ›
When comparing Nissan vs Toyota's reliability, Toyota was ranked by Consumer Reports as the second most reliable out of all car brands for 2021. Nissan ranked a lot lower in sixteenth place. Toyota's are known to be very reliable, lasting their owners decades with few significant problems.How often should I replace my engine? ›
You can typically judge whether you need a new engine by the miles you've put on your car. On average, you can expect to get around 200,000 miles out of your vehicle.
When should you replace your engine? ›
- You've Been in An Accident.
- The Engine Block Is Cracked.
- The Engine Is Not Lubricated.
- The Engine Isn't Detonating Properly.
- The Engine Is Old and Worn Down.
In 2001, the Titans collapsed to a 7–9 record and missed the playoffs.What problems do the 2004 Nissan Titan have? ›
- Overheating/Lack of Ventilation May Cause Rear Axle Seals to Leak. ...
- Catalytic Converter Damage Due to Weak or Failing Fuel Pump. ...
- Corrosion due to water in connector between engine and wiring harness. ...
- Failing navigation unit may display disc error on screen.
Because it is impossible for anyone to surpass the Founder, each person who gained the power of the Titans was fated with the "Curse of Ymir" (ユミルの呪い Yumiru no Noroi?), which limited their remaining lifespan to only 13 years after first acquiring it.Is Titan or Tundra better? ›
Toyota Tundra comparison, the Nissan Titan has a more powerful engine and can tow more than the Tundra. The Nissan Titan is also backed by a better warranty than the Toyota truck. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped. Maximum towing of up to: • 9,310 lbs.Is Nissan Titan better than Toyota Tundra? ›
The Nissan Titan boasts a more powerful base engine than the Tundra, thanks to a big V-8 that churns out an impressive 400 horsepower. In the Tundra, the standard engine is a twin-turbocharged V-6 that puts out between 348 and 389 horsepower.What is the best year Nissan to buy? ›
Model years 2011 and 2012 are perhaps the best. Reliability is top-notch, and registered complaints are minimal. Nissan Altima's worst model years include 2002, 2003, 2009, and 2013-2015. From engine and powertrain failures to faulty electricals, these models are best avoided.Is a Nissan Titan bigger than a Ford f150? ›
Passengers in the extended cab will be able to stretch out a lot more with the Ford F-150 than the Nissan Titan. The Ford F-150 will be a favorite with tall drivers and their passengers, since it has much greater head- and legroom than the Nissan Titan.Do Nissan Titans use Cummins? ›
When you're towing up to 12,710 lbs., climbing a steep grade in oppressive heat, you'll be glad to have legendary Cummins® power and reliability under the hood.What is the most powerful Nissan Titan? ›
Where the Nissan Titan XD Hit the Mark. The Titan XD's standard 5.6-liter V8 puts out more power (400 hp) and torque (413 lb. -ft.) than any other base engine on the half-ton market and many optional power plants.
How do I know if my Nissan transmission is bad? ›
- Delayed Acceleration.
- Lurching and Jerking.
- Transmission Slipping.
- Shaking and Shuddering.
- Vehicle Hesitation or Stalling.
- Burning Smells.
- Coolant/Fluid Leaks.
- Transmission Overheating.
While this works well in theory, some Nissan applications have been problematic. Generally, the issues have been reported between 2012/2013 and 2018. There were some problems in 2003 when Nissan first began using this transmission and in the 2007-2012 CVT generation.Is there a recall on the Nissan Titan transmission? ›
2022 Nissan Titan Recall
Description of Recall: Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain 2020-2023 Titan, 2020-2022 Frontier, and 2023 Z vehicles. The transmission parking pawl may not engage when the vehicle is shifted into park, which can result in a vehicle rollaway.
In 2022, the franchise value amounted to around 3.5 billion U.S. dollars. The Tennessee Titans are owned by Kenneth Adams Jr., who bought the franchise in 1959.How many miles per gallon does a Nissan Titan truck get? ›
|EPA MPG||Owner MPG Estimates|
|2021 Nissan Titan 2WD 8 cyl, 5.6 L, Automatic (S9)|
|2021 Nissan Titan 4WD PRO-4X 8 cyl, 5.6 L, Automatic (S9)|
|Premium Gasoline||Not Available How can I share my MPG?|
|17 combined city/highway MPG 15 city 20 highway 5.9 gals/ 100 miles|
How Many Miles Per Gallon Does the 2022 Nissan Titan Get? The new Titan achieves an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city* and 21 mpg highway* if you use rear-wheel drive.Who makes Nissan 5.6 V8? ›
|Manufacturer||Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.|
TITAN large frame motors for heavy industry. By the time the TITAN® name was introduced to the marketplace in 1976, above-NEMA® frame motors under the U.S. MOTORS® brand had been manufactured for more than a decade… first in Los Angeles, CA, then in Prescott, AZ.Does the Nissan Titan have a Hemi engine? ›
5.7L HEMI® V8 with eTorque: 410 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque.What happens if you put super gas instead of premium? ›
You'll most likely notice the spark knock (a sort of high-pitched pinging or rattling noise). Luckily, the engine computers can adjust the timing to limit the amount of damage caused, but you'll definitely notice lower fuel economy and reduced performance in your vehicle.
