Why Nissan says the Terra only has a water wading depth of 450mm

AUTO NEWS

Conservative, but guaranteed

During the launch of the Terra, Nissan's top brass, marketing people and engineers were all too eager to share details about their new model. The Terra, after all, is easily the most anticipated new vehicle of 2018.

But there was one detail that they didn't announce quite so proudly during the actual launch: the water wading depth capability of the Terra.

Prior to our test drive to take it on the expressway and into the lahar beds in the general vicinity of Mount Pinatubo, the new Chief Vehicle Engineer for the Terra, Mr. Hinori Awano, finally let us in on what the Terra can do. 

“We can guarantee that the Nissan Terra can go through 450mm of water,” said Nissan's Hinori Awano.

If that number sounds exceptionally low, that's because it is. The low number is also unusual given that the category is largely banked on the water wading capability of the SUVs in flood prone Philippines. It's also interesting to note that the official water wading depth of the Terra is the same as the Navara's.

At 450mm, the Terra is the lowest in the class that includes the Isuzu mu-X (600mm), Toyota Fortuner (700mm), Mitsubishi Montero Sport (700mm), Chevrolet Trailblazer (800mm) and Ford Everest (800mm).

Later in the day, we caught up with Nissan's CVE again, and we asked for a clarification of his statement, especially since smaller models like the EcoSport is officially claimed by Ford as capable of wading through 550mm of water. 

“The 450mm wading capability is what we guarantee that the Terra can handle without problems,” continued Mr. Awano. “The Terra has been tested to handle deeper water, but we cannot officially state what that maximum number is because there are too many factors involved.”

In other words, Nissan is being conservative with their numbers. It's not uncommon for a major Japanese automaker to be conservative; often, they're hesitant to reveal numbers like top speeds or 0-100 km/h times. 

Awano continued that they cannot release an absolute maximum number because a lot of factors affect maximum water wading such as a moving current and even the driver's technique (never overtaking the bow wave). That means the number that Nissan released as the Terra's official water wading capabiliy is regardless of driver skill (unless they're being silly while wading through water) and factors such as water currents.

So if you see marketing information stating that the Terra is only capable of going through 450mm of water, take note that's the conservative, guaranteed number, not the actual or absolute maximum. Also, given the conservative nature of Nissan in this case, where other carmakers one-upping each other by releasing maximum numbers without considering external factors?

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