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One of the smartest SUVs around

2018 Nissan Terra 2.5L VL 4X4 7AT

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In a market flooded with SUVs that can do this and do that, it’s understandably difficult to stand out. But Nissan leverages their off-road expertise with the Patrol and the Navarra and adds cutting-edge safety technology to make the barely year-old Terra somewhat of an SUV phenomenon in the country.

In just seven months, the Terra already chipped in 11.9-percent of Nissan’s total 40-percent increase in sales for 2018. If my math serves me right, that’s more than four thousand units sold from May-December 2018. And if you’ve seen its 30-second TV commercial, that barely scratches the surface of what the Terra can do. If you’ve got five minutes, read up because I have the lowdown on what this top-of-the-line Terra can really do.

You’ll notice that the façade is basically cut from the same cloth as the Navarra, although the Terra does have a fancier and more expressive grille. It is shorter than its pickup cousin but wider, taller and with a longer wheelbase to provide the roominess and comfort of an SUV.

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For starters, it comes equipped with a small Intelligent Key but will require the driver to push the button on either front door handle to unlock. Likewise, the hatch door opens when you push the electronic latch if the key is on your person. The black and brown interior combo (black panels and brown leather on the seats) are quite practical for a capable SUV. It doesn’t smudge easily and dirt wipes off quickly.

Panels, dashboard have a nice finish and texture but Nissan could have done better with some soft-touch materials for this top trim. A few glossy surfaces and silver trims along the infotainment system, gear selector and on the steering wheel add some contrast and sort of highlights some of the cabin’s best features.

At the center of the dash is a seven-inch touchscreen system with iOS and Android integration, WiFi- and navigation-ready (dealer option), two USB ports in front, and video playback functions so passengers on the second and third row can watch via the flip-down screen.

Space in this seven-seater feels just about right for an SUV, not cramped and will feel generous enough for an average-sized Filipino – man or woman. The second row sports 60:40 split seats but with retractable armrests and backrests that can recline as well, but what I like about them are buttons near the gear selector that make them a cinch to fold from the driver’s seat. Two-seater third row seats split 50:50 and fold flat to give way for cargo.

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A good amount of its safety tech lies in what you see on the rearview mirror. Instead of being just a plain view mirror, it also doubles as a display for the rear and side cameras.

What’s good? Aside from the default full rear view, there’s a full 360-degrees ‘around’ view, and blind spot view (camera shows video of what’s in the proximity of right front panel).

What’s not? Full rear view is looks too close and is aimed higher than I would have wanted it to. It can be adjusted, but that’s the closest the setting will allow. Depending on the time of day, you can’t use it as a mirror at all and even when possible, my eyes struggled to adjust between what the mirror reflects and the video.

Its 2.5L turbodiesel engine — with 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque — grunts like a 3.0-liter and is paired with a seven-speed AT. It feels robust and powerful by sound alone but more so when the torque actually kicks in, especially on the low gears.

Revs will go higher than 2,000 rpm to really get it up to overtaking speed and even for plain quick acceleration but despite that, I still averaged 8.5 kilometers per liter in pure city driving.

With coil springs in front, there’s an understandable amount of stiffness to the ride. Nissan plugged in a multi-link suspension with stabilizer bar in the rear but with only myself weighing it all down, my overall impression is, it’s still more truck-like than SUV.

Didn’t get to try cruise control – no point in the city really – but the Lane Departure Warning system does work even with faded markings on EDSA and is not as intrusive as other similar systems. It also comes with Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, and 6 airbags (this comes across all trims).

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At P2.096 million, it still undercuts a few of its popular competitors in the market by at least 100k, and that’s without scrimping on features and shortchanging the buyer.

The power and off-road capability are there because of the Navarra heritage and that is true across all trims, but if you want all that ‘Intelligent Mobility’ has to offer, get the smartest trim of them all, the Nissan Terra 2.5L VL 4X4 7AT.

Text and photos by Eric Tipan

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