Words and Pics: Arjun Dharve
Team Motoroids recently spent a good time reviewing the new Nissan Terrano in varied road conditions that the picturesque state of Rajasthan had on offer. As we were expecting, the Terrano seems to have got all the right ingredients to become the next big thing in Compact SUV segment of Indian car market and is much more than just a re-badged Renault Duster. Arjun Dharve, who played the test driver for us this time around, has a lot of good things (along with some not so good ones) to say about the Nissan Terrano.
Exterior and Styling
To derive an entirely new car, with its own unique identity, from a top selling model is quite a challenge in itself. However, Nissan seems to have overcome this problem with quite aplomb.
As the Terrano is highly based on its Renault cousin, the Duster, comparisons are bound to be inevitable.
However, Nissan has gone to great lengths to give the Terrano a typical “Nissan-ish” look. Nissan claims that the Terrano comes with an entirely new outer shell and deviation from the Duster is easily apparent in the re-profiled hood, revised bumpers, new headlamps, new tail-gate and the doors.
The front end of the vehicle invokes memories of Pathfinder/Patrol. In keeping with Nissan`s “V” profile, the Terrano gets chunky chrome V slats type front grill. The big Nissan logo sits proudly in between the slats on the enlarged honeycomb grill. This profile goes lower and deeper in to the bumper and forms a nice line along with the re-designed angular double headlamps. On the top, the V profile extents into the new hood. The bumper carries a large air dam in the lower half and gets liberal dosage of brushed silver at its chin, thereby lending it an “off road ready” character.
The beefy wheels arches flow out from the bumpers and continue with a brushed silver mini foot board (a case of form winning over function here). The Terrano comes with silver roof rails (XV variants only) to complete the rugged go any-where look. Nissan has also introduced an up sweeping crease which is prominent on the rear door. This crease flows all the way into the rear wheel arches. This further helps in endowing the Terrano with its own identity. The rear fixed quarter glass is retained while giving the car a thick D pillar.
The rear does not disappoint at all, with the car getting a new set of tail lamps which extend all the way into the tail gate. This lends the Terrano a sublte `X` pattern. The license plate is housed under a big chrome garnish containing the tail gate lock. The bumper follows the design these seen on the rest of the car and carries a silver cladding in the lower half. Thankfully Nissan has covered the tow hook, which could have proved to be eyesores for an otherwise neatly designed rear.
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Interiors and Ergonomics
The Terrano`s interiors have been given a lot of beige treatment along with some black panels, all of which award the cabin with an airy and upmarket feel. In the XV Premium trim, it comes with all the toppings such as leather wrapped steering wheel (without audio controls), leather wrapped gear knob with chrome inserts, leather upholstery, and zebra wood door trim finish amongst others. Worth a mention here is that despite all the good looking interiors, the Terrano suffers from plastic quality. The plastics are rather hard and doesn’t help with invoking a sense of ‘premium-ness’. However, even though you might find an odd gap within the hard plastics, the same parts have a built to last feel and do not suffer from any rattle despite the pounding the car was put through.
The parts sharing with the Duster is evident, especially with the instrument panel, indicator stalks, door panels and overall dash design. Undoubtedly, the Terrano`s cabin looks smarter due to the squared off central AC vents and a push to release storage compartment atop.
The central console houses the 2 DIN Audio with integrated CD/MP3/FM/AM with Bluetooth, Aux in and USB support.
The AC controls are un-ergonomically placed under the stereo and ahead of the gear shifter lever. It also provides two cup holders ahead of the gear shifter lever and a 12 V socket. Another inconvenient feature remains the ORVM adjustment knob, which is placed right under the handbrake lever. This renders it in operational on the go.The headlight level adjuster knob is again oddly placed next to the hood release lever near the driver footwell. The passenger side contains a recessed storage as well as a deep, lit glove compartment.
The XV spec car also gets a dedicated central rear AC vent which is placed between the front seats however only carries a single circular vent and gets a 3 speed blower. The rear AC vent works best at level 2 while it gets noisy at level 3, it is also very effective since we missed it while driving the lower spec XL variants. The AC vent along with the transmission tunnel hump does mean a lot of compromise on the `leg room` for the third middle passenger.
