When we posted a comparison of the Isuzu mu-X and Nissan Terra on Facebook, we instantly received massive amounts of reactions. We weren’t surprised, as the two midsize SUVs look promising on paper, photos, and even the actual performance based on our personal experiences with them.
Clearly, we've found a tight competition between the Isuzu mu-X and Nissan Terra. It kind of reminds us of the time we gave fans of the Mitsubishi Montero and Toyota Fortuner an in-depth comparison of the two. Like the Montero and Fortuner, both the mu-X and Terra also have a solid fanbase in the Philippine market. The good amount of reactions our Facebook post received drove us to compare both models in a more elaborate way.
In terms of design, the mu-X and Terra boast rugged and muscular body and fascia. However, each features a distinct design approach to make them stand out. The Isuzu mu-X features angular headlights at both ends of the rectangular grille, while the Terra features a more polygonal headlight design accentuating the V-Motion grille. If we are to animate the face, the mu-X has that eagle-like eyes, while the Terra gives an impression of an eye of an amphibious creature but, of course, looks are subjective.
A side view of both midsize SUVs reveals that the mu-X has a longer hood, as compared to the shorter-but-thicker one on the Terra. They also differ in terms of the D-pillar and roof angles. There is a steeper slope on the Terra’s D-pillar, while the mu-X has a blacked-out and more vertical D-pillar for that floating roof impression.
For interior comparison, we compared the top-spec variants of the mu-X and Terra for a more accurate match-up. We lined up both variants on our comparison tool to easily contrast their specs. To begin with, the Nissan Terra is longer and wider compared to the mu-X, which, on the other hand, is taller. The wheelbase on the Terra is also longer and could translate to more room for the second row and rear passengers. More room is equal to a comfier ride.
Both of the top-spec midsize SUVs feature leather seats, anodized silver accents on the dashboard and center console, as well as a plethora of plastic materials. However, the designs of the cabin are completely different, in relation to style and surface finishes. The Isuzu mu-X features a flat, simple, and straight-forward design, a bit retro-like. The Nissan Terra, on the other hand, has a curvier design approach with dynamic creases flowing from the dashboard to the center console.
For comfort, both of the top-range SUVs are equipped with automatic air-conditioning, though Terra’s cabin-cooling system is dual-zone. Don’t worry, the mu-X has independent rear A/C controls for the passengers at the back.
Technology is one of the most sought-after features of a car. The more advanced the features are, the happier and more informed the passengers become. For the mu-X, an eight-inch touchscreen and comes with six speakers. The mu-X's toy may be bigger at eight-inch but the seven-inch capacitive touchscreen of the Terra comes with an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, WiFi, GPS navigation, and video playback function. It also comes with six speakers for great audio quality.
Not only that, both variants of both models come with a rear flip-down monitor to entertain the rear passengers, especially the young ones. Although both cars tightly compete when it comes to convenient features, the mu-X came short of front parking sensors.
For safety, there’s an obvious gap in equipment between the two (again, comparing the top-spec variants). The mu-X only comes with two airbags in front, while the Terra has six of them from dual front to curtains. Both models have ISOFIX child seat tethers, which is good, but the mu-X lacked lane departure warning and blind-spot detection systems, which are both present in the Terra.
Price & Verdict
When it comes to peso figures, the Isuzu mu-X has the cheapest base variant because it offers a wider range. There are more variants of the mu-X as it has three engine options, the 1.9-liter RZ4E turbo diesel, 2.5-liter, and the 3.0-liter diesel, in contrast to the sole 2.5-liter turbo diesel mill of the Terra. The number of options for the mu-X makes it a more flexible option. For as low as P1,268,000, you already have the 2.5 LS 4x2 MT. However, the top-range 4x4 Terra is surprisingly more affordable than the top-spec 4x4 mu-X, which has less the features of Nissan’s midsize SUV.
There is clearly a fine line drawn in between the Isuzu mu-X and Nissan Terra. The number of variants that the mu-X has offer buyers a wider selection, while the fleet of features that the Terra has despite maintaining its price range makes the competition even tighter than it looks. There are a lot more conditions and factors to consider beyond this article that only you, as the buyer, can assess. Things like dealer response time, customer service quality, and financing schemes could also play along.