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September 1, 2021

Review: 2021 Nissan Terra VL 4x4

Typically, it’s hard to get excited over a refresh. What are you expecting? A new bumper? New wheels? A new color? Be that as it may, Nissan’s come out swinging when it comes to their so-called “big minor change.” First up, there’s the new Navara—a pickup truck that, on paper, might be six years old but thanks to a convincingly done refresh earlier this year, it’s managed to catapult itself once again as the segment’s best all-rounder (read our review here). And then, you have this, the new 2022 Terra. Its SUV derivative has now undergone its very own refresh, and guess what? It’s also managed to become the segment leader.

It’s hard to imagine but the Terra’s been around for just three years (the launch was in 2018). While it managed to tick the right boxes when it comes to style, performance, and practicality, you can’t shake the feeling that Nissan was merely content to benchmark it against its then contemporary rivals without a care for future proofing. As a result, the zeitgeist moved on very quickly, and the Terra aged ungracefully.

Realizing their shortcomings, Nissan has come up with the new Terra, and this time, it’s a much more convincing effort.

For starters, there’s the new sheet metal. The previous Terra was clean, if a bit bland. The new one, however, is much more of a standout. Successfully diverging from the Navara’s lines, it’s now much more high-tech and technical in its appearance. The new front-end treatment works very well in giving it added gravitas. The larger, upright grille and C-shaped quad-LED headlights lend it a Patrol-like vibe, while the reworked rear-end add a bit more character where it was previously missing. Overall, it passes the all-important driveway test, but it’s not without its flaws. The wheels, while generous at 18 inches, are considered to be pedestrian these days. Then, there’s the faux front quarter vent and the rear bumper cutout of there the rear foglamp is supposed to go—they both look out of place in what’s otherwise a sophisticated looking exterior.

Most people tend to talk about the Terra’s new look and for good reason, but frankly, the headline is actually the interior. This is where Nissan’s managed to make the biggest stride be it in styling, fit and finish, or tech.

For the 2022 update, Nissan basically ripped out the entire dashboard of the previous Terra and replaced it with one that’s more befitting of a modern mid-sized SUV. The two-tone black-and-red color scheme and quilted seats add some playfulness—something often lacking in other pickup-based SUVs—without coming across as too much. The plastics are predominantly hard to the touch, but they’re finished in a way that doesn’t make it look or feel cheap. Plus, the large leather-like topper serves as a welcome visual distraction. All the controls are top-notch too—the buttons, switches, and stalks all feeling crisp, intuitive, and classy.

The generous wheelbase (2,850 mm) and width (1,865 mm) are currently best-in-class, and this translates to great shoulder and legroom across all three rows. The second-row seats are mounted theater-style, and slides fore and aft in a 60/40 split for flexibility. Better still, the second row flips up with a single-action lever. The same action can be done with a pull switch on the center console making the use of the third row infinitely more convenient. The third-row itself is a knees-up affair, but headroom’s good and the seatback angle is adjustable giving passengers seated there better comfort than any other offering in this segment.

It’s very clear at this point that the new Terra meets all the hygiene factors for a family SUV—space, flexibility, and practicality. But to take leadership in this segment once more, Nissan had to go a step further, and with that, comes the tech. The second-row 11-inch flip-up screen’s been retained and with an HDMI input, passengers can play content from their Firestick TV, Google TV, or Apple TV. For those in the front, there’s a completely new 9-inch Nissan Connect infotainment system. Not only is it easy-to-use and navigate, but it also allows a degree of customizability. Oh, and yes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, with the former available in both wired and wireless (!) formats. Then, there’s the 8-speaker Bose sound system. It’s a segment-first offering that returns an above-class audio experience. A wireless charger located in front of the shifter, rain-sensing wipers, and speed-sensing door locks complete the package. Frankly, the only missing there is a power tailgate.

