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      Nissan Terrano: The Crisp SUV

      Aditya Chatterjee

      Aditya Chatterjee


      Nissan Terrano: The Crisp SUV

      The Nissan Terrano does not come as a surprise since it is a part of the Renault Nissan alliance. Badge engineering brings its own benefits which range from reducing designing and engineering cost to getting newer models in less time. A rebadged model might just have few changes compared to the original but then it adds to the portfolio on another manufacturer.

      Moving on from badge engineering gyaan, the Renault Duster was India’s first compact SUV ignoring the fact that Premier Rio existed but sighting one is as rare as an Italian sportscar. The Duster was off to a great start and churned great numbers for Renault too until Ford decided to be the party crashers. The EcoSport with its jaw dislocating (*dropping is not sufficient) prices shook the industry.

      We have the Renault Duster, Mahindra Quanto and the Ford EcoSport in the compact SUV market. Nissan marks its entry in this exciting segment with the Terrano. The Terrano brand name has been used earlier by Nissan. The company claims that with this new offering, it will bring a new change with more premium feel. Nissan also claims that the Terrano also highlights the company’s SUV legacy and rightly so with the X-Trail and Pathfinder being some of them.

      To clear the “dust” from the Terrano and to show a clear picture of this compact SUV, Nissan invited us for a brief drive experience in Udaipur. We drive it across the sandy terrains to bring you our first impression report.

      Appearance Exterior

      The Nissan Terrano has been styled taking cues from the famous Pathfinder. At a glance, the reminiscence with the Duster is evident. It is only when attention is given to the detailing, the Terrano stands out. As Nissan claims, the Terrano will impress all with its bold styling.

      The Terrano comes out as a sturdy and macho looking SUV. The flares and bulges throughout make it a masculine looking SUV. The EcoSport comparatively has got mixed reactions in terms of its looks as some feel it looks very modern while other like the same. The Terrano looks very no non sense type and also displays loads of character.

      See it from the front quarter view, and the aggression on the face is visible. Thanks to Nissan Pathfinder to share its looks with this young sibling, the Terrano ends up looking like the next generation of compact SUVs from Nissan. The heavy on chrome radiator grille with the vertical stacks don’t go overboard. Even the detailing on the headlight is very impressive by dividing it into four different sections. The more premium variants get lower bash plates on the front bumper which makes it look rugged.

      The side profile unfortunately does not get any changes. It has a ground clearance of 205mm and is 4331mm in length. The ORVMs are finished in body colors. The B and C pillar are very neatly camouflaged in a matte black finish. We totally like the shape of the rear quarter panel. What scores even more in the Terrano are the wheel cap and alloy wheel design. Both of them look very sporty and way better.

      Rear quarter view of the Terrano highlights the flares on the rear wheel arch as well as the dollop of the muscle under the rear quarter glass. The roof rails add to the overall SUV appeal.

      The rear profile remains similar except for the tail lamp design which may not be very attractive but nor does it spoil the design. The model name is very neatly displayed on the bottom left while the Nissan logo sits firmly above. Even though the difference is minimal, the Terrano scores more than the Duster.

      The Terrano might not have gone through the scissors completely but then with the changes imbibed, it does manage to look different and better in many aspects than the original.

      Appearance Interior

      Step inside the Terrano and it may feel very familiar if you have already made your way inside the French option. The Nissan Terrano will be available in 5 trims which include XE, XL, XL Plus, XV and XV Premium and obviously the XV Premium is loaded with features.

      The Terrano maybe very similar to the Duster but it pushes the envelope a little further. It makes up for the flaws of the Duster. Nissan believes in “why-make-it-new-when-the-old-is-not-bad”. This decision benefits Nissan primarily to help curb engineering costs and thereby not letting the costs of the vehicle go up considerably. The only flaw to this is the consumer gets to see the similar interiors which he has already seen in the original model.

      The steering wheel design has been retained and this one too doesn’t get steering mounted controls. The steering wheel comes with a tilt only adjustment. The only flaw of the steering wheel can be seen as an absence of a proper grip as it tends to get very slippery though later you get a hang of it, this can be rectified with a better bolster support. So the juggling between the steering and the audio system continues. At least the engineers were considerate enough to give a central pocket on the dashboard with a lid instead of the always open type on the Duster. I still remember how I kept losing all my toll receipts from there and also cleaning it was an issue.

      The music console located on the central area is done very neatly and the difference compared to that of Duster is evident. Piano Finish is the latest trending in Nissan. The new Micra was the first to get it and now the Terrano obviously features the same too.

      It also comes with an integrated 2 Din Audio system with USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth support. The music playback quality is very average. It gets 4 speakers throughout except for the base XE variant.The 4 speed AC works decently in moderate temperatures but then under extreme weather it takes a toll.

      The XV and XV Premium variants get rear AC provisions. The arrangement is similar to that of Duster. However, the vents are not very convenient to adjust. They simply refuse to close. One more drawback is the design of the rear AC vent. Since its planted exactly between the two passenger seats, the one seating in the rear won’t be very comfortable with the knee brushing the vents.

