Back in 2019, my parents decided to pull the trigger on a brand-new Nissan Terra. It was relatively new at the time, having been in the market for only less than a year. So you can imagine our surprise when Nissan released a facelifted model in November 2020. “Agad-agad?” was one of the first few questions that popped up.
What made it even more interesting was the fact that this is one of Nissan’s biggest refreshes in recent years considering just how many changes the Terra got. That’s why we were all stoked when we found out Nissan Philippines (NPI) announced the vehicle’s arrival.
Luckily for me, I was given the opportunity to try this one out right away. I was recently handed the keys to a Nissan Terra 2.5L VL 4x2 AT, which is the exact same variant as our family’s Terra. What does this Terra owner think about the new and updated model, then? Read on to learn more.
What Nissan has done to the Terra’s design is similar to what it did to the Navara’s: It’s just a mid-cycle refresh, but the changes are quite big. Stylish headlamps flank the massive new grille that now features horizontal chrome slats. There’s also a new skid plate underneath. The front fascia looks bolder than before, and I actually think this one has a more Patrol-like appearance.
Nissan didn’t leave the rear untouched, either. The chrome strip has been moved to form an arch connecting the new-look taillights, and a skid plate is fitted on this end to match the one up front. Frankly, though, I still can’t say that I like the redesigned rear better; I’ll give it more time, maybe it’ll eventually grow on me.
The interior has gotten as drastic a redesign as the exterior. In fact, I can’t recall how many times somebody asked me about how this new Terra is just a refreshed/facelifted model and not an all-new one after seeing the inside (cc: my parents). And if you ask me, it’s a darn good refresh.
While there remain some plastic bits to go around and the amount of space available hasn’t changed one bit, this is still a huge upgrade. The dash is now adorned with red leather and it not only looks good but it also adds a nice contrast to the cockpit.
The seats’ new color and pattern match the new interior quite well, too. A new mechanism has also been added to the third-row seats, making it easier to pull them up or fold them down. It seems like a minor tweak, but anyone who’s ever had to adjust these same seats on the old Terra will understand just how helpful this is.
The engine powering this Terra variant is a familiar 2.5-liter turbodiesel that churns out 187hp and 450Nm of torque and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. I really don’t think it matters that Nissan kept the old powertrain, because this is still one of the punchiest units in its segment. I’ve had zero complaints about this in the past, and that remains to be the case for this new Terra.
Fuel economy is still fairly decent. I got about 10-11km/L in mixed conditions without paying much attention to the reading on the instrument cluster.
Ride and handling
As with the old Terra, the refreshed model is still as nimble as ever. There were no mechanical changes, anyway, so ride comfort is still the same. It still has that good balance between firm and floaty.
There’s one minor thing I noticed regarding noise suppression, though. Compared with the old Terra, you’ll now hear less of the road beneath you but more of the cars beside you when you’re driving on the highway. But for the most part, NVH levels are still the same.
Nissan has recently been expanding its safety features to more models and variants, and it has done the same with the new Terra. The one I tried out wasn’t even the top-of-the-line variant, but it still had all the bells and whistles.
In addition to the blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning features that were already available in the old Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite, the new Terra also has a bunch of extra tech including rear cross-traffic alert and forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking.
A nine-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay is mounted up front. The latter is nice, but I wasn’t really able to use it that much being the Android user that I am. What I did use often was the wireless charger on the center console.
The new 11-inch flip-down rear monitor now has HDMI input as well. I wasn’t able to find out if clips played through the USB port still had problems matching audio and video timing, but I reckon this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re playing anything through via HDMI.
Despite all these, however, I’m still disappointed that the steering wheel still only has tilt adjustment. I can live without rain-sensing wipers, paddle shifters, or a sunroof, but more flexibility for the tiller is something I think all modern cars should have. Thank goodness these Zero Gravity seats on the higher variants have 10-way power adjustment, so I didn’t have a hard time finding the right seat position.
Another small thing I would’ve liked Nissan to add would be an auto-hold function. They’ve already given the SUV a new electronic parking brake, anyway, so they should’ve gone ahead added this particular feature, too.
With one major update, Nissan has managed to get back on a par with (or even one-up) its newer competitors all while addressing some of the biggest gripes that Terra owners have had in the past. Biases aside, I think this is one of the midsize SUVs to beat in our market right now, especially this VL 4x2 variant that’s being offered at just a smidge under P2 million.
NPI has its work cut out for it if it wants its SUV to catch up with the Toyota Fortuner in terms of sales, but I won’t be surprised if I start seeing more and more of this refreshed Terra on our roads over the next year or so.
SPECS: 2021 Nissan Terra 2.5 VL 4x2 AT
Engine: 2.5-liter turbodiesel I4
Power: 187hp @3,600rpm
Torque: 4,500Nm @ 2,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
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