If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Would you go to Europe and enjoy months-long traveling across the continent, or would you rather go to the snowy mountains of Hokkaido in Japan to beat the heat? To be honest, either of these places sounds good. Well, anywhere else does sound good rather than being stuck in Manila traffic, at least.
Nissan Philippines didn’t bring us to either of those two places, though. Instead, they brought us to a small island filled with more magic and mystery than Disneyland itself: Siquijor. On our trip, we got to visit a quarry, a witches’ place, and one of the oldest Balete trees in the world. Rather than renting a motorcycle or a tricycle to get around, we drove Nissan’s line up of 4x4 vehicles instead: the 2019 Patrol, and the newly updated Navara and Terra for 2020 model year.
On our first day in Siquijor, we got acquainted with the Terra which was recently updated for the 2020 model year. Only a few changes were brought about by the update, both externally and under the hood. On the outside, one of the most obvious differences would be the new grill, now painted in black-chrome rather than the previous silver-chrome color. At the rear, the ‘VL’ and ‘4x4’ logo, are now positioned closer together on the right side. A rear spoiler now comes standard as well.
Under the hood, it’s still the same 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine as the Navara it is based on, and continues to produce 190 PS and 450 Nm torque. It still uses the same 7-speed automatic transmission which is paired to an all-wheel-drive system and can be switched from 2WD to 4WD with the turn of a knob.
The most significant upgrade for the 2020 Terra can be found inside. Gone is the Android-powered head unit and in its place is Nissan’s new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Officially called the Alliance In-Vehicle Infotainment (AIVI) or Nissan Connect, it was developed by Bosch and comes with a host of features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Furthermore, the screen now displays the around-view monitor and rear-view integration, making it easier to see your surroundings.
For those who don't know, Siquijor is the third smallest province in the Philippines. Despite that, driving around the provincial highways and the twisty mountain roads made the island seem a lot bigger than it is. Even without switching to 4WD mode, the Terra was able to climb steep roads leading to places overlooking the island. The hill descent feature also made it easier to go through the quarry since we literally had to go off-road to get there in the first place.
The next day, we swapped out the Terra and got into the Patrol first and the Navara later on. There’s nothing new about the Patrol as it is still the same premium SUV we’ve come to know in the past few years. Simply put, driving the Patrol was similar to driving a sofa on wheels - but with V8 power. Even with the bumpy roads of Siquijor, you won’t feel any of the rough patches, and you’ll be comfortable all throughout. Despite its size, the Patrol is no slouch either as overtaking motorcycles and slow-moving trucks was easy. Move to the back seats and you’ll be greeted with generous amounts of legroom. On top of that, you’ll also have your own entertainment system, separate from the front cabin. Here you can watch videos, listen to music or even play games through the USB and HDMI port. For most of us, we chose to sleep.
Similar to the Terra, the Navara was also updated for the 2020 model year. Care to spot the exterior differences? Because really, we had a hard time seeing what’s new on the outside as the design remains unchanged. The same can be said about the powertrain and suspension and driving feel.
What is new on the 2020 Navara is the infotainment system. Nissan’s popular pickup truck now packs the same 8-inch touchscreen infotainment as the one in the Terra. While all the features of the infotainment are the same, unfortunately, the rear-monitor integration isn’t available in the Navara. However, you still do have the around-view monitor being displayed on the larger screen.
Our driving experience on the second day was shorter than the first as there were more stopovers to enjoy the view and explore the island. These places included a visit to the witches’ lair, the oldest church in Siquijor, a waterfall, and a 400-year old Balete tree. Luckily, some of us also found time to explore the beach and clear waters even if it was just for a short while.
Now some of you might ask why Nissan chose Siquijor to go for the drive. The island is known for being mystical, haunted, or whatever locals and non-locals may call it. It’s not a good place to go driving since the only way to get there is by boat. At the same time, motorcycles and tricycles are the more common and not to mention easier mode of transport on the island.
But if you think about it, when was the last time you went to Siquijor, or a small and isolated island for that matter? Better yet, when was the last time you drove in a place that comes close? Sure using motorcycles and tricycles will be easier. But what if you are going with more than two people? This then makes driving the more comfortable and convenient choice. With this trip, Nissan showed us that their line up of 4x4s can really make you go anywhere, even to an island as splendid as Siquijor.