      The instrumental console continues to be as boring. It shows basic information in addition to Tripmeter, distance to empty. The MID display is very average and the brightness is still an issue. We would like the instrumentation to be more engaging.

      The seats in the Terrano are done in fabric upholstery except for the XV Premium which has it finished in leather. In addition to leather seats, the XV range also gets leather draped steering wheel. Beige color seems to mark premium but then it tends to attract dirt very easily. The door trims in the top variants are finished in beige with a decorative strip worked in Zebra wood for XV premium and Piano black for the XV.

      If the seating comfort is what you want to know about, then it has been replicated. The seats are not very comfortable but then just tend to work. The lumbar support which comes even in vehicles half its price as a standard is kept optional in the Terrano with only the top tow variants featuring it.

      Head room is decent and so is the legroom area for the front passengers. If the passengers sitting at front are tall then it eats into the rear legroom very easily. The rear section does not feel roomy. Even the rear passenger seats do not score on comfort as the seats lack cushioning.

      It has got a 475 litres luggage space, which can be extended to 1064 litres by collapsing the rear row seats. The door pockets are not too generous and can manage to squeeze in small beverage containers and some other miscellaneous articles. There is a parcel shelf in the rear with storage pockets, this parcel shelf is really long and it does manage to hold lots of articles. The space in the boot section is huge and can pack in luggage for a month long trip. It has got storage hooks as well.

      The interiors feel better but then the difference is not substantial to make this one feel completely new. Having similar design cues in the Terrano might not work well in favor of it.


      Performance Drive

      We were invited in Udaipur to have a first impression of the Terrano. Udaipur seems to be a favorite of automobile manufacturers especially when it comes to SUVs. It offers an equal share of different types of terrains and traffic conditions.

      The Terrano comes in three different engine trims which include one petrol and two diesel. The specifications remain identical to that of the Duster. The 1598cc petrol engine churns out 104PS at 5850 rpm and a torque of 145 Nm at 3750 rpm. It has a 5 speed manual transmission and Nissan claims a mileage of 13.2 Kmpl.

      The petrol engine is smooth and not very audible. The 1.6L petrol engine seems perfect for city commute as it does not offer any kick as such but then in traffic conditions it is at its best. The gear shifts feel a bit notchy and can be bettered with a smoother shift movement.

      This is not a typical rev friendly petrol engine as it feels underpowered at lower engine speeds. As the engine speed is raised, it gets more audible but then the lag in the delivery also gets very evident. Also, the petrol version gets Hydraulic power assisted steering. It delivered a mileage of 9.5 kmpl.

      The 1.5L lower spec diesel engine produces 85PS at 3750 rpm and a torque of 200 Nm at 1900 rpm. This engine is also equipped with a 5 speed manual transmission. The prime reason for having a lower spec diesel engine is for the mileage friendly consumers. This one being a diesel feels nice on torque.

      This engine too has a lag but then it being a diesel unit tries to overcome it. It takes serious effort to make the vehicle reach higher speeds. The steering is very active in giving feedback and sometimes it gets a little too aggressive. Overtaking in a fully loaded condition is a stress as the notchy gears and the lag in the engine make it very difficult. This one scored more on mileage compared to the other two at 15 Kmpl.

      After trying both the underpowered variants, it was finally time for me to drive the 110PS version. This remains my favorite with its superb power delivery. It produces a power of 110PS at 3900 rpm and a torque of 248 Nm at 2250 rpm. It also comes with a 6 speed manual transmission.

      Crank it up and it feels the same until you shift it to the first gear. Cross 1700 rpm and the engine feels very much in control. The torque delivery is fantastic when it comes to the 110 PS model. In fact, I find this engine more athletic compared to that of the EcoSport in terms of sheer drive feel.

      The Nissan Terrano is not a hard core SUV but instead an off roader. Don’t let that fool you as this vehicle can take a good amount of off roading bruise. We did manage to make it climb places and go on terrains which only an SUV is capable of. The suspension setup of Mcpherson struts for front and torsion beam axle at the rear works in tandem in keeping the vehicle afloat on hard roads.

      Maneuvering the Terrano is very easy as it has a turn radius of 5.2m. The Terrano feels very light when it comes to steering it out of tight corners. There are occasions especially at high speeds and on rough patches where the steering feedback is too aggressive. In addition to this the bolstering on the steering wheel is also not sufficient.

      There is minimal body lag owing to its height. Reaching triple digit speeds is not a task at all in this. However, even this one feels a bit stressed when fully loaded but then the gear shifts in this are less. The 6 speed manual transmission does a fair job to this engine as in the other two it is missed greatly. The shift quality is decent. The only aspect where it didn’t score is in its braking which is very poor.

      Except for the base XE variant, the other trims get Brake assist and ABS with EBD. Driver airbag is standard in all variants and passenger airbag is present in XL Plus, XV and XV Premium variants. Engine immobilizer is present in all variants.

