It seems apropos that Nissan Philippines struck gold with the Terra, their first-ever foray into the mid-size SUV segment, as the nameplate means ‘earth’ in Latin.
Reminds me of the line from the movie Field of Dreams, ‘if you build it, they will come’, and that’s exactly what Nissan did. They stocked it with sensible safety features, connectivity options, practical amenities, even added entertainment outlets, and voila, 6,232 Terras sold in just the first six months of 2019. Five trims are currently available but if you’re not an off-road enthusiast, you can opt for the 4×2 and still enjoy these top-of-the-line features.
This has been the Terra’s calling card and the only thing you’ll miss is Hill Descent Control, which is utilized more during steep downhill off-road maneuvers.
It comes with Hill Start Assist — handy for when you’re held up along EDSA’s numerous flyovers; Intelligent Around View Monitor — something you’ll need driving a big vehicle along slim roads and in tight parking spaces; Blind Spot Warning — which doesn’t replace your duty to check the side mirrors before turning, but adds peace of mind knowing that the system will confirm that it is indeed clear to turn; and a wide reverse camera for a more accurate view when backing up.
Nissan doesn’t discriminate between mobile device operating systems. Whether you’re Apple or Android, it’s an equal connectivity vehicle. Simply plug into the top USB port (the second one at the bottom is only for charging) and it quickly detects and opens the correct app. If you prefer a wireless connection, simply pair via Bluetooth.
Streaming is so simple too. Once paired, click the streaming icon and the audio of whatever is on your phone’s screen will come out on all of the cabin’s six speakers.
Most mid-size SUVs forget all about the passenger’s entertainment, but not Nissan. The trim comes with a fairly large rear screen (right in front of the second row) that manually tucks right back into a case on the ceiling when not in use.
It automatically mirrors everything coming out of the eight-inch touchscreen display in front as soon as you flip it down. On long drives, even if it’s kids you’ve got in the back or the posse, as long as you have a good movie, I’m almost sure they’d rather you just keep going.
Everyone knows Nissan’s strength since back in the day is the air-conditioning system, and it is no different even in the larger Terra. I had to keep the thermostat at 25-degrees Celsius and fan speed at minimum even during midday because of how efficiently it cooled the cabin.
The vents are large and perfectly positioned because of the dashboard layout. That means more air coming out for you and your second-row passengers.
You can angle the vents towards you without freezing your fingers while they’re clutching the steering wheel. Though you don’t really need to because they’ve got a total of five ceiling vents they can control by switching the knob overhead.
Remote-fold second row
This might not be such a techie feature but highly appreciated nevertheless. While other SUVs have the convenient fold-and-tumble lever on the second row seats, Nissan has taken it further by putting a remote button right on the center console. That means you don’t have to physically get off your seat to do it or teach each new passenger how to, every time somebody needs to get into the third row. Just flick the switch from the comfort of the driver’s seat.
Just the tip of the Terra
All that, of course, is on top of other, more notable features such as the efficient 2.5L turbocharged diesel engine (average of 6.5 kilometers per liter in city driving and 9.1 on the highway) and its seven-speed automatic transmission.
Priced pretty fairly at Php 1.919 million for its position in the segment and comes loaded compared to the competition, you’d be a fool to ignore what it offers.
If you’re not an off-road kind of person, ditch the extra weight of the 4×4 layout and get the two-wheel-drive Terra. Save some fuel without losing any of the features that have made it a favorite in the market.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan