Nissan Terrano 2017 : Driven

Compiled by Zahoor Hassan

Compact SUV’s off-lately are becoming a trend for the Indian market. However, with our cities deteriorating traffic conditions coupled with massive traffic jams and congestion the user started to look for something convenient. Thus, many manufacturers like Nissan have entered into “automatic” space wherein all their original butch DNA is retained. Some went a step ahead and offered the top of the trim with Automatic only variant (Read Ford Endeavour 3.2) 

Flashback 2013 : Nissan launches one of the most anticipated SUV, the Terrano in India

2017 : Nissan decides to give it a mid-life face-lift with 22 new features and the AMT variant that we drove is priced at 14.31 lakhs (Ex-India)

Nissan Terrano, is the third and last shared product from the Nissan-Renault alliance. However, this time, it’s Nissan that is tweaking a Renault product rather than the other way around which they followed for the last two products. We take the Terrano to the mystic mountains of Chikmagalur to put it on test in some challenging conditions to find out if its worth the $$$. It left us surprised or puzzled? Stay tuned..


Likes :

+ Ride quality. Period.

+ The AMT gearbox offers a perfect blend between the city commute and those occasional highway drives

+ Massive 205 mm of ground clearance will leave the under-body unscrapped in most of the driving conditions. Also, the boot space is massive with 1064 liters

+ Superb NVH levels. Once inside, Difficult to differentiate it from its petrol sibling

Dislikes :

–  The Terrano Could have been better feature-loaded at this price point. Absence of auto-locking doors, reverse parking camera, projector headlamps, rear AC vents etc

–  Cost cutting is evident, no redlining of tachometers and flimsy control knobs

– Thanks to the poor ergonomics, It would take a couple of courses to get used to this car. Weird placement of ORVM adjustment knob below the handbrake and the placement of power window switches add to the woes

– While the front disc brakes tick most of the right boxes in dry tarmac, rear disc brakes are sorely missed in slippery & challenging conditions

The rear remains totally unchanged:DSC_0112-2

The fog lamps were extremely useful in the hills where the visibility was barely few meters:DSC_0134-3

The track uphill had multiple potholes and craters, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise to test the brilliant ride quality:DSC_0218-4

The front fascia has a pair of chrome slashes on the grill representing Nissan’s brand identity:DSC_0233-5

The most imposing stance is the front quarter and looks more duster-like. Notice the large wheel arches and the large air dam:DSC_0235-6

The bonnet crease neatly aligns with the chrome slashes. The L shaped DRL’s are a dealer accessory and not a standard fitment from the factory. Would have been great if the DRL’s were integrated in the headlamps to add a taste of elegance:DSC_0268-7

The Terrano made its global Debut in 1985 and the Nissan DNA is quite evident in every sheet metal of this car:DSC_0276-8

Ask a non-enthusiast and he will mistake this for the duster when viewed this way: DSC_0280-9

The new machine finished alloy wheels look simply superb. Leaps ahead of the ones on the duster, which certainly show their age. Also they act as a differentiating factor from its sibling, Duster when viewed sideways:DSC_0281-10

The side steps are offered as an accessory. A strict nono if you plan to take the car for occasional off-roading. By off-roading we mean off the tarmac, you can’t think of venturing our in the mud/slush with the Terrano, an AWD variant unlike the Reanault counterpart is sorely missed:DSC_0282-11

Reminds you of those cars from the 80’s and 90’s era:DSC_0284-12

The ORVM’s offered a decent amount of view, although a wider mirror would have made things easier:DSC_0285-13

The front windshield washer offer a great amount of throw:DSC_0288-14

The wiper stacks look thin, one of the key areas of evident cost-cutting by Nissan: DSC_0291-15

The roof rails add to the already sporty character of the Terrano:DSC_0293-16

Variant badging on the front right fender, The top line with the AMT is XV:DSC_0295-17

The rear remains exactly the same as the pre-facelift model. A hit or a miss:DSC_0300-18

The tail lamps spread inwards. Look tough, yet elegant:DSC_0306-19

Notice the parking sensors, the rear view camera was sorely missed for the car at this price bracket. Nissan, seriously?DSC_0313-20


We were surprised with the low-end torque it offered to come out of some tricky situations like this:DSC_0327-22

