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New Truck Review: 2004 Nissan Titan King Cab

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MODEL: Nissan Titan King Cab
ENGINE: 5.6-liter DOHC V8
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 305 hp @ 4,900 rpm/379 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
WHEELBASE: 139.8 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 224.2 x 78.8 x 75.0 in.

A lot of times manufacturers tend to get carried away in the naming of their vehicles. "Super Cab" and "Power" this and that sometimes are misnomers for a slightly larger cab with a V6 engine. An underpowered V6 at that.

But the Nissan Titan King Cab is a Titan. And the cab is King Size. A glance at the numbers will prove that Nissan's name department got it right with this one.

The Titan King Cab is built on a 139.8-inch wheelbase. Now most vehicles these days have wheelbases in the 100-110-inch range. Granted I'm talking about cars and minivans here, but trucks usually aren't that much bigger. This wheelbase is nearly 12 feet long.

On top of that, there's a full four-door cab, with excellent leg room for the rear passengers. Many four-door truck cabs put all their energy into offering four doors and don't have anything behind them. The Titan has room for three adults in the rear seat, and three adults in the front seat as well if you fold the multi-function armrest into "seat back" position.

Behind the cab is a truck bed that's 6 feet, 7 inches long. We're not talking one of those shorty beds here, this is a full-size bed.

All that stuff above the wheels leads to an overall length of 224.2 inches, that's nearly 19 feet long. And here's my biggest problem with the Titan King Cab. It's too long. I had some difficulty driving it in parking lots and great difficulty putting the Titan into parking spaces. Normally shopping mall parking spaces are easy to park in, but the Titan has a large turning radius, which made for tough parking even in malls. Parallel parking was equally difficult.

Now you must realize that I only drove the Titan for a week and most of the time I parked it in my driveway, which was a pull-in, back-out deal. If I OWNED the Titan and had to drive it continually, I'd learn how to park it. My son-in-law owns a vehicle that is bigger than the Titan and he can park it with ease.

Powering the Titan King Cab is a 5.6-liter double overhead cam V8 that is rated at 305 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque. Even though the Titan weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, the engine has enough oomph to do its job well. Fuel economy isn't great - 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway - but for the size of the vehicle it isn't too bad. What hurt was filling the 28-gallon fuel tank.

Our tester was equipped with the optional Big Tow package ($850) that included a Class IV hitch with wiring harness, extendable tow mirrors, heavy duty battery, lower final axle ratio, transmission temperature gauge and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The mirrors were novel and required some learning. They were dual mirrors to begin with. The "uppers" were the normal square-shaped truck mirrors, with a convex mirror on the right side. The "lowers," however, were highly convex rectangular mirrors that gave a good view of what was on the side of the truck. Having towed trailers, I think these mirrors would be a great asset in a towing situation.

I recall attending a new product demonstration for another truck manufacturer who explained why fully boxed frame rails offer a stiffer chassis and a better ride. The Titan King Cab has fully boxed frame rails. This means that there are steel box-shaped rails running the length of the vehicle rather than C-shaped rails.

Another option on the Titan was the Utility Bed Package ($900). This offered a Utili-track Channel System with four adjustable tie-down cleats, a factory-approved spray-in bedliner, 12V outlet in the driver's side lockbox and tailgate area illumination. The channel system does break up the flat floor of the bed, but the adjustable tie-down cleats more than make up for the lack of a flat floor. With the cleats and rope or bungee cord, you can tie down almost anything in the bed.

Other options on the Titan King Cab included a Popular Package ($900) with an AM-FM-CD and a 6-disc in-dash changer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, the split front bench seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside temperature display, Homelink universal transceiver, power adjustable pedals and an extended overhead center console.

The Off-Road package ($950) adds 17-inch wheels, Rancho shocks, a lower final axle ratio, fog lamps, tow hooks and skid plates.

Overall, the Nissan Titan King Cab carries a $30,300 bottom line with all the options, based on a $26,700 base price.

Do you remember when Nissan (and Datsun) only made small pickup trucks that you probably could carry in the bed of this one? This is significantly larger and puts Nissan right in the middle of the full-size pickup market.

2004 The Auto Page Syndicate