It’s not uncommon for a single vehicle model to get a good number of updates – minor model updates if you will. Some even get a “special edition” name. In the Nissan Terra’s case, they named it the Black Edition, and it only comes with the top-spec VL 4x4 variant. We got behind the wheel of this Terra’s last iteration before the release of a facelifted model, so let’s see what’s good about going Black.
As the name implies, you’ll be seeing a lot of black trim around this Terra’s exterior. Smack front and center is a blacked-out honeycomb grille; chrome borders be gone. Even the grill's outer frame has been finished in black, with only the Nissan logo as the remaining shiny bit. The non-Black Edition also had a chrome strip on the border of the lower bumper grill, and that too has been removed. The silver accent pieces on the foglight housings have likewise been removed.
On the side you’ll find black step sills, black door handles, and black side mirror covers, too. Rounding off the exterior pieces is a set of diamond black alloys in 18”. If the bulging fenders and the recessed lines of the doors aren’t muscular enough, the wheels definitely give the Black Edition a more macho look. Exterior update: very tasteful, nothing over the top, and it all comes together very well.
Going dark isn’t limited to the outside, though. Once you step into the cabin, there’s a lot more black to be seen. Every single silver piece from the gauge cluster and the borders of the center stack are no longer there. Okay, fine, the center stack has a slightly darker shade to its finish, along with the shifter housing, just to keep with the blacked-out theme. The only silver accents you’ll find are the ones on the steering wheel. Personally, the chrome on the shifter gate could’ve done well with black chrome, but it’s the one touch that adds class to the cabin. Plus the infotainment system is a 7” touch screen and even has a drop down screen from the ceiling for the rear passengers.
The upholstery has been updated as well. Gone is the solid brown leather as those have been replaced with – you guessed it – black leather with brown accent patches on the bolsters, backrest pads, and center console cover (which is actually all brown). Door sidings still have brown leather, though, albeit in a darker shade.
If there’s one thing that we wish Nissan improves with the incoming model, it’s the selection of materials; plastic pieces, specifically. Granted, those bits are grained and textured, but mostly of the hard sort. There are not many soft-touch points in the Terra, and while it can’t be expected that a top-spec will have a totally different material altogether, perhaps Nissan can build the next one with this in mind. An added element that doesn’t remind you that you’re driving a truck would be nice, right?
Aesthetic changes aside, this is still very much the same Nissan Terra. Let’s talk about how it performs, then, starting with comfort. Despite being the Navara pick-up’s “clone” (same platform), the Terra is pretty solid. No, it doesn’t wallow or bounce about as a normal truck would. Well-padded seats may be a big factor, but the magic is really up front with Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats. Yes, you’ll still feel (and hear) some rattles, but that’s just the Terra being a PPV, but you can rest assured that your teeth will be spared from said rattling. The middle row is just that little bit stiffer, but overall the ride is comfortable, plain and simple.
Since you can carry 7 people with all seats up, you also have very good cargo space. With the 3rd row folded, both forward and vertical spaces are abundant. Should you need more for longer things, the middle row folds 60-40 and it can be done with a flip of a switch on the center console. That’s pretty convenient and nifty, and something unique to the Terra. Head- and legroom front, middle, and aft are generous, too. But as always do keep in mind that the 3rd row is best saved for children. Adults can fit, sure, but they’re bound to have to bend their knees at an odd angle, and that’s doesn’t add to a comfy journey.
Another great thing about the Black Edition being based on the top-spec VL is the Nissan Intelligent Mobility safety suite. With a flick of a knob on the rearview, you get a sharp image of what’s happening behind. The head unit also serves as another screen for visibility, and partnered with the 360-View Camera, parking is a breeze, and navigating is much easier as it shows you what’s in front, at the sides, and the back from a bird’s eye view. You also have corner/parking sensors, traction control, hill descent, and hill start assist systems in place, so yes, it’s a pretty intelligent truck.
But what’s a truck if it doesn’t have a beefy engine? The Terra has a lot of that, for sure. Powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged diesel, it makes decent power at about 190 horsepower. But the good stuff is really by way of the torque: 450 Nm of it available at just 2000 RPM. If it’s pull you want, you will not be shortchanged with the Terra. Power delivery is also linear and the acceleration responds directly to your input. The 7-speed transmission works well, too. Unlike some of its competition, the Terra’s revs do not tend to hover too long in one gear or jump down with an untoward clunk.
One thing that definitely does need some improvement is engine noise. For all the finesse of its looks and amenities, the mill is just way too loud, so much so that it permeates into the cabin. Remember the torque we mentioned? Yup, you can feel it, and when you do step on it, you hear it, too! A bit more insulation for the sound may do the trick, but as it is, the loud burble may become detrimental to what’s supposed to be a calm and soothing long drive. Not a deal-breaker, but yes, Nissan, let’s work on this, please?
The Terra VL 4x4 is already a great platform. You get a powerful yet frugal diesel engine that can make 9 kilometers per liter in traffic, you get a lot of power and torque on tap, you have a much more subdued but no-less classy interior, plus you have the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that makes things easier and safer from navigating to parking to driving.
But with its PHP 2,211,000 price tag, this Black Editon is in the higher spectrum in its class of PPV/SUV. Is it worth it? Yes, it is even though it's just mostly a touch up job. Most of the other options may be priced a bit lower, or pretty close to the Terra Black Edition, but with Nissan, you’ll get something that functions as well as its base platform but looks different and way better than the rest of the bunch.
Last we checked, Nissan is already finishing off the last stocks of this pre-facelift Terra to prepare for the new look model. The design of the new one is nice, but there really is something about the more classic and beefy presence of this Terra that we've had since 2018.