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Roadfly Long Term Road Tests

Cargo floor and interior storage in Nissan Titan proves very useful

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Laura Burkholder

Nissan Titan cargo floor storage area

Nissan Titan cargo floor interior storage cargo area

The back seats or cargo area, depending on your preference, comes with a few surprises.

First to the standard aspects, the seats come up with the ease of a handle and the mats are removable for easy cleaning. However, you don’t need to worry about calling shotgun in this car because the seating does not wedge you in the back of the car; the Nissan Titan actually gives you ample leg space for a truck. The rear seating is split bench style seating so if you have three passengers and luggage on a rainy day, you won’t have to worry about your luggage getting soaked in the bed of the truck since you can fold the rear seat in sections.

Usually, trucks are advertised as manly, built tough, and used for hauling lumber and tools, not groceries. This time, Nissan did not forget the women. The feature that had me excited was the hooks on the bottom of the seat that become accessible when the seats are folded for full cargo floor access. The hooks are designed to hold bags upright and in place during travel, something that I greatly appreciate after coming home from a trip to the grocery store only to find that my purchases are all over my car and nothing is left in a bag. This simple idea will surely be a hit. Convenience to help make a trip to the store as non-stressful as it is meant to be.

October 2, 2006 , 11:57 am |

Nissan Titan’s Fold Flat Front Passenger Seat

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Ross Rapoport

One of the full-size truck market’s most reliable customers is the contractor – that guy who practically lives in his truck, carrying a mix of business and personal items (tools and toys), and often a variety of people. The contractor demographic helped make the four-door pickup a household item, and as contractors grew more affluent during the American construction boom, amenities and creature comforts began to appear in their trucks that had previously only been available to luxury-car buyers.

The driver’s seat of a contractor’s truck is often his office chair. From this post, he commandeers projects, makes phone calls, and writes all manner of communiqués. The passenger seat then becomes his desk, albeit a soft and uneven one. Not so in the Nissan Titan. The Titan’s passenger seatback folds down completely flat with the pull of a handle, and offers the driver a completely flat, hard surface resembling the tray table on a passenger jet. Since it’s set into the back of a car seat, it’s obviously much sturdier.

The seatback is perfectly positioned for the driver to write on and show the workers standing on the passenger side exactly what he means. We’ve remarked before about little things making a big difference in reference to this truck, and it holds true here as well. This is one of the most butt-kicking features we have ever seen, and Nissan deserves credit for executing it in a most convenient fashion.

Flat Folding Front Seat

Nissan Titan Front Passenger Seat

Contractor Work Space Front Seat

Nissan Truck Front Passenger Seat

September 25, 2006 , 2:14 pm |

Sporty Steering Wheel in the Titan

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Ross Rapoport

In keeping with the theme of little things making big differences, we feel that our long-term Nissan Titan deserves praise for its steering wheel. Why does a truck need a cool steering wheel, you ask? Well, grip the Titan’s wheel and find out for yourself. It’s thick all-around, and has those nifty bumps at ten’o’clock and two’o’clock, usually a hallmark of serious sports cars. Apparently the folks at Mazda aren’t the only ones capable of injecting sporting DNA into every vehicle they build.

The sportiness of the wheel is in keeping with the character of the Titan, with the floor-mounted shifter contrasting with the schoolbus-style steering-column mounts of some trucks and SUVs. Even for some of our more diminutive writers, getting comfortable in the Titan is a snap. The armrest is perfectly positioned to allow you to rest your elbow on it while holding the shift knob. Although holding the shifter is mostly a formality with an automatic transmission, it is a familiar ergonomic touch for those of us who are more inclined towards sports cars with manual gearboxes. Nissan surely realizes that a good number of the Titan’s buyers will be speed demons looking for a tow vehicle for one of their money pits. So, hats off to Nissan for making us – er, those crazy guys comfortable behind the wheel of their truck.

Thick Sporty Nissan Titan Steering Wheel

September 21, 2006 , 1:57 pm |

The Nissan Titan’s Side View Mirrors Increase Visibility

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Ross Rapoport

Given the superlative terms we heaped on our long-term Nissan Titan’s liftgate mechanism, we hesitated to use another “best-on-the-market” line for fear of lessening the effect. But the Titan is really just that good, and is a rolling example of all those proverbs about little things making a big difference.

The side view mirrors on the Titan are without a doubt the best on the full-size truck market. The standard mirror for every Titan is a huge, box-shaped regular mirror, accompanied by a rectangular convex mirror on the bottom. The top portions are power-adjustable, and the convex mirror is just poke-adjustable. That’s fine with us, since it offers the driver such a wide field of vision that you may never need to adjust it at all.

