There has been a growing demand for SUVs in India and on a parallel track a growing demand for automatic transmission vehicles too. So when a manufacturer has the chance to put two and two together, it is hard not to pass up such an opportunity.
Say hello then to the Nissan Terrano AMT. Arriving a few months after its French sibling, the (facelifted) Renault Duster AMT, this small SUV combines all traits of a high riding vehicle with the benefits of low cost automatic setup a.k.a AMT (automated manual transmission). It is an entry-level D-segment vehicle and has given Nissan a proper offering to enter this part of the market.
There are no changes to the exterior of this latest version of the Nissan Terrano as compared to the outgoing model. Where the Duster is curvy and chic looking, the Terrano retains a straighter cut in terms of looks. The face is dominated by the large chrome laced grille while the side gets flared wheel arches and in this top-of-the-line XV model, beautiful looking petal shaped alloy wheels. Like the Duster, the Terrano too has a large and distinctive rear but here the tail lamps are teardrop shaped. Finally the silver coloured roof rails and bash plates add to the butch SUV looks.
Nissan has mildly upgraded the cabin of the Terrano in this AMT guise as a part of a mid-life update for the SUV. The dashboard is a dual-tone combination of black and beige with the former being the primary colour for most of the cabin. The layout and elements on the dashboard like the tri-pod instrument cluster, chrome laced AC vents as well as positioning of stalks and buttons has been lifted straight from the facelifted Duster.
In terms of features you get electrically adjustable mirrors, 2-DIN music system and a standard AC unit. Despite this car being a top-of-the-line XV variant it lacks climate control, touchscreen music system or steering mounted audio controls. They are now expected features in this part of the market.
The quality of the plastics in the Terrano feels low rent especially when compared to its primary rival, the Hyundai Creta. There are six storage spaces in front of which two are cup holders while the rear gets two cup holders in the arm rest and one between the front seats. The rear seat back can be folded flat to expand the already massive 475-litre boot.
Where Nissan has managed to hit a few good runs is with the space and NVH insulation in the cabin. There is sufficient space in the cabin for five to sit comfortably thanks to the wide rear bench and absence of air-con blower vents. The NVH insulation on the other hand is quite good and at low speeds manages to filter out even the gravelly tone of the K9K diesel engine. However, at triple digit speeds wind and tyre noise does become quite audible.
Powering this AMT Terrano is the 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine producing 108bhp and 245Nm of torque with power going to the front wheels via a six-speed box. Also included in the package are brake assist with EBD as well as ESP with hill start function.
Press the throttle and you get that typical AMT lag before it sets off, however, there is more than sufficient grunt to get the car moving quickly once you are on the go. The AMT shift action is quite noticeable especially when you are driving at traffic speeds.
In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the creep function helps majorly in keeping the car moving. The six-speed AMT box shifts as low as 2200rpm on part throttle while spirited driving sees it make the changes closer to 3000rpm. The wide torque spread means it only has to drop one gear for quick overtakes. Cruising on the highway too is relatively easy as it does 100kmph in sixth gear at just 2200rpm. You can also control the shifts manually using the gear lever and this is particularly useful if you need engine braking. There is also an eco-mode button which cuts down on the immediacy of power delivery and shifts at a lower rpm to keep the fuel efficiency.
In terms of ride quality, the suspension is on the stiffer side but it is a boon as the car is able to maintain its composure over bad roads without sending too much back to the cabin. There is some amount of body roll due to the high stance of the SUV but again thanks to the stiffer setup it is able to stay decently agile in the corners. However, one of the things that Nissan has not addressed is the heavy kickback that one experiences over mid-corner bumps or undulations.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||108@4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||245 @ 1750|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||50|
|Tyre size||215/65 R16|
|2-DIN music system||Yes|
|205mm ground clearence||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||110 PS 4X2 AMT||SX (O) AT||XV AMT|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||108 @ 3900||126 @ 4000||108@4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||248 @ 2250||265 @ 1900||245 @ 1750|
|Gears||Six-speed AMT||Six-speed AT||Six-speed AMT|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||50||60||50|
|Tyre size||215/ 65 R16||215/ 60 R17||215/65 R16|
With a growing breed of automatic SUVs in this part of the market, it seems like the right time for Nissan to step in with this car. Working in its favour are the ride quality, ease of driving and large amounts of space in cabin both for the passengers as well as in the boot.
However, it lacks features that are now considered standard in the segment, the design looks a bit dated. And then there is the cost at Rs 13.75 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). It is Rs 83,000 lesser than the Creta but Rs 78,000 more than the equivalent variant of the Duster making it a purchase for someone who is specifically looking for a Nissan badged vehicle. It is also a way for the Japanese automaker to make its presence known in this part of the market which is seeing a revival again.
Photos By : Sanchit Arora