Whenever a relatively new model comes up with a slight refresh, we often write a feature for it to showcase what's new, not a full-blown review. However, given that the Nissan Terra that we reviewed before still had hype surrounding it, had tech features great for its time such as the Around-View Monitor, and staggered other competing nameplates even as a newcomer meant that we had to take a close look at a 2020 model to see whether the improvements were done to it still makes other pickup platform vehicles (PPVs) cry.
The Terra remains one of our favorite-looking midsize SUVs. It looks quite good at almost every angle, and all of the lines are very intentional. There are no curves and swoops that smooth out and form waves of pleasantries. No, these are hard and direct lines that say, "excuse me," in a very assertive but civilized manner.
Nissan knew it had a good thing going on with the Terra and decided to add some well-deserved updates and standardizations. The front now features a black and chrome V-motion grille along with a spoiler that is standard for VE models and up. I feel that the additions made to this model make it an even better-looking SUV in our opinion.
Other than that though, the 18-inch wheels are still the same, the front bumper and the headlight and fog lamps are still there, as are the “fishhook” DRLs, park lights, taillights, and side mirror turn signal lights, which are so wonderful to look at.
You know those old stereotypes of hot girls having no personality? While that may not ring true anymore in modern media because brains can be behind a pretty face, in the realm of midsize SUVs in the Philippines, the Terra is certainly a good looking charmer on the outside and a bit basic on the inside. There are lines found around, but none of them ignite excitement.
There are good points about it though, such as the brown leather upholstery that adds some much-needed character, as well as the generous amounts of air vents and even an LCD screen. We’re not too fond of the piano black plastics, however, but we do appreciate the fact that it’s not found everywhere. Though, we are a bit irked at the short and stubby center armrest. We wish that it’s extended even just a bit. Oh, and passenger space is also excellent, except for the third row which is good for small humans. I can fit back there, but at 5’8”, it’s a squeeze and definitely not for long trips.
The cargo space at the back is very similar to other PPVs. The third row folds flat and a false floor can be removed if you need that extra storage height. The second row is also foldable and can be tumbled with a pair of one-touch switches in the front to aid ingress and egress for the third-row passengers. It’s handy for avoiding shouting matches about where the fold and tumble levers are.
There is a spectrum when it comes to ride comfort in cars. Save for premium SUVs, most ladder-frame vehicles will perform slightly worse than your run-of-the-mill crossover. The Terra is not most ladder-frame vehicles, but it’s not a crossover. It sits in the middle of an SUV and a crossover in terms of ride comfort.
That being said, it’s a cut above other ladder-frame midsize SUVs, and a well-behaved performer on the potholes of Manila. Going over humps at an angle is forgiving, I really appreciate the multi-link suspension, and it’s really class-leading, but the bar wasn’t too high to clear anyway. The only other vehicle that surpasses a crossover with a ladder frame chassis in the Nissan lineup is the Patrol, and that is in a league of its own.
We were able to experience the old infotainment system of the Terra, and it was a marked improvement over other PPVs back in the day. Now, with the new Nissan Connect system, not only does it look more integrated into the dash, but it is also home to one of the model’s crowning features, the around-view monitor. There is no denying that in tight spots, this feature is godsend, but its camera quality could do with a bit of improvement.
Using the infotainment system was fair, and the sound system was quite acceptable and enjoyable to use. The touch screen was responsive and easy to operate, and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity worked seamlessly. The addition of an HDMI port, along with a flip-down LCD screen sweetens the deal.
Despite the minor shortcomings, I believe the Terra is one of the better-equipped SUVs in its class, but I would have preferred a passive entry system that would lock the doors automatically once you walk away.
In terms of airbags, the Terra’s got you covered. You get 6 airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, vehicle dynamic control, parking sensors, and the aforementioned 360-degree camera system along with blind-spot warning lights, lane keep and lane departure warning.
Well-equipped. Well-endowed. Well-to-do. I’m satisfied with the kit that Nissan has given, now if only cruise control were smarter. We can’t fault it, however, since it has a 5-star ASEAN NCAP rating.
Being behind the wheel of the Nissan Terra is familiar if you’re used to sitting tall in SUVs, but a bit alien if you’re accustomed to sedans and crossovers. Make sure you’re seated properly because the steering wheel is quite heavy. Handling is quite alright with a bit of body roll as expected. Handling in the city is a bit tedious thanks to the steering, but the around-view monitor allows for tight and calculated turns and parking maneuvers. At higher speeds, without any throttle input, the vehicle tends to understeer, but that’s expected given its class. Through the corner, it holds quite well.
The SUV is powered by Nissan’s 2.5L turbo-diesel engine. It’s a rather old powerplant that is also found in the Navara, and it shows. The turbo takes a little longer than usual to reach peak torque, but once it gets up there in the rev range, it is a very capable performer with 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque. The transmission isn’t lethargic either, with relatively quick and smooth gear changes. There are no paddles, but the lever selector is adequate and has good tactility.
The Terra gets respectable figures in the city and is rated at about 7 km/L in bumper to bumper traffic. In-town Sunday cruises of 60 km/h yields about 10 km/L. When given a stretch of highway, the Terra averages about 16 km/L cruising at 90 km/h.
Respectable figures, and quite good considering its size. I went through one week with just one full tank and a little top-up to ensure I get home.
Back in 2018, when the Terra made its first appearance in the Philippines, it was a head-turner of an SUV. That statement remains true until today. We're still fond of the Terra, and it does have its own charm which ends once you open a door. It’s another love affair once you’re in the driver’s seat, or in the back watching your favorite TV shows on the flip-down screen.
Nissan did something right with the Terra. It may have an interior that will leave you wanting, but the tech features inside are like beer-goggles, they distract you from the rather uninspired aesthetic. It’s a nice save all things considered.
As tested, the model we reviewed is priced at P1,949,000. For less than P2,000,000, you get a good looking and well-equipped model that performs admirably. I don’t see how you can go wrong with the Terra as long as you don’t have a major in interior design – kidding. We mean as long as you like simplicity on the inside.