2005 Nissan Titan SEPosted on August 5th, 2005
King of the Road
By Nina Russin
The Nissan Titan pickup is, as the name implies, a huge truck. With a standard 305-horsepower V8 engine and 9,500-pound maximum towing capacity, it’s an unabashed work horse. The 2005 models are basically carryover from 2004, with the addition of a couple new colors and safety features.
Chassis Engineered for Towing
The Titan’s standard 5.6-liter V8 engine has plenty of low end torque for accelerating into traffic and hauling loads. The engine comes mated to a five speed automatic transmission; a well-designed gate shift makes it easy to engage the low gears.
Fuel economy isn’t great, but that’s the price one pays for a truck weighing almost 5,000 pounds. The 28-gallon fuel tank gives the Titan decent range between fill-ups.
Extended side view mirrors that come as part of the towing package have a dual design that includes a wide-angle mirror on the bottom. The mirrors significantly enhance visibility to the sides and rear of the truck.
Driving the truck through rush-hour traffic in Phoenix, the mirrors made it much easier to see around blind spots. Since wide-angle mirrors make objects look further away than they actually are, it takes a little practice to get used to judging distances, especially when passing other vehicles.
An independent front and rigid rear suspension is standard. While four-wheel independent suspension provides a smoother ride, the rigid rear axle keeps the truck more stable when towing.
Power rack-and-pinion steering makes the Titan relatively nimble, considering its size. The side mirrors and audible back-up warning system make the truck easier to park, but don’t expect to maneuver the Titan into a particularly small or tight spot. Turning diameter is a tick over 45 feet.
An optional towing package increases towing capacity to 9,500 pounds. It includes a heavy duty battery, specially calibrated transmission, tow hitch and electrical connector. A traction package adds a limited-slip differential on two-wheel drive models, as well as front tow hooks.
Four Passenger King Cab
The test vehicle, a SE grade king cab, came with front bucket seats, and 60/40 split rear bench. The rear seat folds up to create a small cargo area in the back of the cab. The cloth upholstery was a blessing in the hot Phoenix summer: not only did it stay cooler, but it was easier to protect from sweat stains after a day on the trails.
The power-adjustable driver’s seat has good lower back support. Optional adjustable pedals and a tilt steering wheel make it easy for drivers of different sizes to feel comfortable. Redundant audio and cruise control functions on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
A triad of analog gauges display speed, tachometer, engine temperature, oil pressure and other vital functions. Audio and HVAC controls in a center stack are easy to figure out and reach for both the driver and front passenger.
The optional Rockford Fosgate audio system with six-CD changer has excellent sound quality. Available XM satellite radio, while expensive, may be worthwhile for drivers who have long commutes.
Nissan did a great job of designing in bins and cubbies around the front passengers, including two small shelves on the right and left sides of the dash, and a slightly larger center bin, all with rubber mats so the items don’t slide around.
Dual-compartment map pockets in the front doors have molded-in bottle holders. The glove box is large and deep enough to hold a bunch of manuals, some spare fuses, and other essentials. Visor extenders keep the shield the driver and front passenger from direct sun at dawn and dusk.
An optional auto-dimming rearview mirror is part of the SE popular package, that also includes the adjustable pedals, rear backup warning system, upgraded audio and steering wheel controls. The option also adds an overhead compass and temperature display and three storage bins, ideal for garage door openers and sunglasses.
While the second-row seats have three-point safety belt harnesses in three seating positions, the relative lack of legroom would make seating three adults across very uncomfortable. The two outboard positions come with headrests and child seat tethers. On the king car, the rear doors are hinged at the back and open “suicide style.” A special design allows the doors to open 180 degrees for easier access.
A Cargo Bed That Holds More than Plywood
The cargo bed has a factory-applied bedliner that keeps the bed from getting scratched or rusting. Two cargo tracks in the floor and tie-down hooks on the side make it easy to tie items down. The cleats that tie into the cargo rails are rated at 200 pounds, and can be removed to hose out the bed.
Slide-in channgel caps keep dirt out of the cargo rails when they’re not in use. Nissan has a variety of cargo racks, trays, and bed dividers, including bike and kayak carriers, available as dealer-installed options.
The test vehicle came with the a bed utility package that included a 12-volt outlet and lighting in the cargo bed. A sliding bed extender (also optional), adds a couple of feet to the cargo floor.
There is also a small, lockable storage compartment behind the rear wheel on the driver’s side: handy for stashing valuables at the trailhead, a first aid kit, chains, ropes or other essentials. The ignition key opens the storage compartment.
All Titan pickup trucks come with standard front and side, and side curtain airbags, as well as antilock brakes. The 2005 models also feature active headrest restraints for the driver and front passenger, that reduce the probability of whiplash in a rear-impact collision.
Available Four-Wheel Drive
The Titan pickup is available in either two-wheel (tested) or four-wheel drive configurations. There are three trim levels, beginning with the XE base model priced from $22,950.
Four-wheel drive models have a shift-on-the-fly feature for engaging the lower gears. An available off-road package includes special axles, locking rear differential, off-road shocks and tires, skid plates and fog lights.
The Nissan Titan pickups are currently available for test drives at area dealerships.
Base price: $22,950
Price as tested: $29,810
Horsepower: 305 @ 4,900 r.p.m.
Torque: 379 lbs.-ft. @ 3,600 r.p.m.
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: No
Fuel economy: 14/19 m.p.g. city/highway
Comments: Price as tested includes $670 destination charge.
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