It's no longer one of the most powerful pickups on the planet, but we're still fans of the Nissan Titan and its sole powertrain, a rippling V-8 with more macho engine noises than those coming from some of the American entries in the class.
It's the NASCAR sound quality that makes the Titan's exhaust note a perfect fit for this Mississippi-built truck. It snarls, it growls, and the 5.6-liter V-8 turns in 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are nowhere near best in class anymore--Ford's new V-6 engine makes 302 horsepower--but the Titan sounds like it loves every minute of its job.
The V-8 teams up only to a five-speed automatic that lacks the gears it needs to boost fuel economy, but otherwise works well with the engine to combine for smooth shifts and strong acceleration. Gas mileage as low as 12/17 mpg is offset by towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds with the King Cab and 9,400 pounds with the Crew Cab. Again, those numbers are strong in absolute terms, but against the 11,700-pound capacity of the latest F-150, it's almost a lightweight.
For a big, heavy pickup, the Nissan Titan handles extremely well. On the road, the Titan feels smaller and nimbler than it is, maneuvering well at low speed. Of the many variants, all but the PRO-4X is offered with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive; the PRO-4X off-road variants are four-wheel-drive only.
The PRO-4X is also more prone to being over-firm on and off-road, with skittish behavior under some circumstances. Solid 10-inch ground clearance puts it at the front of its class, however, and may win converts more concerned with capability than comfort.