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2008 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE

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TRUCK REVIEW: Until recently, the Nissan Titan was your only option if you wanted a full-size, Japanese-brand truck. Now Nissan's Titan is no longer the only Japanese full-size truck for sale in America. It now competes with the Tundra, adding stress to its already difficult race with the American brands.

It was a great honeymoon for Nissan, giving the company plenty of publicity because it looked like the Land of the Rising Sun was mounting a direct attack on the Home of the Free and the Brave. It was the perfect story line.

Now the Tundra has entered the fight too, which could be catastrophic for the Titan for two reasons: One, the Tundra is a good truck, providing some tough competition for the aging Titan. And two, Nissan no longer gets the benefit of attention-getting headlines with Pearl Harbor overtones. All those story lines have shifted.

In any case it's fair to say the Titan hasn't been as successful as Nissan had hoped, and the Tundra doesn't make things easier. So then, how is Nissan responding? By adding two new versions.

One is the Long Wheelbase LWB, which, guess what? It has a longer wheelbase than the standard wheelbase Titan. That enables it to have an eight-foot-long bed, the longest in its class, along with a huge and needed, 37-gallon fuel tank.

The other new model is called the PRO-4X, which is designed for off-road driving. It has Rancho-brand shocks, a low gear ratio, extra skid plates and an electric locking rear differential. It also comes with a unique body style, white gauge faces, special interior treatment, and body-color exterior trim.

These two, very distinctive trucks are designed to send a clear message. Nissan wants the Titan to be remembered for both hard work, as in the LWB, and play, as in the PRO-4X.

The PRO-4X is fairly pricey, starting at an MSRP of $31,980. The LWB is available at a variety of price points starting at $24,800 with rear-wheel drive and topping out at $36,170 with four-wheel drive on a luxurious LE model.

Speaking of luxuries, Nissan is making several new optional features available this year, including a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, XM satellite radio, a heated leather bench seat, and a bigger, 8-inch DVD screen.

The Titan continues to have some interesting features, including some that other manufacturers have recently started copying. You can get a spray-on bedliner straight from the factory; rear doors on the King Cab that open nearly 180 degrees for easy entry; the bed has a nifty Utili-track tie-down system that keeps cargo secure; and it has a lockable bedside storage compartment. All those things add to the Titan's coolness factor.

Will the improvements be enough to keep the Titan relevant in an increasingly crowded full-size truck market? It's tough to say. It's still priced attractively, depending on how you equip it, but it's also facing a one-two punch from the impressive-but-very expensive Tundra and the pickup buyers' basic loyalty to all the American brands.

What was tested? The 2008 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE with a base price of $31,600. Options on the test truck: The Popular package with bench seats for $1,200, a full set of floor mats for $125, the under seat storage bins at $150, the tow package for $450, the SE high utility bed package at $950, and a sliding bed extender at $280. Total MSRP price as tested including the $745 destination charge: $35,500

Why avoid it? It's aging fast and has lost its status as the new kid on the block.

Why buy it? It still offers a lot of good features at a fair price, including some innovative things that are now being copied by other brands.

The Titan may have been first to the dance, but that doesn't guaranty a kiss at the end of the night.

By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Byline: TRUCK Review provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net

Nissan Home Page

Column Name: The Titan is not alone anymore

Topic: The 2008 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE

Word Count:  713

Photo Caption:  The 2008 Nissan Titan 4x4 SE

Photo Credits:  Nissan Titan Internet Media

Series #:  2008 - 35

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