The only mirror that really compares to the Titan’s is found on the Ford F Series trucks. For trucks that you can fit into a standard garage, the Titan is “king of visibility.”

Nissan Titan Side View Mirror

September 15, 2006 , 4:26 pm |

Tight Turning Titan is Tops

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Max Farrow

When you’re talking trucks, the figures and stats that normally would get your heart racing-slalom times, cornering forces, etc.–suddenly become less important, compared to numbers that car-guys generally consider mundane. Turning Radius, for example. A low-slung, Italianate exotic with nine-inch-wide wheels isn’t going to have the tightest turning radius, but that’s not going to keep the lottery winners out of the dealership, either. But on an everyday-use pickup, little things like the turning radius become very important indeed. It’s one thing to have to make a 53-point turn on that rare occasion when you’re out in your Lamborghini; it’s entirely another when that same contortionism is required every time you head to the hardware store.

We’re handily impressed with the turning radius on our long-term Nissan Titan. For a full-size truck, this thing seems as light on its feet as a ballet dancer; easy to slot into even the narrowest of alleys or parking spots with a minimum of back-and-forth fuss. We have yet to run the numbers, but we’d be willing to bet that the Titan’s turning circle is the shortest out of any competitor on the market today. We’ve driven them all, of course, and our seat-of-the-pants impression is that Nissan has them all beat. It makes driving the Titan just that much easier.

September 3, 2006 , 10:16 am |

Nissan’s tailgate Dampening Assist is a winner – drop your tailgate.

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Ross Rapoport

After spending lots of quality time with our 2006 Nissan Titan long-term tester, we’re prepared to say that from the C-pillars back, it’s currently the most innovative full-size truck on the market this side of a Chevy Avalanche.

In addition to the unique Utili-track system in the bed, which makes tying down motorcycles a snap, the tailgate is just the best we’ve ever seen. It’s lockable, and can be opened with one hand, both commendable attributes. But the clincher is what Nissan calls “dampening assist” – basically a spring-loaded mechanism that eases the tailgate down without drama, regardless of how hard you drop it. So if your hand slips, or is just too weak to handle the tailgate on a full-size truck like this, have no fear. Dropping the gate on any other truck ensures a loud bang and startled bystanders, but the Nissan Titan produces only a slight hissing noise – and inevitably, double takes from your buddies.

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August 26, 2006 , 10:41 am |

The Titan’s Sirius satellite antenna is nicely hidden

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Ross Rapoport

One other thing we feel compelled to mention about our Titan test truck is the common-sense approach Nissan has taken on the issue of satellite radio. Most manufacturers have elected to plop strangely-shaped, body-colored antennae on the roofs of their cars. However, the Titan’s Sirius antenna is located inside the car, tucked in next to the rear-view mirror’s mount on the windshield where a parking-garage transmitter or SmartTag might go. It’s still a big ugly box, but it’s the best solution that we’ve seen to this aesthetic issue. Hats off to Nissan for addressing what is admittedly a strictly aesthetic, car-guy nit-pick.

Nissan Titan's Sirius Satellite Antenna

August 25, 2006 , 4:11 pm |

Utili-Track System provides a ton of utility.

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Alan Riley

One of the features of our Nissan Titan that we have found to be unexpectedly useful is the Utili-track bed system. With a name like Utili-track, you might think that this is simply one of a long list of features attached to the window sticker of a truck by some marketing type.

Wrong. The Utili-track bed system is something we wish would be on every truck. It is a sliding rail system accomodating a variety of OEM and aftermarket accessories which can lock into the four lengthwise rails and one horizontal rail. Rather than having to stretch bungee cords to the far corners of the truck to tie something down, we can just slide the Titan’s adjustable cleats to where we need them, lock them down, and have a secure tie down in minutes.

Even better are the plethora of items which have been made to work with this system. From bicycle fork mounts to sliding floor trays to toolboxes to motorcycle wheel chocks to bed extenders, the myriad of possibilities for the Utili-track system continue to impress us.




August 15, 2006 , 2:57 pm |

Welcome the 2006 Nissan Titan Crew Cab to the fleet.