What happens if you don't put premium gas in a premium car? ›
However, remember this: when a premium fuel engine runs on regular fuel, there's a risk of combustion of the fuel mix before the spark plug even lights up. This causes a phenomenon called knocking, which is likely to damage the engine.Should you always use premium gas? ›
If the car is designed for regular — or doesn't specifically say that the car requires premium gas — go with regular. There are no benefits to putting premium gas in a car that doesn't need it. Cars that require premium gas will typically specify the minimum octane rating necessary.Why is the Nissan Titan so expensive? ›
The Titan could be priced higher because the standard model delivers more power. It has a 5.6-liter V8 engine that cranks out 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. All of its competitors offer at least two different engine options. Configuring the Titan with four-wheel drive and the CrewCab takes it up to $46,475.Who makes Nissan Titan transmission? ›
The only Japanese part of the Nissan Titan is its nine-speed automatic gearbox. The company called on a long-time subsidiary, Fuji-based Jatco, to build the unit. Jatco is also one of the world's biggest suppliers of continuously variable transmission.Where are Nissan Titans made? ›
Production on the TITAN, as well as the other two F-Alpha platform vehicles, started in Canton, Mississippi, and continues there to this day.Where does Nissan Titan rank in trucks? ›
The 2023 Nissan Titan's #6 ranking is based on its score within the Full Size Pickup Trucks category.Which truck is bigger Titan or Frontier? ›
Both the 2021 Nissan Frontier and 2021 Nissan Titan are great Nissan trucks within their price range. Between the two, the Frontier has better fuel efficiency and horsepower. The Nissan Titan, on the other hand, is a larger truck with a much greater towing capacity.What is the difference between Titan SV and SL? ›
Enjoy standard leather seating with the Titan SL. Leather seating is only optional with the Titan SV. The Nissan Titan SV comes with silver metallic interior trim while the SL comes with premium open-pore wood-tone trim.How well do Nissan Titans hold their value? ›
The 2021 Nissan Titan is our top pick for the best model year value for the Titan. With the 2021, you would only pay, on average, 88% of the price as new, with 92% of the vehicle's useful life remaining. The 2022 and 2020 model years are also attractive years for the Titan, and provide a relatively good value.What is the mileage of a Nissan Titan? ›
|Vehicle||EPA Fuel Economy||Energy Impact Score|
|468 miles Total Range||16.5 barrels/yr|
|2022 Nissan Titan 4WD PRO4X 5.6 L, 8 cyl, Automatic (S9), Premium Gasoline|
|17 MPG 15 20 combined city/hwy city hwy 5.9 gal/100 mi||17.5 barrels/yr|
|442 miles Total Range|
What year Titans are good? ›
The 2009 model is a great starting point if you are searching for the most reliable Nissan Titan year. This model has capitalized on the powerful 5.6L Endurance V-8 engine and the smooth five-speed transmission. Start the engine, and you'll get the powerful urge to drive the truck and play off-road.Does Nissan or Toyota hold value better? ›
While these manufacturers can be comparable in terms of list price, Toyota vehicles simply retain value better than your average Nissan. That's important because your investment into a vehicle matters more if that vehicle will still have value after several years on the road.How to increase mpg on Nissan Titan? ›
- Drive Conservatively.
- Drive Steadily and Obey the Speed Limits.
- Avoid Idling Your Vehicle.
- Tire Inflation.
- Air Conditioner.
- Use Cruise Control.
- Choose the Right Fuel.
- Monitor Power Accessories.
A Nissan Titan will cost about $8,645 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular pickup models by $1,676. There is also a 25.58% chance that a Titan will require a major repair during that time.Are Nissan Titans good on fuel? ›
The Titan is estimated to earn up to 21 mpg on the highway, but while the rear-drive version is rated at 16 mpg in the city, the four-wheel-drive version gets 1 mpg less.How far can a Nissan Titan go on a tank of gas? ›
Fuel tank capacity: 26.0 gallons. Fuel type: regular unleaded. EPA mileage estimate (cty/hwy): 15/20mpg. Range in miles: 390/520 mi.