Hallway conversations about our 2004 long-term Titan tend to focus on the powertrain. It's not surprising--the truck's 5.6-liter V-8 is a power monster and makes the 4x2 pickup a blast to hustle around town. Last year, after sending the truck to our Florida offices for duty among the oranges and gators, the Titan's powerful engine proved useful in running from three major hurricanes. In fact, it helped get editor Jeff Bartlett to The Home Depot when the news broke that the first storm was on its way. Loading the bed with plywood, he made it back in plenty of time to cover the windows on his recently built home, protecting them from storm damage. The Titan's factory spray-on bedliner prevented scratches and dents in the bed, but Bartlett did notice that the rubber feet on the bed extender were susceptible to being clobbered when loading four-by-eight sheets.

During his natural-disaster preparation, Bartlett tells us he still found time to rock out with this truck's upgraded Rockford Fosgate stereo. The 350-watt premium system has a six-disc CD changer that pumps music through 10 speakers including a subwoofer--sure to satisfy the bass-thumping needs of any audiophile. This could easily be one of the most complete and best-sounding systems currently offered in any full-size pickup. We also like the secondary controls on the steering wheel, keeping audio adjustment at our fingertips.

Once the storms subsided, Bartlett fired up the Titan time and again to transport furniture, supplies, and landscaping to his home. He loaded three 24x30 cabinets into the bed and transported them without banging or scratching any of the furniture.

The Titan is a looker and gets lots of comments and neck turns everywhere it's driven, whether on the east or west coast. Unfortunately, despite the truck's handsome and aggressive exterior, several staffers commented on interior quality issues, such as rough and hard surfaces and uneven textures. For instance, the instrument panel, though full of useful gauges, is enveloped in hard--almost brittle--plastic, and the switchgear on the HVAC feels downmarket and out of place in such a brawny truck. A few extra dollars spent on interior appointments could've made a big difference in quality perception.