The much-anticipated Nissan Terrano, which is essentially a re-badged Renault Duster, has been formally unveiled. The Terrano is the third model to receive the cross-badging treatment in the Renault-Nissan alliance. However, this time around, it is Nissan that’s borrowing a Renault product to sell under its own brand.
However, Nissan hasn’t just stuck its ‘hamburger’ emblems on the new Terrano. The Japanese company has invested in making some significant styling and sheet metal changes that go beyond soft parts like the bumpers, lights and grille, to make the Duster-based SUV look like a pukka Nissan. And there’s no doubt that the company has succeeded.
TheTerrano’s bonnet gets revised character lines that form a slight ‘V’, which flows into the new nose with its distinctive Nissan family grille, inspired by the larger Pathfinder SUV. The all-new headlamps look quite striking, and the re-sculpted single-colour front bumper also looks a lot sharper with more detailing around the fog lamps. In profile, the Terrano will be mistaken for a Duster, but a closer look does reveal more rounded door panels with a new crease running along their length and blacked out B- and C-pillars.
The rear also looks familiar, thoughthe stylish split tail-lamps will differentiate the Nissan Terrano from its Renault sibling. The SUV in our pictures is the mid-spec petrol variant that comes with steel wheels, but the fully loaded trims will sport stylish alloys.There are also a few other additions like a gas strut to keep the bonnet in place; little details that Nissan hopes will justify the Terrano’s expected price premium over the Duster.
TheNissan Terrano’s cabin has also been tweaked with more beige plastics, (the base variant will be all black), a new steering wheel, squared-off central air-con vents similar to those on the new Micra, and a lid for the dash top storage. There is also a new entertainment unit with a CD player, Aux-in and USB inputs, and Bluetooth mobile connectivity. Unfortunately, ergonomic snafus from the Duster are carried over, like the awkwardly-placedwing mirror adjusters under the handbrake lever. With no structural changes to the cabin, passenger space is identical to the Duster’s with reasonable room for three passengers to be comfortable in the rear and a very generous boot space.
Like the other badge-engineered products from the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Nissan Terrano will share its powertrains with the Duster. So expect the 1.5-litre DCi diesel to be available in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp, as well as a 1.6-litrepetrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The more powerful diesel mated to a six-speed gearbox has a bit of turbo-lag but pulls strongly once revs pick up. The 84bhp version of the Renault engine, like we have seen in the lower powered diesel Duster, is more tractable and offers a more linear power delivery.
There are no mechanical changes either, which means you can expect the Nissan Terrano to drive just like the Duster. And that’s a good thing. The Duster has set a benchmark for ride and handling, which the Nissan Terrano inherits as well. The long travel suspension, finely tuned by Renault, works brilliantly on all surfacesand the flat and consistent ride quality will certainly be one of the Nissan Terrano’s strengths.
With the Nissan Terrano and Renault Duster essentially the same vehicle under the skin, it all boils down to the looks.
There’s no doubt that the Nissan Terrano looks better and more upmarket than the Duster, but is it worth the Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 75,000 premium the Terrano is likely to ask for over the Duster? That’s a question every buyer will be contemplating.