Big Looks & Engine: 2007 Nissan Titan Review

Nissan's Light Pick-up Truck

Mar. 01, 2007 By Katrina Ramser
Sharing the same all-steel F-Alpha platform as the Armada and the Infiniti QX56, the full-size Nissan Titan pickup truck story began three years ago as a way for the company to round out its lineup. The truck’s premise is that it’s a small producer, a dark horse if you will, not currently expected and therefore excused from trying to outsell a Ford or GM. For now, that is.
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The 2007 Nissan Titan SE Crew Cab. Photo ORC

Nissan modestly sites minor improvements for the 2007 model, but increasing the horsepower for an engine can be a big deal – especially when it’s numbers creep close to a HEMI. For the 2007 Titan, the 305-horsepower engine shot up to a 317-horsepower with 385 lb-ft of torque from its previous 379 lb-ft of torque. Also, the Titan becomes a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV), allowing drivers to use gasoline alternatives like E85, an ethanol/gasoline mix.

ORC tested a 2007 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE Crew Cab with the 5.6-liter V8 engine, equipped with the Off-Road Package, Utility Bed Package, Tow Package, and the DVD Mobile Theatre System, among other options and pluses.

A One-Man Show
The Titan has one engine option, the standard 5.6-liter DOHC V8. Nissan is marketing this engine as a tower: Up to 9,500 lbs with the King Cab and 9,400 with the Crew Cab (when properly equipped), as much as some 3/4-ton pickups. It has a payload capacity of up to 1,587 lbs with the King Cab and 1,529 lbs with the Crew Cab (when properly equipped).

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An impressive off-road package includes shift-on-the-fly 4WD system and an electronically controlled locking rear diff. Photo ORC

The standard mechanical equipment on the model I drove had a 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and tow/haul modes for enhanced fuel economy and towing capacity; a solid rear Dana axle with a multi-leaf spring suspension; 4-wheel limited slip Bosch® anti-lock disc braking system with EBD; and a 28-gallon fuel tank. The shift-on-the-fly 4WD system and off-road package included a 2-speed transfer case with 4H and 4Lo; a switch-on-demand electronically controlled locking rear differential; 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and BF Goodrich® 285/70R17 tires; fog lights; skid plates for the lower radiator, transfer case, oil pan and fuel tank; and Rancho® performance gas shocks.

With a slight aerodynamic tilt to its shape, it looks like a fast, big truck, which it most certainly is. It has exceptional acceleration. It has responsive handling and a sturdy frame feel, most likely due to its all-steel double wishbone front suspension design and the multi-leaf spring suspension. Shackles are mounted along the frame sides to increase departure angle.

But I do find the standard power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering a little stiff.  Also, in contrast to the full-sized pickup truck competition, there are no other engine options – no V6, no diesel. No regular cab or extended cargo bed options as well.

It Super-Sized Me
The Titan is offered in three models: XE, SE and LE, with 2WD or 4WD and with the King Cab or Crew Cab. And that’s the whole story on Titan trims.

The truck has been criticized for its limited body trims. But it makes up for it by boasting the largest interior of any half-ton truck. Everything is huge – huge dashboard, huge seats, and a huge wheel. The Titan is a big boy, so if you are a big boy, you’re going to feel comfortable. I’m not a big boy. So I feel a bit overwhelmed and insecure in the driver’s seat, although I do appreciate the excellent visibility due to the low-scooped hood shape and enormous windshield. I think can appreciate the roominess more as a passenger – especially as a backseat passenger enjoying the DVD Mobile Theatre System with the power window open behind me.

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The Titan with its large center console and a gated floor shifter. Photo ORC

The Titan SE I drove has the optional SE Popular Package. It is equipped with dual Captain Chairs and a large center console with a gated floor shifter; steering wheel audio controls; temperature reading at the rearview mirror; and proximity sensors. This package includes the Rockford Fosgate-powered audio system. Titan LE and SE models can also upgrade to a Chrome Package that share 18” chrome wheels and chrome step rails. The SE offers a utility bed option with the Chrome Package and the LE models add an available “Texas Titan” Package. The Crew Cab SE model offers an available sunroof. The LE model offers an available Navigation Package with DVD-based navigation system.

The large center console in my Titan SE has very modern storage attributes. It can hold a variety of beverage containers, hanging file folders or magazines, and has specific holders for maps, paper, pens and business cards on the console lid. It’s also size adjustable by removing or adding dividers. The storage box has a 12-volt adapter and can be used as a power source for a phone or other electronic devices.

Even though I am really impressed with the functional center console, I sort of wish the Titan SE I drove had the other interior configuration – the one with a standard bench seat and column shifter, which seats six passengers as opposed to five because of the console. I would give up all the wonderfully sized holders because the gated floor shifter is annoying to work and I find the Captain’s Chair too stiff.

Also, the vehicle I tested is a Crew Cab, and I wish it wasn’t. The Crew Cab doors are especially bulky on this truck. The Titan King Cab doors have that useful 168-degree extension. Not quite the widest, as the Sierra/Silverado can claim a 170-degree opening. But what’s another 2 degrees – it’s offering the same thing and Nissan says it’s the first in its class to come up with such a concept. Compromising on cab space for convenience is worth it in my book.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
The Titan is a costly vehicle, so weigh your options before you place your bet. I have mixed opinions about what you get for the upgrade packages. What I drove has a sticker price of $31,550, but was beefed up to $38,755 with the options (sans leather seats). For example, the DVD system is a punch to the gut at $1,450, as is the sound system with all its miniscule (and cheaply made) bells and whistles at $1,850. And how and why are the floor mats $120 dollars? You’d have to skip the entertainment systems to match the $35,635 GMC Sierra with the same configurations (plus leather seats, plus a decent stereo package).

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Right now the Titan is a dark horse waiting for its day to compete with a Dodge or GMC -- which will be somewhere in 2009. Photo ORC

However, on the upside of the Titan packages, the SE Utility Bed Package is worth the $950. It includes a factory-applied spray-on bedliner, a complex tie-down cleat system, and an innovative bedside storage compartment located behind the rear driver’s side wheel designed to hold work gloves, chains, rope, road flares, first aid kit or a hitch ball. The Off-Road Package costs $1,150 and does have an impressive and convenient shift-on-the-fly 4WD system, including the 4-wheel Bosch® ABLS and the on-demand electronically controlled locking rear differential.

I’ve sat in plenty of half-ton pickups with the same dimensions of the Nissan Titan and not felt swallowed up. I was overwhelmed by this vehicle, which made me feel personally disappointed because I love the Titan’s looks. But oversized is good news to most pickup truck consumers. Titan’s Crew Cab interior is extremely spacious with 126 cubic feet and also 41.8” of front and 40.4” of rear seat legroom.

Regardless of batting around size and price comparisons, the Nissan Titan is a beastly racehorse needing to break out of its master’s limitations. Does Nissan plan to step up the competition? According to the Wall Street Journal, Nissan is creating a heavy-duty version of the Titan to compete with the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Heavy Duty trucks and the Dodge Ram 2500-3500 pickup trucks. Expected release date is in late 2009. The Nissan Titan remains a dark horse waiting for it’s day at the track or off-road. Newsletter
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