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Charlie Romero

Nissan is a gutsy brand, overall–willing to take chances that other automakers would have rejected as too risky within the first committee meeting. Look at the 350Z, the Spec-V sedans, or even the alternatively-styled Quest minivan. We credit this audacious attitude with starting the V6 horsepower wars in the midsize sedan class–which we’re all reaping the benefits of, now. Remember, it was the Altima’s 240-horse 3.5-liter that started it all, forcing Honda, Mazda, and even staid Toyota to follow suit by stuffing muscular sixes into their previously bland bread-and-butter cars, just to compete.

Nissan showed the same sort of cojones when they brought the Titan to market. The last bastion of “Big-3”-style Detroit domination, the full-size truck market had been looked upon by pretty much everybody as domestic-only territory. Toyota had made a half-hearted effort earlier, but wasn’t having much success. The conventional wisdom held that nobody here would buy a “real” truck built by foreigners, and that the Japanese didn’t have the experience in the field anyway.

Nissan solved that first problem by building the Titan in Canton Mississippi, with American labor. And the second problem? They licked that one by building one heck of a truck.

Faithful readers will recall our previous encounters with the Nissan Titan. We gave it the usual once-over back in 2004, and found it impressively competent. Then, several months back, we flogged several 4×4 Titans through one of the most challenging off-road courses in the country, and came away doubly impressed with its capabilities. Now, we’ve added a 2006 Nissan Titan SE 4×4 Crew Cab to our long-term fleet, to see how it handles the really rough stuff–living with us. As seriously discerning automotive experts, we’ll be putting this puppy through its paces, and reporting back to you on it all.

Follow this link to read the full review of the 2006 Nissan Titan.

Nissan Titan Crew Cab 4X4 SE Truck

August 14, 2006 , 9:17 am |

Long-Term 2006 Nissan Titan SE 4×4 Crew Cab: Initial Report

Filed under: 2006 Nissan Titan,4x4s/Off-roaders,Long Term Road Tests,Nissan,Trucks/Pickups
Written by Charlie Romero

We’ve spent the last few days reacquainting ourselves with the full-size Nissan Titan pickup that recently joined the Roadfly long-term fleet. At-first-glance impressions and technical specs are covered elsewhere on this site, so we won’t spend much time on them here. Instead, we’re approaching this as sort of an “open ownership experience,” as if we’ve actually just plunked $37,440 down at a dealership for a Titan of our own. The “open” part relates to our overarching goal as journalists–bringing the truth to our readers. As we go about our year as proto-Titan-owners, we’ll be updating you on every detail, every observation (good or bad), and of course, any expenses, problems and so on that pop up.

{mosimage}What we’ve got here is an SE model, which sits squarely in the middle of the Titan line. Shared with all Titans–as well as the Pathfinder Armada and Infiniti QX56–is the excellent 5.6-liter DOHC V8, rated at 305 horsepower and 379 lb.-ft. of torque. This powerplant is gutsy enough to get all 5,300 lbs. of Nissan to 60 mph in a sports-car-like 7.2 seconds, according to our stopwatch.

That kind of acceleration puts the Titan ahead of the average for the class; fuel economy is less stellar. EPA ratings of 14/18 mpg city/highway deem the Titan less frugal the competing pickups from Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota–so long as you’re looking at the base-model V8s. Power-up the competition’s trucks, and the average EPA-rated mileage goes down as displacement increases. Observant readers will recall that our actual mileage never even comes close to the EPA estimates, however–we’re looking forward to seeing how the Titan truly performs, economically as well as athletically, through the coming year.

Already obvious is the smooth and confident character of this “Endurance” engine. 90 percent of the class-leading 379 lb.-ft. of torque are available at a subterranean 2500 rpm, which imparts a sense of swiftness unusual in such a sizeable vehicle. Also unexpected is the precision of the throttle feel; perfect modulation is so easy to attain that it’s already become second nature. A sturdy 5-speed automatic is paired to this powerhouse, and the t work together as if they’ve been a team for years. A “Tow/Haul” mode holds each gear deep into the rev range, making the most of the already prodigious pulling power.

Trucks in this class are pretty much as tough as civilian/non-commercial vehicles get, and so far we’ve seen no reason to doubt the Titan’s resilience. Memories of climbing near-sheer dirt cliffs and conquering cavernous chasms at the Nissan Off-Road Experience, along with recollections of the hard-core hardware gracing every four-by-four Titan that we learned about there, have endowed us with great confidence in the Titan’s ruggedness. Still, we’ve been surprised before by seemingly-strong vehicles falling apart under pressure, so to speak–especially when project-car parts runs, or kids, are involved.

