Nissan 2008 Titan’s PRO-4X package sweet ride for those who do more than just work
By Bruce W. Smith / Editorial Services
Its funny how we get caught up in the buzz stirred by all the brand new pickups and SUVs hitting the market, and in doing so, somehow miss some pretty neat upgrades to vehicles that caused a similar stir in year’s past. Case in point: the 2008 Nissan Titan.
When the Titan pickup hit the scene back in 2004, it was headline news everywhere in the pickup world. Nissan made it clear there all-new full-size pickup was a contender ready to do battle with the boys out of Michigan.
The Titan came out swinging with a 306hp 5.6-liter V8 that had the throaty exhaust note besting anything Ford, Dodge, or GM had on the road.
It was also the first pickup to offer such features as a bed cargo management system, bedside storage compartments, spray-in bedliner, tailgate assist, and wide-opening rear doors on the extended-cab models.
Then the Titan quietly slid into the shadows as the competitors—including Toyota—rolled out one new model after another.
NEW FOR 2008
But Nissan is still a force to reckon with in the world of full-size pickups. I found this out after spending a couple days behind the wheel of the 2008 Titans.
Nissan enthusiasts will like the addition of a Long Wheelbase (LWB) version and a new Titan PRO-4X off-road option designed to enhance Titan’s already strong reputation as the truck of choice for work or adventure.
Those additions mean the Titan is now available in four models – XE, SE, PRO-4X and LE; in two body styles – King Cab and Crew Cab; in 4×2 and 4×4 drive configurations; and four bed sizes – 5’5”, 6’5”, 7’ and 8’.
The new trucks also get a bit of a face lift with a revised front end with new headlights, black fender trim, and new wheel styles.
Inside the change from the ‘07s is much more pronounced.
Titan features a new seat design with much better side bolsters, a refined gauge cluster, a redesigned center console, and options like Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System, XM™ Satellite Radio tuner, heated leather-appointed bench seat, and a larger, 8.0-inch DVD/Navigation screen (up from 7.0-inch).
However, it’s the new PRO-4X off-road package, which is available on all models, that I found the most appealing because the upgrade is designed for those who need a pickup that will take them to the end of the road and back come hail or high water, work or play.
The PRO-4X “off-road” package is simple in content, but sophisticated in design.
The standard Titan front suspension is tweaked to provide about a 3/4-inch more lift in the front, giving the truck a level stance and allowing room to fit special 33-inch-tall BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/As.
Then Rancho Suspension rear shocks and front struts, all tuned by Nissan’s American engineers to provide considerably more cushion on compression than one finds under stock Titans, replace the stock shock to handle the PRO-4X suspension duties.
Couple that with the Titan’s shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive system that has an electronic-controlled part-time transfer case to give 2WD/4HI/4LO modes, and you have a very capable four-wheel-drive pickup.
NICELY DONE SUSPENSION
The suspension tuning makes all the difference in the world on how the Titan rides and handles on pavement or off. Off-pavement the normally harsh hits from rocks, ruts, and uneven road surfaces are nicely cushioned. In fact, it delivers one of, if not the best, factory off-road rides.
On-pavement the ride and handling of the PRO-4X is noticeably more controlled than that of the stock suspension.
This is especially true with an ATV trailer in tow loaded with a Polaris Ranger side-by-side and 500cc Sportsman 4×4 quad—a towed weight of about 3,000 pounds.
(By the way, the 2008 load-carrying capacity of all Titan pickups is 500 pounds higher than it was last year, and the maximum towing capacity now sits at 9,400 pounds when properly-equipped.)
The PRO-4X model also gets the benefit of a lower final gear ratio (3.357:1) for faster acceleration and slower “low-range” crawling speeds. That low-range control is supplemented by a softer electronic throttle “tip-in”, so it’s quite easy to drive the new Titan smoothly over the roughest road surfaces.
And, when the Titan PRO-4X’s 10-plus-inches of ground clearance isn’t quite enough, a bevy of steel skid plates take the hits instead of the radiator, transmission and transfercase.
When traction really begins to fall apart you just push a button on the new console and a full-locking electric locker instantly activates to provide maximum traction at the rear tires. This is a really helpful item off-road and around slippery boat ramps.
A NICE ROLLING OFFICE
One of the things we kind of forget is the Titan has a very big interior with great head and legroom. It’s a comfortable truck for big boys headed to work or for a weekend outing, The PRO-4X model adds another level to that comfort.
The leather-trimmed front seats are well-bolstered and nicely embroidered with a “PRO-4X’ moniker; the instrument cluster has white-faced gauges that are very sporty and easy to read; and the rest of the trim is overall more upscale than one finds on the lower-trim levels.
It still retains the unique fold-flat front passenger seat and, in the Crew Cab model I drove, the 60/40 rear bench with a very comfortable 24-degree seatback reclining angle. You can even get a heated bench seat to keep the tush warm on those frosty mornings.
Power underfoot is as bountiful as legroom. The PRO-4X comes with the standard 5.6-liter, aluminum block, dual-overhead cam Nissan “Endurance” V8, which is now rated at a stout 317hp and 385 lb/ft of torque.
The engine’s power curve is very well suited for truck use, pulling long and strong from about 3,000rpm and up with that distinctive throaty exhaust note.
Fuel economy is in mid-pack of full-size 4×4 pickups; the new EPA numbers give it a 12/17 city/highway rating. I saw consistent low-15s towing the trailer loaded with Polaris ATVs, and with just a single Polaris 500 Sportsman 500 4×4 in the bed, the highway economy stayed in the high-16s.
You can also order the engine in the Flex-Fuel model at no additional cost. But be aware the fuel economy of E85 will be about 30-percent less than it is with regular gasoline, or EPA city/hwy numbers of 9/12.
The new Titan’s are also equipped with larger disc brakes at all four corners, adding to the sporty performance.
Pricing ranges from the lower $20Ks to $40K depending on model and trim.
For example, the entry model 2WD King Cab XE is $23,700. The Titan’s top out with the Crew Cab LE long-bed 4×4 models that have an MSRP of $37,650.
The PRO-4X package adds about $2,000 to the price of the mid-level SE model for each cab style, which is actually a very good deal considering the upgrades it adds.
(A Crew Cab PRO-4X like I drove lists between $33,950-$34,350.)
Overall, the little changes Nissan has made to the Titan add up to a big difference.
Of the various models, I found the Titan PRO-4X Crew Cab 4×4 short-bed to be my favorite. It’s a really stealthy performer on- and off-pavement and will more than hold its own against all-comers while delivering a quite comfortable ride. It has the interior comfort, power and capability many outdoorsmen seek in a vehicle to get them wherever it is they need to be and back again without much fuss.—Bruce W. Smith
- Make/Model (As tested): 2008 NISSAN TITAN CREW CAB SB 4×4 PRO-4X
- Base Price: $33,950
- Engine: 5.6L V8; 317hp/385 lb-ft torque
- Fuel Capacity: 28 gals.
- Fuel Economy/EPA: 12/17 city/hwy (gasoline); E85, 9/12 city/hwy
- Wheelbase: 139.8”
- Track: 67.9”
- Overall Length: 224.6”
- Bed Length: 7’2”
- Suspension F/R: IFS / solid axle w/ leaf; Rancho shocks
- Ground Clearance: 10.7”
- Axle Ratio: 3.357:1
- Tires: BF Goodrich Rugged Trail P275/70-18
- Curb Weight:: 5,286 lbs
- Payload Capacity: 1,914 lbs
- Max Towing Capacity: 9,400 lbs w/ weight-distribution hitch; 5,000 lbs w/o W-D