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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Nissan's Senior Design Director Reveals Interesting Facts About The New Terra's Design

The new Nissan Terra has now hit Philippine streets, as a family SUV with bolder looks and best-in-class entertainment and safety (you can read our launch story here, or our review of the Terra VL 4x4 here).

But from when it was just a sketch and concept a few years ago at Nissan’s Global Design center, Ken Lee, Nissan Global Senior Design Director shares what went on in designing the new Terra.

Question: Tell us about the inspiration behind Terra’s many design upgrades?

Ken Lee: The new Terra was made to have dynamic modernity, and be protective and strong. At the front we wanted it to have bold presence, so the design is more upright, and the grille and bumpers get more prominent. Then we balance that imposing SUV strength, with high tech lighting and sleek lines. It creates contrast that creates the unexpected—a Nissan design signature.

Q: What is your favorite `unexpected’ detail about Terra’s design?

KL: Definitely the headlights and tail lights, they are the car’s jewelry. People love signature lamps, so we invest a lot of energy and time in the lighting. They need to be distinctive, yet very functional. So, the LED projectors take less energy, but shine 34 percent brighter. Looking closely at the Terra’s headlights, the cube formation is eye-catching and each bezel that holds the lights are intricately designed—it looks like modern architecture. Then the signatures are slim and horizontal, giving that very high-tech feel. Designers really take pride in attention to detail.

Q: People have commented about shared inspiration between Nissan Terra and legendary Nissan Patrol – is it true?

KL: Our design studio in Japan is a huge, long building. There are many rooms with different products being developed. The Terra was being developed in one room with full sized clay models. A little further down, the Patrol was being developed. It was the great benefit of developing them at the same time, they inspired each other!

Q: You have said a car’s interior should make people say `wow.’ How did you achieve this in Terra?

KL: We always start out with what customers would like more of. For the Terra, it was more `premium and luxurious.’ The interior should give an inviting feeling, but have a sense of `wow.’ For those who want something interesting, the two-tone is for you!

The instrument panel is wrapped in soft material and spans from one end to another. It looks strong, but because it’s soft, its premium and rich—not just a boring rectangle. The satin silver finisher adds a refined quality. Finally, we incorporate a bigger center screen so it’s more upscale and high-tech, this is the `wow’ part.

Q: You believe beauty is in small details, is this the same for the Terra’s design?

KL: Yes, a great example is the increased chrome that gives the Terra a premium look. But it’s the design details playing with the chrome that add something extra. Look closely at the Terra hood, there is a sharp crease that runs through the light onto the grille. The grille is not just two dimensional, it has a clever interface of parts interlocking together with beautiful precision. So, the headlamps, the grille they feel seamless. Then in the rear, there is a chrome center bar which connects the tail lamps together, it’s unusual because most finishers are just horizontal. But the bridge movement gives structure and strength.

Q: Which new Terra color would you buy?

KL: I personally love the Twilight Gray [editor’s note: sadly, the Philippines doesn’t get this color but we do have Lunar Metallic Gray or Brilliant Silver], and definitely the burgundy interior because it looks luxurious. So, the exterior is stealthy and stylish, then the burgundy interior scheme gives that exclusive character.

Q: The Japanese-inspired seat patterns are unique, why was that added?

KL: To add tactile richness. At Nissan there is always a sense of Japanese craftsmanship. There is no specific pattern—as the designers get inspired, when they draw it comes out. That’s the magic.

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