In our past spec check, we covered the top of the line version of the Nissan Terra and pit it against its similarly-spec'd key rivals from Chevrolet, Ford, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Toyota. From the looks of it, the Terra didn't exactly put out class-leading figures but represented a solid value proposition nonetheless.
Most of the time however, it's not the fully-loaded, 4x4 models that drive sales. Take a look around and most of these kinds of SUVs roll out of the showroom floor in two-wheel drive guises, usually with an automatic transmission.
If we compare the Terra against its rivals one notch lower in the variant tree, will Nissan's re-entry in the PPV market shine in the spec sheet? Let's take a closer look.
Like the 4x4 spec check, you're looking at the same set of competitors as before, all of which have been established in the country for quite some time now. For the purpose of this spec sheet comparo, we'll be taking a look at their respective mid-spec trims meaning two-wheel drive, automatic, and one step above the the entry-level variants.
For Chevrolet, that would be the Trailblazer LTX while the Ford steps in donning its Trend variant. Isuzu on the other hand has their Mu-X LS-A RZ4-E and Mitsubishi with the GLS. Last but not least is the Toyota Fortuner in 2.4G trim, recently upgraded to add more standard equipment.
So what does Nissan have to fend off its key rivals? That would be the Terra VE 4x2.
Two-wheel drive power stakes
Technically speaking, it's the Chevrolet Trailblazer which has the most power in the group with its 2.8-liter Duramax diesel with 200 PS and 500 Nm of torque. Why 'technically' then? Chevrolet has two diesel engine options for the 4x2 models. Go for the base manual version and you get a 2.5-liter unit with 165 PS and 380 Nm of torque. Opt for the automatic and it gets the aforementioned Duramax to put it right at the top of its class.
When talking about the most power from its base engine, then it's the Nissan Terra that takes the top spot. It uses the same 2.5-liter unit from the 4x4, meaning 190 PS and 450 Nm from the get go. Not quite class-leading figures but Nissan can pride themselves by coming closest to 200 PS no matter which variant is chosen.
That said, it seems like Nissan took a page from Mitsubishi's book. The two-wheel drive Montero Sport shares the same engine as the four-wheel drive variant. That means 181 PS and 430 Nm from the 2.4-liter MIVEC diesel.
Dropping to fourth is the Ford Everest with its 2.2-liter engine for 4x2 variants. In two wheel drive form, the Everest loses a cylinder and 40 PS, bringing its output down to 160 PS and torque is at 385 Nm. Despite 200cc more, the Toyota Fortuner 2.4-liter diesel makes 10 horsepower less than the Everest at 150 PS, although it makes up for it with 400 Nm of torque. Toyota still offers a gas engine for their PPV and that uses a 2.7-liter block with 160 PS and 245 Nm of torque.
Last but perhaps most impressive is the two-wheel drive Isuzu Mu-X. Power matches the Fortuner at 150 PS although torque is lowest in class at 350 Nm. But considering the fact that it has to make do with a compact 1.9-liter engine, these figures are make it look like it uses a larger mill.
Just because these are the two-wheel drive models, it doesn't mean that these SUVs won't be going through floods from time to time. Getting through deep water is perhaps one of the top reasons for considering a mid-sized SUV in the first place, but we digress.
With that, the respective wading capabilties of the SUVs here are carried over from their 4x4 counterparts. That means the Chevrolet and the Ford can wade the deepest at 800 mm each. Longtime rivals Fortuner and Montero Sport are at 700 mm each while the Mu-X is rated at 600 mm.
Since these figures are carried over to the four-wheel drive models, that also means the Terra gets the same 450 mm capacity, which was conservatively rated by Nissan.
What makes each one unique?
The Chevrolet's infotainment game is strong by making phone mirroring apps standard by putting in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. The Ford packs a lot of electronic safety aids such as stability control, roll control, trailer sway assist, and hill start assist. Mitsubishi on the other hand has that novel eight-speed automatic transmission, the most in its class.
As for the Fortuner, it got more add-ons late last year meaning it finally gets automatic climate control, a reverse camera and, more importantly, disc brakes. And then, there's the Isuzu Mu-X, packed to the brim with in-car entertainment features and stability control.
How does the Nissan fight back? With the mid-spec 4x2 models, it gets that intelligent rear view mirror that shows proximity from the sides as well, essentially giving you a 360-degree view of the outside. Stability control is also standard and a particularly neat and handy feature in it is a button that moves the second row forwards to ease third row access. If anything, the Nissan is a stickler for the small details.
If we're on the subject of base price, you could split this class into two, namely those under Php 1.6 million, and those beyond the said figure. With that, the Isuzu Mu-X LS-A RZ4A is the most affordable of the bunch, which starts at Php 1,595,000, effectively making it the value leader. The other two SUVs sitting in the Php 1.6 million range would be the Fortuner 2.4G at Php 1,682,000 and the Terra VE 4x2 at Php 1,697,000.
Breaking into the Php 1.7 million mark is the Chevrolet Trailblazer LTX at Php 1,708,888. The Ford Everest Trend on the other hand starts at Php 1,718,000 and, for just Php 1,000 more, you could get the Montero Sport GLS at Php 1,719,000. All in all, this group of six is separated by Php 124,000 from least expensive to the most. It's also worth noting that the Nissan sits right in the middle of the price spectrum.
A Standout in the mid-range?
Looking at the numbers, the mid-spec Terra is similar to the top of the line model. Not quite class-leading, but the Terra has the numbers to pull potential customers. It's got impressive amounts of power on paper, pricing is smack dab in the middle in its class, safety equipment is good too and it packs clever features.
As we said before, a spec sheet can only go so far. It won't really say how it drives or performs out in the real world. For that, a road test is in order but given the first impressions, the Nissan Terra is a promising proposition.