A cure for lockdown blues: 2022 Nissan Terra VL 4x2

A cure for lockdown blues: 2022 Nissan Terra VL 4x2

The concept of family cars always had a bad reputation especially among car enthusiasts. For some car fans, the thought of owning and driving a huge, hulking and poorly handling car that can seat seven and has a hundred cupholders inside means that they’ve given up on gearhead dreams and have submitted to the sad reality that life has finally caught up with them.

In the Philippine market however, nothing can be further from the truth. SUVs are held in high regard because of the aforementioned points, and the 2022 Nissan Terra capitalizes on our love for large, diesel-fed people movers.

Filipinos love to head out on the open road, for out-of-town trips and family excursions as well as the occasional jaunt with the squad. The fact that passengers are ensconced and cocooned within the confines of a large vehicle adds a level of security from the outside world and also adds more to the appeal of SUVs in the market. We Filipinos love to travel in groups, and the more the merrier! The pandemic, though, had other ideas.

Nissan Terra quarter front

For more than a year and a half, we’ve all been stuck at home and travel — let alone in a group — has been severely restricted. Everything from out-of-town trips, heading out to the beach, and even the mundanity of eating out and watching a movie means having to risk health and safety. Working from home, becoming a plantita, binge-watching on Netflix, and home workouts are now our reality, and cabin fever is slowly becoming a real thing. Suddenly family-oriented cars such as the 2022 Nissan Terra take on an entirely new persona to become the next best thing, the perfect pandemic partner. Nissan Philippines just might be sitting on its most important release of this year.

Exterior

First off, the exterior. The previous Nissan Terra exuded a sense of macho pride from its sharp, chiseled body lines and blacked-out bumpers and lights; the outgoing Terra was marketed more for the outdoorsy type. It was as if they knew that the SUV was meant to be taken out on an adventure, but it feels like a lifetime ago when the Terra was first released and everyone was encouraged to go out.

The 2022 Nissan Terra showcases a something of a paradigm shift in terms of design and execution — enticing buyers to enjoy the great indoors. It now looks like luxury comfort on wheels. 

Nissan Terra wide city skyline

The 2022 Nissan Terra now features a more sophisticated and properly carved front end with arrow-shaped headlamps. Within these headlamps reside Nissan’s all-new quad projector bulbs first seen in the Nissan Navara Pro-4X. The grill has also been reworked to feature more chrome. As a rule, I’ve conditioned myself to dislike the shiny stuff especially on exterior bits, but as long as the chrome fits with the overall design as is the case with the 2022 Nissan Terra, I am all for it! The hood rides awfully high and features bulges that start at the headlamps which are quite beneficial for the driver to determine their surroundings relative to the car. It also looks just so damn cool.

Nissan Terra quad projectors

The side profile remains unchanged from the outgoing model, with large fender flares bulging out of the wheel wells, omitting the need for black plastic cladding seen in other SUVs. The 2022 Nissan Terra needs no cladding or padding for bulk; it’s all body. New 18-inch, two-tone alloy wheels steal the show clad in Highway Terrain tires. Having those HT tires might affect the Terra’s off-roading capabilities with smaller grooves but these show what the car was meant for in the first place (more on that on the drive later). I had high hopes with the side garnish on the front fender and thought it could be an air vent to cool off the brakes but unfortunately it doesn't go anywhere and is just there for decorative purposes.

2022 Nissan Terra

Heading over to the rear, the LED tail lamp clusters have also been changed to feature a more sleek implementation over the previous model’s. A brushed metallic colored skid plate completes the overall look and mimics the one in the front. If I had one gripe with the rear design it would be the chrome trim that arches right above the Nissan logo and Terra Badge. The placement seems to be arbitrary and doesn’t integrate well with any other body panel. It also squeezes the Nissan logo too close to the Terra badging that will surely create nightmares for people with obsessive compulsion. Nissan might have done away with it and I’m curious if lower trims have the same issue.

2022 Nissan Terra

Interior

Now onto the star of the show. The entire interior has been revamped to offer a more luxurious feel with two-tone burgundy and black leather taking center stage. The new D-shaped, leather-wrapped steering wheel takes the cake for me and I am instantly fawning over the 2022 Nissan Terra’s interior. That steering wheel also has a quicker steering ratio for easy maneuvering but sadly is only adjustable for rake and not reach. It does have nice media and call control buttons but I miss having to adjust the steering wheel for reach, considering my T-Rex like arms.

Nissan Terra Front Cockpit

Further changes include a shorter shift knob, a new high-contrast seven-inch advanced drive assist display between the gauges, new dual zone automatic AC gauges, and a stunning nine-inch high- definition infotainment system with an eight-inch Bose Sound system, Android Auto and (a first in the segment) wireless Apple CarPlay.

