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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
That it lacks...a V6 engine shouldn't matter much to the mainstream, truck-buying consumer
A welcome addition is the Titan's ability to run on either gasoline or E85
Kelley Blue Book
The five-speed automatic lags a bit in kick-down response, and its shifts are on the slow side
Relatively easy to drive and nimble
Equipped with only a V-8 mated to a five-speed automatic, the 2008 Nissan Titan is plenty powerful, and its suspension and steering make it fun to drive, though with a hefty fuel cost.
Edmunds reports the 2008 Nissan Titan V-8 is "rated at 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque." They say it is "tractable" and "delivers plenty of muscle, right from idle [and] it sounds great, too." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com echo the same sentiments. ConsumerGuide writes that the "smooth, powerful V8 puts Titan among [the] quickest large trucks off the line...[and] passing punch is ample." Cars.com notes the ability to run on E85 is a "no-charge option." Powering either two or four wheels through the standard automatic, the engine allows the Nissan Titan to tow 9,500 pounds or 9,400 pounds on the Crew Cab model, according to Edmunds.
ConsumerGuide finds that the "transmission upshifts smoothly and downshifts promptly. The column-mounted transmission [on certain trims]...cleverly integrates a toggle control for manual shifting." Kelley Blue Book also thinks the transmission shifts "smoothly" and says their test 2008 Nissan Titan was equipped with a "gated shifter [that] made it easy to move...gears whenever we needed to apply engine braking." Cars.com feels differently about the Nissan 2008 Titan transmission: "The five-speed automatic lags a bit in kick-down response, and its shifts are on the slow side."
Advanced four-wheel-drive systems have earned a good reputation for Nissan; 2008 Titans so equipped "employ a part-time transfer case with separate high and low gears...which switched seamlessly from one setting to the next," states Cars.com.
Car and Driver reports that the new long-wheelbase Titan is equipped with a "super-tanker gas tank...at 37 gallons." That's good, considering the Nissan Titan's lowly fuel economy. According to fueleconomy.gov, 2008 Nissan Titan 2WDs achieve 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway on gasoline, 9/13 mpg on E85; 2008 Nissan Titan 4WDs achieve 12/17 mpg on gasoline and 9/12 mpg on E85. ConsumerGuide tests averaged (in a Nissan Titan 4WD) "12.1 mpg in all-city driving and 14.2-14.5 in [mixed] use." The Titan uses regular-grade gas.
For a big, heavy pickup, the Nissan Titan handles like a smaller vehicle. Edmunds notes that the "2008 Nissan Titan's precise, linear steering and nicely weighted effort make the truck relatively nimble and easy to drive quickly on pavement. However, a stiff ride quality (especially on Pro-4X models) can make the Titan feel skittish in off-road situations." ConsumerGuide says "the rear end tends to hop through bumpy corners when the cargo bed is empty [but] steering feel is accurate and the brakes deliver drama-free stops." Four-wheel-drive Nissan Titans with the off-road package enjoy best-in-class ground clearance "with over 10 inches measured at the rear axle," observes Kelley Blue Book.
The Nissan Titan's brakes are updated this year. "The front discs have increased from 12.6 to 13.8 inches," reports Cars.com. They add that the "brakes are among the Titan's high points: They're powerful but easy to modulate for smooth stops."
The 2008 Nissan Titan combines better-than-average handling, a standard, powerful V-8, and a five-speed automatic in a package that meets the needs of most truck shoppers.