Never too late for an SUV that’s great

The front end’s streamlined V-motion grille along with the edgier “boomerang” LED headlamps

Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino

LAST year, Nissan broke its long-overdue offering when it finally introduced its own version of a pickup-based midsized sport-utility vehicle—the all-new Terra.

The much-awaited global launch was certainly not a case of a “better late than never” kind of move just to satisfy the clamor of the many because, in terms of the development alone, the Japanese automaker already poured in over 60 years of SUV heritage.  

Equally stunning rear end with V-shaped delineation

Now up against the veterans and major players in the sought-after vehicle segment, the all-new Terra is banking on its integrated Intelligent Mobility/Driver Assist features as one of its selling points. Along with its bold and muscular character, this newcomer is definitely not just another addition to the array of pickup-based SUVs in the market, but rather, it has something new and different to offer. For this month’s feature, we get to test the top-of-the-line 2.5L VL AT 4×4 dressed in shimmering Flare Metallic Gold shade. 

At a glance, of course the front end has that striking resemblance with the Navarra pickup. But if you look closely, there are actually several differentiations. Like the streamlined V-motion grille along with the edgier “boomerang” LED headlamps. Also, the flowing delineations on the front fenders were matched by the ones at the tail end, which gave the Terra that muscular appearance. While the rear end highlights the segment’s conventional form, still there are several distinctions coming from the tailgate’s V-shape definition along with edgy lamps. Standing tall at 225 mm ground clearance, those wheel arcs complement well with the two-toned 18″ rims wrapped in 255/60 R18 rubbers. Overall, the muscular profiles gave the exterior that imposing appearance worthy of being a head-turner.

Navarra-like modern, stylish, spacious and conducive cabin with advanced driving technologies

Likewise, you’ll find the cabin layout pretty much Navarra-like. It has that modern and stylish appearance. But what makes the Terra more sophisticated are the premium trims utilized, including the fine leather materials found on sporty seats with stitching design as well as with the armrest everywhere. One of the cringe-worthy innovations made standard to all variants are the switches in the center console to remotely and automatically tumble the second row 60:40 benches in order to provide access to the third row. Now that’s a clever way to offer a whole new level of convenience. There’s also the new capacitive touchscreen infotainment with connectivity functions, plus the drop-down monitor. We also liked the ample provision of 12-volt sockets, particularly the extra ones on top of the dashboard and cargo bay area.

Motivation comes from the same 2.5-liter YD25 DDTi turbodiesel mill from the Navarra mated to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Delivery-wise, it’s absolutely unrelenting. Period. Summon it and it’ll deliver the power you need to tackle any terrain even at low rpm ranges.  Add to that the good shifting cogs that match optimal torque ranges. In fact, during the all-new Terra’s regional launch last summer, we were able to witness its uncompromising performance both on and off the road. It’s like in a flick of a switch, the new SUV transformed from a composed vehicle on the tarmac into a mean off-roading machine tackling the treacherous terrains of the lahar-stricken areas. Its impressive 4WD system, utilizing the correct settings, made going through those difficult paths seemed like a walk in the park, at least with some coaching from an off-roading expert co-pilot.

Then unrelenting 2.5-liter turbocharged engine

But throughout our recent test, we spent more time doing real-world drives going through where we would normally drive our vehicles every day—the urban jungle and quick out-of-town jaunts. While 2H (standard two-wheel-drive) setup was the most practical approach, that didn’t stop us from exploring the 4H setting whenever applicable. That gave us the extra traction and pulling power from the front wheels every time we felt the need, thanks to the “switch on the fly” operation. How the Terra behaved on the road was another reason to like this new SUV. We were impressed with how it handled road imperfections with composure. The ride quality has that nice and soft rebound.  But on highway runs, everything was smooth, relaxing and quiet. Steering was also good on constant curves providing good feedback. 

When it comes to the Terra’s Intelligent Mobility/Drive Assist features, this is where it really set the bar in terms of safety and convenience. Let alone the intelligent rearview monitor equipped with smart adjustable settings, which gives a full 360-degree view. Truth be told, driving an SUV this big necessitate features that endows the ability to see your surroundings. Not only does it provide a clear view of your blind spots, the virtual top view lets you see all corners when going through tight spaces and during parking. More important, seeing everything from the rearview monitor also allows the driver to maintain a better line of sight while driving. More so, there’s the Lane Departure Warning and Intelligent Around View Monitor (AVM), which is equipped with moving object detection and blind-spot warning. With these, it makes changing lanes and moving out from a parking spot safer. Other intelligent features are Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. As for other safety features, there are six SRS air bags, antilock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, Vehicle Dynamic Control, and interestingly, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, among others. 

Coming in late into the ball game also has its benefits. As it turned out, the all-new Terra actually has what it takes to take on the lead, thanks to its Intelligent Mobility/Driver Assist features. Seemed like Nissan took all the time to assess carefully the vehicle segment’s needs and was able to come up with the right essentials. 

Thumbs up

  • Nissan Intelligent Mobility / Drive Assist
  • Bold exterior design
  • Unrelenting engine performance
  • Comfy ride
  • Abundant 12-volt socket provision

Thumbs down

  • No sunroof (but there’s a drop-down monitor)


  • Vehicle All-new Nissan Terra 2.5L VL A/T 4×4
  • Type Midsize SUV
  • Engine 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, DOHC, Variable Turbocharger (VGS) with Intercooler, Common Rail Direct Injection (CRDi), diesel fed
  • Maximum power 187hp at 3,600rpm
  • Maximum torque 450 N-m at 2,000rpm
  • Transmission seven-speed automatic with manual shifting mode


  • Length 4,885 mm
  • Width 1,865 mm
  • Height 1,835 mm
  • Wheelbase 2,850 mm
  • Ground Clearance 225 mm
  • Tire size 255/60 R18
  • Price as tested P2.096 million

Image credits: Randy S. Peregrino


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