The rear power window switches have been oddly placed as well and are inconveniently far behind on the door panel to be operated with ease. The XV variant comes with leather upholstery and adds to the premium feel of the interiors. The perforated beige leather panels of the seats have good quality while the fabric covered seats on the XE/XL and XV variants is nothing special to write home about.The support from the wide front seats themselves is adequate and come equipped with lumbar adjustment ( XV ) as well.
The rear seats though a bit firm, lack under thigh support and passengers over 5`10” might find the rear leg room congested.
The boot space, at 475 litres, is more than enough to contain most of our weekend luggage and then some more. The tough and recessed parcel shelf spanning the entire boot section is good to dump things on the go without having the fear of it moving around while the car is driven enthusiastically. The Terrano also gets a 12 v socket behind the rear passenger on the left, as well as dedicated roof mounted reading lights. Lift up the carpet in the boot and it reveals a flat floor. The spare wheel is tucked under the car and can be accessed by lowering the spare wheel cradle. This in particular is a thoughtful design and will turn out to be a boon when the boot is loaded with luggage. Also, it will also keep interiors from soiling during tyre replacement.
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Engine and Gear Box
As with the Renault Duster, the Nissan Terrano gives you 3 engine options to pick from- the 1.6l Petrol, the 1.5l Direct Injection Diesel engine with a fixed geometry turbo and the same 1.5l Direct Injection Diesel engine but with Variable geometry turbo. The 1.6l MPFI unit produces a max power of 104Ps@5850 rpm and max torque of 145Nm@3750 rpm. The diesels, in their different states of tune, produce 85Ps@3750rpm with max torque of 200Nm@1900 rpm and 110Ps@3900rpm and max twist of 248Nm@2250 rpm respectively. Sky rocketing Petrol prices and the rise of new age diesels mean that consumers will have lesser audacity to opt for the Petrol engine-d Terrano. Nissan has made the 110 Ps available across XL/XV/XV Premium variants. But which one drives better? Let us find out.
Since the Terrano is essentially a Duster under the skin, it is hard to resist comparisons every now and then. The overall experience should be similar to the Terrano`s donor car then. Or is it the case? Read on.
We started off from the Maharana Pratap Singh Airport ( Udaipur ) and were allocated the 110 Ps XV. As soon as we drove off, the turbo lag was evident in the traffic. The mildly clattery 110 Ps K9K mill produces peak torque from 2250 rpm. Anything below it and the car feels sluggish. However, once the turbo spools up, the Terrano becomes a zestful performer pulling away with a lot of gusto. The engine pulls clean and strong up to 4000 rpm after which the power quickly fades off. Overtaking, brisk highway cruising and in city driving is thoroughly enjoyable when the revs are maintained between 2500-3000 rpm.
The clutch on this version is a wee bit heavier than the one on the 85 PS sibling and can be a slight bother in stop and go traffic over sustained durations. The 110 Ps version comes with a 6 speed manual transmission with the 6th cog being the overdrive for relaxed highway cruising while the engine spins merrily at ~2200 rpm and the needle showing 100kph. Unless in absolute hurry, downshifting isn’t required to build speeds in the Terrano. , However, if given the stick, the 110 Ps can manage the 0-100 burst in less than 13 seconds. The engine`s eager revving manners were however played down once we made way through the ultra-narrow lanes of Udaipur, leading to the Lake Pichoula. The well spaced out gears however up the overall driving experience. The gears slot in perfectly and seem to be tuned for the city in conjunction to the power delivery of the engine. The turbo lag became the highlight while traversing through inclines and needed a healthy dose of revs to avoid jack rabbit drive. If you are an off road enthusiast, in our opinion you should seriously consider the 85 PS version which had plenty more drivability to it.
The 85 Ps version makes max torque at 1900 rpm and comes mated to a 5 speed gearbox, however in a true diesel fashion has the typical torquey feel right from the word go. Mild off roading is what we tried with the 85Ps Terrano and it happily obliged. This spec comes with a fixed geometry turbo however it outclasses the 110 PS versions when it comes to spike free and lag free drive. While the 85 Ps spec starts running out of breath over 140 kph at the same time it never feels underpowered. Driving the car around in city traffic isn`t a hassle and it manages to drive well on the highways too. We managed to get to 100 kph from a standstill in about 15 seconds; hence the 85 Ps is no slouch as the power output figures may suggest.