The new Terra remains solid when it comes to driver comfort and ergonomics. The new D-shaped steering wheel looks and feels nice, but only adjusts for tilt. Thankfully, the power adjustment for the driver’s seat more than makes up for it. Finding the comfy driving position is easy. The new seats are wide and supportive, while the new gauge cluster and its 7-inch Advance Drive Assist Display is intuitive and easy-to-understand. Visibility throughout is excellent thanks to the large windows and side mirrors. Oh, and this time around, Nissan didn’t forget to install a driver’s side grab handle. Thank goodness.

Carried over from the previous Terra is the tried-and-tested YD25DDTi engine. Making 190 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque, they aren’t class-leading numbers, but on the road, it offers good tractability and pull throughout its rev range. Like any other diesel engine, it can sound a bit agricultural, but compared to its competitors, the interior is far more hushed. The extensive sound deadening including the use of acoustic glass makes it possible to carry a conversation between the first two rows. The 7-speed gearbox itself uses a very low first gear, but spaces itself out nicely with 100 km/h arriving at a hairline below 2,000 rpm. Fuel economy maxes out at 8.13 km/L—not exactly a stellar number, but that’s probably because the engine still hasn’t been broken in.

When it comes to ride, the Terra is easily the plushest in the mid-sized SUV segment. It still won’t match a unibody crossover, but for the most part, it delivers. Small niggles, especially over small undulations do make their way into the cabin, but are largely hushed out; larger ones are quelled altogether. The secret here is the Terra’s ability to use its frame as a shock absorber and together with cabin mount bushings, results in a double vibration absorption effort.

The steering is still hydraulically assisted, but a quicker ratio means it takes lesser effort to make a full turn. It’s on the weighty side at lower speeds, but lightens up at speed. Likewise, it feels more planted and secure on the road, offering none of the floaty feel commonly associated with body-on-frame offerings. It’s also quite stable at tackling sudden lane change maneuvers. The brakes, now in a 4-wheel disc brake setup gives better bite and modulation than before.

As a tech-laden family SUV, Nissan can’t take any shortcuts when it comes to safety. Not only does it have 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, and Vehicle Dynamic Control with Hill Start Assist across all variants, but the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite has been upgraded too. Along with the 360-degree around view monitor with moving object detection, blind spot indicator and the camera-based rear-view mirror, it now gets automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor. In all honesty, there is one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb: the lack of 3-point seatbelts for all occupants. It’s already 2021, and as it stands, the second row’s middle occupant will have to live with a 2-point lap belt and the lack of a headrest. Weird.

For the most part, Nissan’s got cajones for lending us the new Terra even before its official launch. However, they seem confident of the package they’ve got and rightfully so. Despite being just a facelift or a refresh, the 2022 Terra serves up a masterful performance that not only ups the driving experience compared to everything else in its segment, but blows them all away. Convincingly. The Nissan Terra’s back in a very big, very convincing way.

2022 Nissan Terra VL 4x4

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Ownership 2022 Nissan Terra VL 4x4
Year Introduced 2018 (Refreshed: 2021)
Vehicle Classification Mid-sized SUV
Warranty 5 years / 150,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Low, Locking
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 190 @ 3,600
Nm @ rpm 450 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 7 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.69 km/L @ 19 km/h,
8.13 km/L @ 22 km/h,
9.17 km/L @ 28 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,890
Width (mm) 1,865
Height (mm) 1,865
Wheelbase (mm) 2,850
Curb Weight (kg) 2,150
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Five-Link w/ Coil Spring
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric
Tires Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 255/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 2, 2-pt Lap Belt x 1 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Forward Collision w/ Automatic Braking
Blindspot Warning
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40, sliding (2nd row)
50/50 (3rd row)
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Rear View Mirror Camera-based
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Auto, Dual Zone (front),
Manual (rear)
Audio System Stereo
USB Type-A
USB Type-C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 8, Bose
Steering Controls Yes


  1. it's a looker now, pero hindi ako mapakali dun sa chrome strip sa rear tailgate lol XD

  2. Wheel design is now the same as the honda civic rs turbo. xD


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