One feature we expect to come in handy often is the damped ‘easy-gate.’ Lifting the Nissan’s tailgate is no longer a two-hand (or bicep-straining one-hand) proposition, thanks to the assist mechanism. We’ve also already had occasion to use the “Utilitrak” bed-rail tie-down system, when hauling XXX (CHARLIE?)–and found it to be as useful as it is intuitive.

As car guys, we’ve got more than our share of “project cars” taking up space in our varied garages, driveways and yards–much to the chagrin of certain family members and significant others. Conveniently, our Titan can tow up to 9,400 pounds–an ability we’re sure to take advantage of (in the interests of objective assessment, of course) often. We also anticipate activating the shift-on-the-fly, part-time four-wheel-drive system, as opportunities to play in the mud (again, for purely scientific reasons) arise.

Yup, we’ll be using this truck hard–just as God intended.

Still, we’re certain to log plenty of serene freeway miles and countless commuting hours in this Nissan, and for every report on its performance in extreme conditions, expect equally exhaustive accounts of the Titan’s day-to-day drivability. Our offhand observations are optimistic–we’re as satisfied so far with the sharp handling as we are with this truck’s overall speediness. Nissan’s sporty heritage shows through here; the Titan takes on corners with skill and self-assurance. Rolling stock consists of 265/70-series rubber on 18-inch alloys; they offer great grip on asphalt without sacrificing off-road control. At the risk of professional ridicule, we’d go so far as to dub the Titan’s driving dynamics best-in-class right now–no matter how premature that presumption may appear. (We’ve been accused of being premature in other areas–several, in fact–but those allegations, we can handle.)

Of course, the one aspect any automobile owner interacts with more than any other is the interior. No matter how well the Titan drives, hauls, or holds up, we couldn’t recommend it if it didn’t have a comfortable cockpit. Fortunately, this Nissan is as capacious inside as out, with vast expanses of stretching room for every appendage. Captain’s chairs up front are soothing and supportive, while the rear bench has sufficient space to sit three–and the fact that every seat but the driver’s folds down hints at Nissan’s efforts to match the Titan’s volume with versatility. Step-in height, at 22 inches, is steep for some, but grab-bars at every exit aid ingress as well as passenger stability in high-speed maneuvers.

In our inaugural hours with the Titan, we have had occasion to haul a brood or two of editor’s offspring around–and have thus already found reason to appreciate the overhead DVD player. We’re also already grateful for the six cupholders and two oversize bottle-holders. And perhaps most of all, we’re thankful for the Titan’s top-line stereo system–a 350-watt Rockford Fosgate unit with Sirius Satellite radio and a six-disc CD changer. Solo excursions have allowed us to assess this unit’s upper limits; audio quality and tonal reproduction are excellent to the edge of ear-exploding raucousness. Lamentably, our SE lacks Nissan’s navigation system, along with the available XM NavTraffic. Otherwise, it seems unlikely that we’ll experience much disappointment with the Titan’s high-tech apparatus.

Another aspect that we probably won’t have much to say about in upcoming accounts–knock on wood–is safety. Nissan provided plenty of peace-of-mind for Titan pilots, though, starting with fully-boxed frame rails, “Zone Body Construction” with crumple zones front and rear, and side-impact protection. Electronics run to rollover protection, tire-pressure monitoring, and four-channel ABS, which work with the four-wheel discs to provide superb stopping power. Airbags in the front, side and curtain (optional) areas cushion the blow should an accident occur anyway, and up-front seatbelts feature pretensioners, too.

A lot can happen over the course of a year (and at the Roadfly offices, it often does). Our preliminary experiences with the Nissan Titan have left a agreeable taste in our collective mouths–but first impressions don’t always tell the whole story. There’s much left to discover about this truck, and a year’s time will reveal just about all there is to know, good and bad. The fact that it’s been predominantly positive so far is no guarantee over the long haul, of course. We can only hope the Titan continues to perform up to par. For Nissan’s sake, as well as our own.

Vehicle Stats

Base Price: $31,100
Price As Tested: $37,440
Date Available: On sale since Dec. 2003
Body Style: 4 Door Crew Cab
Engine & Torque: 5.6L DOHC 32-Valve Endurance V8 – 305-hp/379 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ Tow/Haul Mode, 4X4
Wheels & Tires: P265/70R18 on 18″x8″ Alloy Wheels (plus full size spare)
Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles
Towing Capacity: 9400-lb towing capacity
Fuel Economy: 14/18
0 – 60 MPH: 7.2 sec
Top Speed: n/a

July 16, 2006 , 3:22 pm |