Coming to the off road test that we put the Terrano through, it came out with flying colours. The engines drivability impressed us which coupled with well-matched ratios as well as minimal turbo lag makes this an eager vehicle on the beaten roads. We threw some steep gradients peppered with large rocks at it and the Terrano gobbles everything in its path thanks to a fantastic package comprising of suspension setup, engine, gearbox, tyres and ofcourse the ground clearance.What’s surprising is that the Terrano is still not a 4 X 4, so as long as one exercises humanly gifted wisdom, this car will emerge out from the worst terrain.
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Ride and Handling
The Terrano’s dCi Pure Drive diesel variants come with Electro Hydraulic Power assisted steering while the petrol sibling gets hydraulic power assisted steering. The steering on the diesel versions feel a bit heavy at parking speeds. However, the heaviness is controlled enough to not give one a work out of any sorts when parking. However, we would have loved some more assistance to make a light work of the 5.2 m turning radius. While on the move, the steering does require a bit of input and lock especially at speeds between 40-60 kph while driving around a twisty road, hence the direct feel is missed. As the speeds built up, the same weighty feel works in its favour and the Terrano feels stable albeit marginal dead centre feel.
The Terrano has a soft and long travel suspension and rides on tallish 215/65 R16 tubeless MRF Wanderers.
It has 205 mm of ground clearance and as is evident from the pictures, projects the impression of a typical SUV, which rolls around corners like a boat. However, one will be gravely mistaken to assume the Terrano to handle like a typical SUV. The Terrano sports sedan like McPherson Strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar suspension up front, while the rear gets Torsion beam axle and coil spring, along with anti-rollbars. The ride and handling package is so well sorted out that it carries only minimal body roll (by SUV standards) while merrily munching away potholes and staying planted at high speeds, all at the same time!!
At speeds of around 20-30 kph, the suspension feels a bit harsh as the irregularities get filtered in, however step on the gas and the Terrano floats over anything up to small speed breakers with quite an aplomb. While on the drive back to the airport from the picturesque Kumbhalgarh fort, the Terrano got its fair share of broken patches and a chance to display its fantastic setup. The monocoque structure further helps the suspension setting to aid the Terrano`s drive and handling. All this while, the high ground clearance and suspension take the rough with the ease. We felt blessed driving the Terrano on a single lane, which had on display monsoon`s relentless wrath. We faced state transport buses and other aggressive local vehicles hurtling down at us, all we needed to do was drop a set of wheels of the tarmac and continue without bothering about the lunar like road surface.
The only grouse, if at all we have to talk about one, is the kickback from the steering while going through bad patches, which is highlighted specially on twisty bad roads. Overall, the Terrano exudes un-SUV like balance of ride quality, handling and highspeed stability.
For sure, Terrano owners across the length and breadth of the country will seldom complain about bad roads and the best way to make a mockery of potholes by not slowing down!
Go to next page to read our verdict
Summing it up..
The Terrano has been undoubtedly been blessed by a very able platform, and Nissan has done its job very well to lend it a fresh and aggressive look. However, when seen in profile, it can easily mistaken for a Duster. Check out the front end and the design comes into its own. The front fascia is distinctively reminiscent of those of some of the best off roaders Nissan sells globally.
Leaving aside some un-ergonomic bits, hard plastics and the little hard work you might need to put in when parking, the Terrano is a very able performer. During our flat out and harsh test runs, the 85 Ps version returned a fuel economy of around 15.9 kmpl. On the highways, with normal driving styles, we won`t be surprised if this figure touches close to 20 kmpl. With a 50 litre fuel tank, it gives the Terrano an astonishing 900+ kms range! Oh, and it won’t disappoint you if you are in a mood to mimic your favorite rally driver in the corners, unless of course you go overboard with it.
Without beating around the bush, it wouldn’t be too wrong to predict that such a well sorted out overall package would help the Terrano with posing as a serious competitor to the Ford Ecosport.
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Nissan Terrano Diesel 110PS XV
Body Type: Small SUV
Segment: Upper C Segment
Engine Displacement: 1461cc Diesel dCi
Engine Type: Diesel
Maximum Power: 108 Bhp @ 3900 rpm
Maximum Torque: 248 Nm @ 2250 rpm
Seating Capacity: 5
Tyre Size: 215/65 R16
Suspension: MacPherson Struts, torsion beam
Turning Circle: 5.20 mtrs
Boot Space: 475.00 ltrs.
Brakes: Front Disk, Rear Disk
Gears: 6 Manual
Ground Clearance: 210.00 mm
Fuel Tank: 45.00 litres
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