Quite a looker, isn’t it? It did grab some eyeballs on our way up the hills:DSC_0336-23



The inclusion of skid plates adds to the SUV stanceDSC_0365-26

An ample ground clearance of 205 mm is sufficient to handle some serious obstacles. This coupled with the short wheel base of the Terrano and a 4×4 would have been an off-roaders delight. Since the Terrano is built on a monocoque construction and not a ladder-on-frame this had to go off the wishlist:DSC_0368-27

Although, the Terrano is quite similar to its Renault sibling, many agreed that it looks much better than the Duster. Thanks to the large chrome grill(We Indians love chrome, don’t we?)  width=

The trapezoidal headlamps are sharper at the edges and employ a 4 pot arrangement. Notice the absence of projectors at this $$$DSC_0380-29

There are prominent creases on the bonnet which lend a hint of sophistication to the design.  Nissan  should have added a set of headlights with inbuilt LED DRL’s:DSC_0391-31

Rear windshield washers with windshield integrated dimensters. The stopping light is quite right in place:DSC_0395-32

Unlike the front wipers, the rear wipers are single speed:DSC_0398-33

Stopping power offered by the front disc brakes is sufficient for the normal usage.  The car showed no nervousness at high speed braking on the tarmac. The absence of rear disc brakes complicate things in slippery conditions:DSC_0399-34

Integrated indicators on the ORVM’s. We would prefer the indicator console to extend a bit further inside:DSC_0404-35

Clear lens tail lamps. Both the tail lamps get reverse lights, thankfully: DSC_0409-36

There are prominent panel gaps around the tail gate as well which could have been avoided in a premium cross over like this. Also, we found a variation in the panel gap of the left Vs right tail lamp. The meaty chrome cluster at the rear again reminds us of How much we love chrome! DSC_0480-49

With its distinctive design, the Terrano does manage to turn some heads. Thankfully, the design team did not go overboard enthusiastically like the one from Mahindra(You can’t take the KUV 100 off your mind when it comes to going overboard with the design) DSC_0482-50


‘Terrano’ badging at the rear. Thanks to this, even a lay-man can differentiate it from the Duster:  DSC_0508-54


The biggest change is to the interiors. Walk-in and you are greeted by the black-chocolate brown interiors .The brown and black combination actually does make the compact SUV look a lot more premium that it was earlier (with the beige leather). The soft touch dashboard too gets the same two-tone treatment with a black upper half and a brown lower half. the Terrano gets a 7-inch touchscreen with inbuilt navigation, iPod support and Bluetooth. The Terrano also now gets cruise control and a much needed driver seat fold down hand rest which is a boon especially if you have the AMT version like we had:


ECO mode for the “Kitna deti hai”?DSC_0443-38

The MID also displays the real time fuel efficiency. It is quite strange that neither of the petrol or the diesel trims get a redlining on the tachometer. Small yet significant feature, sorely missed:DSC_0444-39

The AMT is a boon for the city traffic:DSC_0448-40

12V socket and front cup holders with removable ashtray.The “Eco” mode is activated by this button: DSC_0450-41

Absence of clutch pedal = Fatigue free drive. A simple dead pedal would have done the trick in those long drives: DSC_0452-42

Unlike most of the other cars, the audio controls aren’t integrated on the steering they are housed in a lever behind the steering wheel. Hit or miss? You choose. DSC_0453-43

The Terrano facelift gets backlit switches for the power window controls. Also, notice the positioning of the power window switches, they go all the way to the front. Its quite a task to use them: DSC_0456-44

Nissan added 22 new features to the Terrano but omitted a key feature from the 2017 model, the rear AC vents. In a airy cabin like this, it is a sweaty situation in the scotching summers of India. From an optimist perspective, this resulted in better legroom for the 5th passenger:DSC_0463-45

The Terrano also features a new matching dual-tone fabric upholstery for the leather  seats. The driver’s seat now gets a much needed foldable armrest, makes a lot of sense in the AMT version especially. The seats could have been more supportive:  DSC_0468-46

For your aviators or those pricey toll tickets: DSC_0470-47

The plastics used are quite hard, could have definitely been on a softer side to appeal to the mass market. The chrome surround on the AC vents make a big difference in the overall aesthetics. Notice the small storage area above the dashboard. While we anticipated that this would lead to reflection in the windscreen, luckily this wasn’t so:DSC_0471-48

