February 02, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2019 Nissan Terra VL 4×2

The calculated edge up

There has been a tremendous amount of material both in print and online about Nissan’s award-winning and commercially successful new Terra. It deserves the attention that it has been getting since its energetic launch several months ago. Fresh from that launch, Nissan was able to get enough internal editorial votes in the office to earn the 2018 C! Awards trophy for best-in-its class. Since then, the Toyota Fortuner has gained rear disc brakes and better standard equipment. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport soldiers on successfully with minimal changes. Which leaves the Ford Everest, which is supposed to get the new twin-turbo 2.0-liter engine and 10-speed gearbox used in the recently updated Ranger and all-new Ranger Raptor, along with significant equipment upgrades as well. So, until that new model arrives to challenge the Terra for segment supremacy, Nissan’s golden goose will continue to methodically gain market share for good reason.

I couldn’t help but think of the old 5-seater Nissan Terrano 4×4 workhorse that we had in our C! Fastfleet in the early days. We loved that Terrano. It was so reliable, fun, versatile, and unflappable despite having very old technology. It was powered by an anemic 134 bhp @ 5600 rpm and 154 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm of torque engine with fuel injection, sohc, and 12 valves on a 2.4-liter four-banger mated to a 5-speed manual transmission without any active or passive electronic safety nannies or ABS to manage the tiny front discs and rear drum brakes. So you had to do quite a lot of footwork with keen hand coordination to keep it properly on the road. This Brilliant Silver colored Nissan Terra VL 4×2 test unit reminded me of the Terrano in the sense that this significantly superior, in every possible way, 7-seater ladder-framed mid-size SUV will carry on the established reputation of reliability and purposefulness of its Grand Daddy in our market. Keep in mind that the Terrano was born in 1986 and carried on miraculously until 2002 in the Philippines until it was essentially replaced by the X-trail crossover even if they had nothing in common except similar capacity and ride height.

Thus, for our market where robust ladder-frame SUV’s are vital to travel throughout our archipelago, the Terrano was the last mid-size SUV from Nissan until the Terra, despite having the Pathfinder brand of the model live on with multiple evolutions in other markets that even include the old Navara-platformed R51 variant, which we never got even if that Navara (D40) was sold here until 2014. By the way, that old F-Alpha platform has found its way to the current Navara (D23), the Terra, and the Mercedes-Benz X-class luxury pick-up.

Famously, the Nissan Terra was strategically launched well after its direct competition established themselves. Nissan learned from the competition’s successes and weaknesses and then developed the Terra using a multitude of components already available from their parts bin in order to maximize corporate efficiency while creating a product that would be as cost-effective as possible to the end-user. The final result is a very well thought-out and thorough multi-purpose people mover solution that Philippine buyers really appreciate. Our test unit, in my opinion, is the sweetest spot in the model range. You get 98% of the luxury and drivetrain equipment while saving at least a couple hundred pounds of weight by omitting the 4×4 system which you would most probably use only 2% of the time. So, unless you genuinely require a 4×4 system, you would be quicker, more agile, and more fuel efficient in the VL 4×2.2488 cc.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 2488 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Intercooled CRDI VGT Turbodiesel
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 187 bhp @ 3600 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 332 lb ft @ 2000 rpm
Transmission 7-Speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 197 km/h (123 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.8 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 15.8 Km/L overall as tested

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,899,000.00
What's Great The new Best-in-Class, very comfortable, full-featured
What's Not So Wish it had rear disc brakes, stronger front brakes, less wallow, and more responsive steering. Needs a stronger amplifier for the Blaupunkt infotainment system.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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