New 2013 Nissan Terrano review, test drive

Autocar India
First Published: 12:00 IST(17/9/2013)
Last Updated: 12:52 IST(19/9/2013)
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We’ve just driven the new Nissan Terrano SUV, Nissan’s version of the popular Renault Duster. 
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The Nissan Terrano is the third model in the Renault-Nissan India line-up to receive the badge-engineering treatment. However, this time, it’s Nissan that is tweaking a Renault product rather than the other way around. 
 
Unlike the other two badge-engineered models in the Renault-Nissan stable – the Scala and the Pulse – both of which have got mild tweaks to their exteriors to differentiate them from their Nissan equivalents; Nissan has gone a step further with the Terrano and made significant styling changes, including heavy alterations to the sheet metal. These include redesigned bumpers and lights and a new grille, all of which help the Nissan Terrano look like a proper Nissan. And there’s no doubt that the company has got a winner in the looks department. 
 
The Nissan Terrano’s revised V-shaped bonnet integrates nicely with the new Nissan-family grille. The grille itself looks inspired by the larger Nissan Pathfinder SUV sold internationally. The front bumper and lights are new, and the detailed styling around the fog lamps gives the Nissan Terrano a striking look when viewed head on.
 
Move to the side and you could mistake the Nissan Terrano for a Renault Duster. However, a closer look reveals that the Nissan Terrano features different, more rounded door panels that come with a new crease along their length. The Nissan Terrano’s B and C pillars are also blacked out unlike its French cousin’s. 
 
The rear has the familiar styling of the Renault Duster; however, the Nissan Terrano gets a different tail gate with tail-lamps that extend onto it. When viewed from the rear, the Nissan Terrano looks quite stylish in comparison to its Renault sibling. A prominent chrome bar sits on the top of the number-plate housing, above which sits a big Nissan ‘hamburger’ logo.  While the base and the mid-spec trims get steel wheels, the higher variants come with stylish alloy wheels. 
 
Move to the inside, and you’ll notice that there’s more beige on the Nissan Terrano’s interior than in the Duster; although the base trim is expected to come with all-black interiors. The Nissan comes with a different steering wheel with silver-finish inserts, giving it a slightly more upmarket feel. However, there are no column-mounted controls for the audio system. The central air-con vents are now squared off and the storage space on top of the dash comes with a lid. The audio system is also new and comes with a CD player, aux-in, USB and Bluetooth mobile connectivity as well. Some bits that we didn’t like on the Renault Duster, like the awkwardly placed wing-mirror control knob under the handbrake lever, are unfortunately carried over to the Nissan Terrano.  
 
Interior passenger space is similar to the Renault Duster and there is reasonable room for three passengers. Boot space also remains the same as well. 
 
The Nissan Terrano comes with the same 1.5-litre dCi diesel powerplant in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp. There’s also a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, as is the 84bhp diesel. The 109bhp diesel comes paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. 
 
There have been no mechanical changes from the Duster and this means, the Terrano more or less drives similar to the Renault.  The clutch on the 109bhp diesel is a little on the hard side, which can get a bit tiring for your left foot during stop and go traffic. It pulls really well past 2500rpm, and will carry on until around 4000rpm, after which the power tails off. The engine has strong midrange which means overtaking on single lane roads is not much a problem. It’s also a very good highway cruiser. We did notice a bit of turbo lag initially, but once the motor hits the sweet spot, the Nissan Terrano pulls strongly. 
 
We also drove the petrol Nissan Terrano, and here too, it’s just as we experienced with the Renault Duster. The engine is smooth for the most part, and the power build-up is linear. You feel it get into its stride from around 2000rpm and keeps going till about 4500rpm. It will rev to a 6400rpm redline, but the power tails off at about 5000. It also sounds harsh at this point, and you feel a lot of vibration through the steering wheel and the pedals. The five-speed gearbox is light to use, but it does feel a tad notchy.
 
In terms of ride, unsurprisingly, the Terrano does brilliantly. It smothers even the biggest of potholes with ease and you don’t have to slow down for rough roads. In fact, the faster you go over rough surfaces, the better the ride.
 
As for handling, the Terrano feels very stable at high speeds and rarely gets out of shape. Even in normal driving, the handling is pretty impressive for a high-riding SUV. There is a bit of body roll due to the soft suspension setup, but it is never too much. And you always feel in control of the car. Also, when you want to have fun, the car’s direct steering is quite rewarding. It’s light enough when you want it to be and weighs up at speed, and this adds to the overall fun. 
 
Overall, the Terrano is a good attempt by Nissan to make its mark in the hugely popular compact SUV segment in India. The styling changes made by Nissan may only be only be skin deep, but they really help the Terrano stand out from its Renault-badged cousin. We expect Nissan to price the Terrano’s lower-powered 84bhp diesel version at around Rs. 9.15 lakh, going up to Rs. 12.83 lakh for the 109bhp XV Premium version. The petrol, meanwhile, should start at around Rs. 8.39 lakh. At these prices, the Terrano will make an attractive addition to the burgeoning compact SUV segment. 
 
Fact File

Engine
Fuel                   Petrol / Diesel / Diesel
Installation         Front, transverse
Type                 4 cyls, 1598cc petrol / 4 cyls 1461cc diesel
Power               103bhp at 5850rpm / 83.8ps at 3750rpm / 109bhp at 3900rpm
Torque              14.7kgm at 3750rpm / 20.39kgm at 1900rpm / 25.2kgm at 2250 rpm
Transmission
Type                  front-wheel drive
Gearbox            5-speed manual / 5-speed manual / 6-speed manual
Dimensions
Length                    4331mm
Width                     1822mm
Height                    1671mm
Wheel base            2674mm
Ground clearance   205mm
Chassis & Body
Wheels                16-inch steel / 16-inch alloy
Brakes
Front                    Discs
Rear                     Drums
Economy
Tank size              50 litres

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