We decided to take the Terrano in this grass and the MRF wanderers left no room for appreciation in the grass/mud. However, they offered great grip over tarmac in dry conditions. Again, an AWD variant at-the-least is sorely missed:DSC_0485-51

The large rear window adds to the airy feeling unlike the claustrophobic Ecosport. The rear windows do not go all the way down, they are stopped at 80% of their bandwidth: DSC_0496-52



Mechanically, the Terrano remains unchanged. You get two engine options – a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol motor and a 1.5 litre diesel that is available in two stages of tune. The petrol engine makes 102 bhp and 145 Nm of peak torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The diesel engine on the other hand is offered with an 84 bhp and 200 Nm avatar or a 108 bhp and 245 Nm of peak torque. The diesel is mated to either a five speed manual for the lower powered SUV or a 6-speed manual for the 108 bhp version. The 108 bhp version also gets a 6-speed AMT gearbox and that is the we Drove.

Overall, the Terrano AMT is great to drive. In automatic mode, it does dull out the performance, but makes light work of negotiating traffic. The AMT even has a crawling function. Once engaged into ‘Drive’ mode, the car starts inching forward without any prodding from the throttle. This works really well when you have to spend a lot of time in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

In manual mode, it’s actually fun to drive if you take your foot off the gas while up shifting. Although this results in slightly unpredictable power delivery and there is a lag followed by a strong push because unlike a conventional automatic, the AMT doesn’t mask lag. There’s an Eco mode as well, but that up-shifts early and dims the firepower from the turbo-diesel, so you really wouldn’t want to use it.



While I could write a book on the bad ergonomics of the Terrano, I could also write a book on the EXCELLENT ride quality it offers. Nissan has hit the bulls-eye with the suspension’s ride & handling balance. The ride quality, in one word, is outstanding.  The chassis setup and the balance between the ride and handling is best in class too. The Terrano has the distinct ability to handle high speed corners faster than some of the cars costing over 2 million bucks.

It can handle almost every single type of road surface thrown at it and yet be comfortable enough inside the car for its passengers. The rear passengers were not at all disappointed even in the w-o-r-s-t road conditions. The dampers & springs are extremely well-tuned & the suspension travel over broken roads is impressive. Another strength of this suspension is that it doesn’t make a noise when driving over the pothole.

The Mahindra XUV 500 being my daily commute is centuries behind the Terrano when it comes to the ride quality. If you are sitting with a glass filled with water to the brim and you cover a certain distance including all road conditions you would still have 95% of the water left in the glass in Terrano. But, in the XUV 500 you would go back all the way to the starting point to refill your glass.

The steering is well-weighted, more on the heavier side. On fast turns, the steering provided a lot of resistance and interfered with the quick smooth inputs on the curves of the hills, you literally have to fight with the steering at times. A lighter EPS set-up would have done the trick And made it more city-friendly.

Comes with a single hydraulic strut for the bonnet: DSC_0518-58

Massive cargo area expands upto 1064 liters. Moreover, Nissan offers jump seats as a part of the standard accessory. What if it’s not a 7-seater when you can make one! DSC_0571-60

Boot area with the parcel tray in place. At 475 liters it is leaps ahead of the C segment sedans. Adequate for the occasional weekend drives and the airport pickups. We found the loading bay slightly on a taller side: DSC_0573-61


The Terrano AMT gets ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS, dual airbags and Hill Assist. Even on the slightest of inclines, the hill assist function works beautifully, making life easier for drivers who are not very confident while crawling up an incline. Nissan could have offered 6 airbags with all-disc brakes to make it paramount on safety. Standard warranty of 24 months / 50,000 kms. Extended warranty for 4 years / 80,000 kms (total coverage) available.



The Terrano is priced almost half-a-lakh over the Duster. Reason? Renault & Nissan have an understanding that, whoever uses the other’s car has to price it higher. To sum it all up in a nutshell, Nissan Terrano is a muscular looking SUV that has substantial amount of offering for it especially in the Ride and handling department. However in comparison to competition the cabin looses out on many features. The the equipment list is slim, especially when you consider the competition. but what might attract the end consumer is its look and superb convenience of the AMT. From the driver’s point the transmission could have been optimized a bit better especially in the automatic mode, which is compensated by its better fuel economy.

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