      Tech Specs

      Technical Specifications
       Make Nissan
       Model Terrano
      Variant 1.6 Petrol 1.5 Diesel(85PS) 1.5 Diesel(110PS)
      Engine Displacement 1598/4 1461/4 1461/4
      Power in PS/RPM 104/5850 85/3750 110/3900
      Torque in Nm 145/3750 200/1900 248/2250
      Transmission 5/M 5/M 6/M
      Dimensions in mm
      Length 4331 4331 4331
      Width 1822 1822 1822
      Height 1671 1671 1671
      Wheel base 2674 2674 2674
      Ground clearance 205 205 205
      Minimum Radius m 5.2 5.2 5.2
      Gross weight Kgs 1755 1764 1787
      Tyres 215/65 R16 215/65 R16 215/65 R16
      Fuel Tank capacity in Liters 50 50 50
      Mileage Kmpl 13.2 20.05 19.01


      Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Air Conditioner Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Rear Air conditioner with control  indvl speed No No Yes Yes Yes
      Integrated 2DIN Audio No Yes Yes No No
      Alloy wheels No No Yes Yes Yes
      Fabric Seat Upholstery Yes Yes Yes No No
      Leather Seat Upholstery No No No Yes Yes
      Leather wrapped steering wheel No No No Yes Yes
      Chrome insert on gear shift Knob Yes Yes Yes No No
      Leather wrapped gear knob NO No No Yes Yes
      Interior color scheme Black Yes No No No No
      Interior color scheme Beige and Black No Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Airbags  1 1 2 2 2
      ABS &EBD NO Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Front Fog lamp No Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Central Locking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Rear Defogger No Yes Yes Yes Yes

      Competition All Specs

      Eco Sports
      Variant 1.5 Diesel(110PS) 1.5 Diesel MT 1.5 dCi C8
      Engine Displacement 1461/4 1498/4 1461/4 1493/4
      Power in PS/RPM 110/3900 91/3750 110/3900 100/3750
      Torque in Nm/RPM 248/2250 204/2000-2750 248/2250 240/1600-2800
      Transmission 6/M 5 MT 5  MT 5 MT
      Dimensions in mm
      Length 4331 3999 4315 3850
      Width 1822 1765 1822 1695
      Height 1671 1708 1695 1530
      Wheel Base 2674 2520 2673 2430
      Ground Clearance in MM 205 200 205 180
      Gross Vehicle Weight in Kg 1787 1700 1781 1330
      Mileage Kmpl 19 18 19 16
      Ex Showroom  Price Mumbai N/A 9,82,865 12,12,473 7.52,626
      Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Air Conditioner Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Music Syatem Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Airbags  Yes Yes Yes No
      ABS &EBD Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Front Fog lamp Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Central Locking Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Rear Defogger Yes Yes Yes Yes


      To conclude, the Terrano has its shares of pros and cons. It indeed looks like a mature and masculine car. It has premium feel too but then would these characteristics be sufficient to elevate the Terrano in the compact SUV market. Nissan plans to officially launch the Terrano on 9th October 2013.

      The Terrano faces competition from the Duster which is priced between Rs. 7,95,860 to Rs. 12,17,263 (Ex-Showroom Mumbai). It comes with same engine options but then the Terrano scores when it comes to looks, interiors and overall finishing. It won’t be a surprise if the Terrano is priced more than the Duster. Trusted sources hint that the price difference between equivalent base variant would be Rs.60,000 and the same for higher model can be Rs.1 lakh.

      The Mahindra Quanto which is more of a hatchback on steroids but then Mahindra claims to call it a compact SUV is priced between Rs. 6,03,367 to Rs.7,52,626 (Ex-Showroom Mumbai). It scores only in cabin space as it has the looks of an incomplete car. It is sufficiently inspiring for Mahindra engineers to go back on the drawing board. The body roll is insane. Exterior looks might not work in its favor though what actually works in its favor is the 3 cylinder mCR100 engine. It is more powerful than the 85PS Terrano. Also, the Quanto has a more fuel efficient engine.

      Leaving other contenders aside, the Ford EcoSport can be the real party spoiler for the Terrano. It starts at Rs. 582,300 and ends at Rs. 937,290. The EcoSport offers two petrol engines and one diesel engine. Among the different powertrains, the EcoBoost is the most acclaimed engine with many merits and accolades. The diesel engine produces similar figures to the 110PS version of Terrano. In addition to looks and performance, the number of features that the EcoSport offers is simply factastic.

      Nissan has a huge responsibility of pricing the Terrano right. The company has played it very safe in India which can be seen with its modest product range. Nissan is a prominent manufacturer in international markets but even then it has been very carefully in choosing models for India. The company has launched a car in every possible segment hinting at its long term vision of spreading its reach in India.

      Nissan has already beefed up dealerships and has a plan lined up for the future as well. With a car in every segment, Nissan has already made itself visible across different categories. Seems the Japanese major is here to stay and for long. Hope the ones who claim to “Count on us” take notice of this.


      Nissan Terrano ₹ N/A Onwards
      Nissan | Nissan Terrano | Terrano