Nissan Titan Crew Cab

Godzilla Strikes

December 1, 2003

This Japanese monster is not the Yankee’s rookie outfielder. Godzilla is actually the new Nissan Titan Crew Cab. Big and brawny, it’s the ideal tow truck for loads to 9,400 pounds.

Core components are straightforward. There’s a stout ladder frame with front coil springs and a solid rear axle carried by semielliptical leaf springs. The wheelbase spans nearly 140″, providing ample room for front seats, rear seating suitable for adults, and a 74″-long cargo bed. What makes this monster roar are a husky 305-hp, 32-valve V-8, a five-speed automatic transmission, and massive Goodyear Wrangler four-wheel radials with ABS. The optional part-time four-wheel-drive system includes electronic controls to safeguard both stability and traction. The tow package features a lower (3.36:1 instead of 2.94:1) axle ratio, a transmission oil-temperature gauge, extending mirrors, a heavy-duty battery, and wiring for trailer brakes and lights. I like the rear differential option-it locks at the touch of a button.

To see if Godzilla had the strength to tow, we hitched up a Continental tandem-axle trailer carrying a tall 21′ Larson cruiser. The long intake runners that boost the 5.6-liter engine’s low-rpm output helped this two-ton rig leap from 0 to 60 mph in just 15.5 seconds. Need to stop? Hit the brakes at 60 mph, and it feels like you’ve snagged an arresting cable. We went from 60 to 0 mph in 222 feet with the boat in tow.


Although there was enough torque to spin the Titan’s wheels at the launch ramp, a bit of restraint was all it took to draw the boat out of the drink onto dry land without drama. Rotate and press the transfer case controller to engage low range to multiply available torque by a factor of 2.60.

In the daily-driving mode, Titan is the most car-like big pickup thanks to its well-manicured control responses, damped ride motions, and predictable handling.

MODEL Nissan Titan Crew Cab
Engine 5.6-liter DOHC V-8
Net hp/rpm 305/4900
Net torque (ft-lb/rpm) 385/3600
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Suspension Front control arms, coil springs
Suspension Rear beam axle, leaf springs
Brakes (front/rear) disc/disc, standard ABS
Tires Goodyear Wrangler, SR-A, 265/70SP-18
Wheelbase (in.) 139.8
Length (in.) 224.2
Width (in.) 78.8
Height (in.) 76.7
Curb weight (lbs.) 5,220
Towing capacity (lbs., max.) 9,400
Payload capacity (lbs.) 1,643
Fuel capacity (gal.) 28
0-60 mph acceleration (without/with 4,780-lb. towed load, sec.) 7.8/15.5
60-0 mph stopping distance (without/with 4,780-lb. towed load, ft.) 135/222
Observed towing fuel economy (avg. mpg) 8
Price (as tested) $37,000

LAST WORD. The Nissan Titan Crew Cab is the best blend of a family sedan and a big truck yet.


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