Nissan Terra 9 inch infotainment

The interior implements Nissan’s Zero-Gravity seats inspired by how NASA space pilots are seated to mitigate the effects of g-forces during takeoff. These truly are one of the best in the business as even during extended periods of sitting, my posterior wasn’t sore; my lumbar was well supported as well. The second- and third-row seats are situated higher up as well for better outdoor visibility and to enjoy the glorious 11-inch fold down screen. Imagine the possibilities of that screen!

Nissan Terra 11 inch flip screen

If there wasn’t a pandemic, I would have called it the perfect family car with the screen, gaggle of cup holders and USB ports perfect to keep the kids distracted in the back, but now imagine working anywhere, or enjoying a Netflix show or movie with takeout food. Enjoying the show from the screen and at the comfort of Nissan’s legendary cold AC system, makes me forget that this was supposed to be a family car, no. This is the perfect partner for those lockdown blues.

Nissan Terra front seats

Performance and fuel economy

I’m ready to call it a day after enjoying the interior amenities. Where can one go when the air we breathe outside wants to make us sick? Thankfully, the 2022 Nissan Terra doesn’t disappoint in the performance department.

Nissan Terra turbodiesel engine

Under the hood resides the tried-and-tested YD25DDTi 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine that makes 187hp at 3,600rpm and 450Nm at 2,000rpm. This is the same engine found on the previous Nissan Terra, and I am perfectly fine with it. Power delivery isn’t abrupt but comes in a linear manner. While my fellow car reviewers might find this as a bummer, it’s actually the devil you know that delivers more than the devil you don’t.

This engine has proven its mettle over the years as quite powerful, reliable, and fuel-efficient at the same time, and I think these are great qualities needed from a truck or SUV engine, am I right? Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Nissan Terra side profile

Powering the rear wheels on this variant is a seven-speed automatic transmission that’s so smooth, I could’ve sworn this was a CVT. There’s a manual mode option if I wanted to row through my own gears but the computer is smart enough and the engine is powerful that I never found the need to use it. The revs are willing to hold if I need to overtake a vehicle or climb an incline and if one were familiar with the backroads on the way to Antipolo, one knows those inclines are no joke. MacPherson struts and a multi-link independent rear suspension keep the ride smooth and stable and thanks to the Highway Terrain-rated tires, passengers would certainly appreciate one of the smoothest rides in a diesel SUV. 

Nissan Terra gauges

The 80-liter fuel tank makes sure that owners have enough diesel fuel to last longer trips, or long idling times during Netflix and chill moments. Fuel misers would be happy to know that the 2022 Nissan Terra does 8kpl in the city and 16kpl on the highway, which isn’t bad considering the weight it carries and power under the hood. Hybrid levels of fuel economy might want to search elsewhere but this is the best one will get from large diesel-fed truck-based SUVs.

Safety

Nissan places safety in such high regard with the 2022 Nissan Terra that it deserves its own section in my review. Nissan Intelligent Mobility is the brand’s suite of active and passive driving assistive technology to ensure a smooth and safe driving experience. It consists of features working in tandem like Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent control, Intelligent Around View Monitor which is a 360-degree camera system to assist drivers to get a better view of their surroundings. The Terra also has Blind Spot Warning, the ingenious Intelligent Rear view mirror which streams an actual video feed on the rear view mirror for added visibility as well as Lane Departure Warning.

Nissan Terra rear quarter right

New to the 2022 Nissan Terra are additional features to the Nissan Intelligent Mobility System like Forward Collision Warning and Emergency braking, Driver Alertness monitors, and rear cross traffic alert. Standard features such as six airbags, ABS, tire pressure monitoring, parking sensors, a rear camera and, of course, seatbelts are also included.

Price and conclusion

The 2022 Nissan Terra starts at P 1,649,000 for the entry-level EL variant that comes with a manual transmission and basic safety features and 17-inch alloy wheels. Climbing up to the VE variant affords buyers the luxury of the 18-inch wheels as well as the nice infotainment system but that hikes the price to P 1,829,000. The full-fat VL trim has all the bells and whistles mentioned in this review and starts at P 1,999,000 for the 4x2 and 2,339,000 for the 4x4 variant.

Nissan Terra front quarter dutch

Diesel-powered seven-seater SUVs have always been the #GOALS of all families and barkadas alike and are now the perfect cars for beating pandemic cabin fever. The 2022 Nissan Terra does battle in a highly competitive market dominated by the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Isuzu Mu-X and the Ford Everest. Buyers can also opt for seven-seater crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-8, and newcomers Maxus D60 Elite, Geely Okavango, and GAC GN8 which may possibly offer a smoother and more refined ride but none of them offer the rugged appeal of a body on frame, diesel SUV.

Nissan Terra with reviewer

Adaptation is human kind’s best attribute. Evolving through hardship and coming out tougher and better on the other side is what enables our species to survive. It’s a whole new world from what it was just a few years ago, and many of the things we found mundane are now experiences we want to cherish yet again. Going to the movies, hanging out with friends, chatting with co-workers around the pantry and water cooler. The Nissan Terra and all it’s family-oriented features, might just be what you’re looking for to capture those moments yet again.

Photos by Roy Robles

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