When Terra meets dirt and grit

By Monch Henares Philippine Daily Inquirer February 10,2019


Nissan finally dips its feet into the highly competitive Philippine mid-size SUV market dominated by Toyota and Mitsubishi.


Not only is it the new baby in this segment, the New Nissan Terra (meaning: earth or land ) has the looks, muscle, and a whole load of advanced technology to rival the reigning kings for the top slot.


Without hesitation, this blogger grabbed the opportunity when Nissan Philippines gave first dibs to review the new 2018 Nissan Terra 2.5L turbo diesel VL 4X2 7AT.


Fresh from the dealership, it had less than 14 kilometers on the odometer. Suited up in Brilliant Silver, it looked very similar to its brother, the Navarra.


From its diminishing window lines, large wheel arches, 18-inch alloy-wheels, and muscular curves flexed all the way to the rear—everything exuded flowing testosterone.


No matter how rough the road, the Nissan Terra glides over smoothly.




A mixture of chrome and carbon-black trim stir up a cocktail of elegance, yet it is sporty enough to match the ruggedness of the great outdoors.


Wing-shaped LED daylight running lamps complement the LED projector headlamps up front, while similar-shaped signature LED taillights take up the rear.


Completing the whole look are front fog lamps and turn signal lamps tucked neatly around the power-folding door mirrors.


Here’s a wish that Nissan would put a sunroof or moonroof. It’s one of the best features to have on a family adventure vehicle.


Good thing, though, that they equipped it with sturdy side steps, roof rails, and a sleek rear roof antenna.


The cockpit is equipped with Nissan’s intelligent mobility.




The premium-feel brown leather seats and trim were not only soft to the touch, but also comfortable for a totally fatigue-free ride.


Nissan calls this zero gravity. The driver has an eight-way power adjust seat function that includes the lumbar area, while the front passenger seat has a four-way manual adjust.


Being a 7-seater with a third row, Nissan put a lot of thought in designing the ergonomics of its interior.


The ease of getting to the third row was made possible by its unique automated second row manual-reclining 60:40 split seats, which tumble and fold separately at the press of a button located at the driver’s center console.


A Transformers fan will definitely enjoy playing with it. Nissan, why did you not think of making it unfold automatically, too?


The third row 50:50 split seats fold flat, recline and fold with ease. Surprisingly, it was roomy even for someone with a mid-sized physique. It had ample head and leg room as compared to other mid-size SUVs.


You and your six-member team will never get thirsty. The Terra has 14 receptacles for cups and water bottles, including two bottle holder/chillers that are located in front of each side of the AC vent on the dash.  It’s a lot for a vehicle this size.


Your battery-hungry gadgets will never go dead on you because the Terra has four 12V accessory sockets strategically located at the top accessory tray, below the dash, inside the center armrest console, and at the rear compartment.


The Terra has a six-speaker audio system with 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display for seamless smartphone (iOS and Android) integration, WiFi, tuner, USB, iPod, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play, navi-ready app, and video playback functions.


It can sync with two phones without a hitch. It plays Spotify playlists, and even connects a flash drive with thousands of songs and videos via USB to watch legally downloaded movies.


The rest of the passengers won’t be left out of the entertainment. A rear 11-inch flip-down entertainment monitor comes standard, and mirrors the front infotainment screen.


One thing that made the ride more interesting was viewing the advanced drive-assist display. It’s like watching the car’s vital stats, live and in real time.


From fuel economy to driving aids, this serves up info right in front of you like a Nintendo game for saving fuel.


Completing the roster of interior conveniences and safety features are the dual zone automatic climate control A/C system with rear cooler, power door locks, passive entry system featuring an intelligent key with immobilizer and VSS alarm, engine push start/stop system, cruise control, six SRS airbags (driver, passenger, side and curtain shield), and Isofix child safety seat anchors.


A cool splash after raising dust on the offroad


Intelligent mobility


It can take you almost a day to get used to Nissan’s intelligent mobility technology, but once you master the detail, you will want to use it all the time.


You’ll loved the intelligent around view monitor, four cameras monitoring all four sides. Although it only works at very slow speeds, that’s actually where you need it most.


Parking inches from a sidewalk or avoiding unseen obstacles like a tree stump, rocks, open manholes, and even being warned of children running around the car was all possible.


This awesome driver assist and safety features include the blind spot warning, lane departure warning, moving object detection, hill start assist, hill descent control, tire pressure monitoring system, 4-eye rear parking sensors with switch,  and intelligent rearview mirror.




Whether driving in the tight and traffic-laden streets of Manila or on the fast-paced tollways to Batangas, the Nissan Terra performed like a true thoroughbred.


With 190 horses giving 450 Nm of torque, it’s 2.5L turbo diesel engine mated to a 7-speed smooth-shifting automatic transmission with manual mode doesn’t let down.


Though the engine was a bit louder than usual, it did impress with its pulling and climbing power.


If you have all the power to move, you must have all the power to stop. The Terra’s anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and vehicle dynamic control made sure of that.


I would rather it have disc-brakes at the rear instead of the outdated drums.


The Terra finds a home in earthy La Luz Beach Resort and Spa in Laiya, Batangas—the perfect family getaway where the sea, sun, and earth collide.


The Journey


Where would you test drive a Nissan Terra? There must be a reason why they named it such. And we brought it to where it wanted to be—a place where it could roam and run free.


Our playground was to be on this coastal stretch of unfinished road past the beach resorts strip of Laiya, Batangas called the Lobo-Malabrigo-Laiya Road.


We stayed at La Luz Beach Resort and Spa, so proudly known as Laiya’s best beach resort because of its friendly and accommodating staff, delicious home-cooked food, clean beach, rich marine life, rustic cottages and earthy environment. It was as earthy as the Terra itself.


The Terra performed so well on this rough and dirty road adventure. It rode smooth, high, and effortless. It never bottomed out on the several deep ruts encountered.


It even scored a 10 on its first swim under 12 inches of water.

It felt really safe and comfortable over dangerous uneven terrain, thanks to the Terra’s fully-boxed ladder frame that doesn’t twist over uneven terrain, thus making it stronger and more capable.


Monchster’s rating


The new 2018 Nissan Terra 2.5L turbo diesel VL 4X2 7AT is probably a class of its own. It is versatile, practical, safe, comfortable, powerful, economical, fun to drive, full of automotive technological advances, and would surely make an excellent  family and barkada adventure vehicle.


On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, The Monchster rates it a 9.


For more stories, visit www.monchsterchronicles.com  and www.arabellejimenez.com.

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