Automotive

First Drive: Nissan Terra 4×4 SUV

It’s a powerful ride on- and off-road

Published

on

When we’re not reviewing the latest smartphones, cameras, or laptops, we go for long drives and that’s exactly what we did earlier this week as Nissan officially introduced its new vehicle.

Having been revealed in China earlier this year with slight differences in specs, Nissan chose the Philippines as the official venue to introduce its new Terra SUV to the ASEAN region.

Delegates were flown in for this two-day event and escorted straight to Clark, Pampanga. Here, the company set up an outdoor space to ensure the new mid-size SUV had a sizable area to play around in.

Terra up close

We had our first encounter with the Terra right after the launch was done. All five variants were there and as soon as the closing remarks were said, media representatives were lured to the vehicles like moths to a flame — only it didn’t burn us.

Although it takes a lot of cues from the Navara, you’ll know the DNA of the popular Patrol has been passed down to the Terra. Standing before it, you’ll be staring at its V-motion grille that has been a signature look of the company for quite a while now.

Boomerang-shaped LED headlamps with daytime running lights also made their way to the new Terra while wheel arches remain bulky just like its pickup sibling. The lamps at the rear are also as eye-catching as the ones in front.

Inside, the layout of the dashboard and its instrumentations are straight up similar to the Navara. I personally like the layout of the truck since it’s simple and I know exactly where to look. Although it might be for the exact same reasons that a potential buyer might get turned off.

The Terra seats seven people (unlike its Chinese counterpart). Now, if you’ve ever ridden on the last row of a seven-seater SUV before, you’re familiar with the effort it takes to flip over the second-row seats just to get in and out of the vehicle. Nissan made things easier with the use of a button right beside the driver. With one press, you can fold and tumble either side of the seats on the second row — no elbow grease needed.

The launch event in itself was already a treat, and though I already knew the second day will be an off-road test drive, I never thought it would be an experience to remember.

Highway cruising

My schedule dictated that I belonged to the last batch of media to drive the Terra off-road. And right before it was our turn, light rain started pouring in. As the rain died down a bit, a fleet of brown, muddy Terras with step boards covered in sand started rolling in to the hotel’s driveway.

We were all given the top variant 4×4 VL Terra with 7-speed AT and as soon as we got inside our designated SUVs, we were off for the trails.

From Clark, getting to the site is via the SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway), so we got to experience the Terra for some highway driving.

One thing everyone in the vehicle immediately noticed was how quiet the ride was. Nissan says they implemented a three-layer dampening system to keep the cabin as quiet as possible and it was evident — at least during the few hours of us riding in it.

Both the new Nissan Terra and Navara pickup share the same 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine at their cores. The Terra didn’t even break a sweat getting the needle up the speedometer. Stepping on the gas pedal increased the speed effortlessly to the point that I had to be extra aware to keep it within the speed limit.

We also got to try out some of the vehicle’s safety tech from the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite. Together with its Blind Spot Warning, changing lanes without flipping the signal light will activate its Lane Departure Warning through a series of beeps. These aren’t new features, but we appreciate these models all coming standard with bells and whistles.

Off-road adventure

After having our short drive on the highway, we finally reached our kick-off point for the day’s main adventure.

Aerial view of the site. Can you see the line of Terras?

The site is called Sapang Uwak – Delta V Circuit and is one of the more challenging trails that lead to Mount Pinatubo — an active stratovolcano in the northern Philippines.

We were no longer on paved roads, but we started the convoy on a relatively wide course which quickly escalated to a narrow crawl of uneven terrain. Slow and steady, we inched our way through the first stage. We also transitioned to 4WD and the SUV’s differential lock system was already put to use early on.

The Japanese company has some interesting tech up their sleeves and we’re already quite familiar with the Around View Monitor from when we were at Mt. Malasimbo. It once again proved useful during this trip. The trail was narrow enough for only one vehicle, and its Intelligent Rear View Monitor turned from a normal mirror into a display that shows up to four different angles when you need an extra “spotter” for common blind spots.

One view is through a back-facing camera just beside the third brake light. Nissan says this would help drivers see the rear better at night. There’s also a rear bumper view for backing up, and the Around View Monitor switches between a bird’s eye view of the Terra, as well as a closer view of the right front wheel to completely eliminate blind spots.

We eventually reached the lahar-covered riverbed which is what the area has been known for. In other words, it was when the real fun started.

Lahar, having the same consistency as sand, tends to easily sink big cars and is usually a challenge for off-roaders. There were also shallow bodies of water and huge, sharp rocks scattered along the way. The Terra didn’t back down or show signs of struggle as we followed the trail — no, not even once.

We spent about an hour blazing through valleys with short breaks only to change drivers and take photos. It’s quite impressive, really, since the Terras were taking on the trail like a full-fledged off-road vehicle while running only on factory-fresh stock tires.

One of the driving marshalls even added that we were all driving pre-release models and the batch for dealerships will arrive with slight improvements and tweaks.

Mind you, we were not just crawling throughout the course. The marshall gave me a green light to floor the pedal and I did exactly that during a stretch. Needless to say, the Terra took beatings like a proper SUV and without losing significant traction on the surface of lahar.

Another thing I loved about the Terra was that even in these kinds of bumpy drives, ride comfort was still top-notch thanks to the company offering a coil spring rear suspension system. It’s been the same experience with the Navara, so I wasn’t really surprised the Terra inherited this trait.

Thoughts on the way home

After an entire day of being driven by four groups of thrill-seeking media reps and pushing the vehicles to their limits, there’s simply no argument that the Nissan Terra is more than capable of tackling roads less traveled.

We only used it for a couple of hours and though it might not be enough to give a complete verdict, believe us when we say it has a smooth ride on- and off-road, a quiet cabin, power on tap, and is equipped with tech for safe and convenient drives.

Although, since it was lifted from a Navara, similarities are found inside and out. This could either be a good or a bad thing for prospective customers. Another thing is that out of the five variants, only one has a manual transmission and it’s found on the base 4×2 model. The lack of a 4×4 MT variant could potentially drive away off-road nuts that still prefer driving stick.

The Nissan Terra might be facing an uphill battle being late to the game and skipping on features like sunroof or a power tailgate, but it’s a vehicle that specializes in conquering challenging obstacles.

Automotive

5 driving tips for pregnant women

What to do to ensure the safest drive

Published

on

Illustration by MJ Jucutan

It’s 2018 and women can drive. And you know what? They can even drive while pregnant. 😎

But, having and growing another person inside of you entails special considerations. To ensure the safest and most comfortable drive, I’ve rounded up a checklist for those expecting.

Make yourself comfortable

Considering you’re driving around an instant two people, make sure you’re comfortable when you get behind the wheel. Being nice and cozy in the driver seat before you head out ensures less distractions when you’re already driving.

Adjust your seat so that you have enough room. We know the right positioning can be a little confusing because of how your body has changed, but as a general rule, your breastbone should be 10 inches from the steering wheel. You can even pack small pillows for your back to make sure it has proper support.

Use the seat belt properly

Yep, it can get tricky. But, here’s how it should go:

Your seat belt should be below your belly bump and the lock should be at your hips. The shoulder belt should run across your breasts to the side of your bump. Remove extra layers like thick jackets to make sure everything is fastened and secured in the right places.

Take breaks

There’s no shame in stopping to take a driving breather. You are carrying another human, so you’re excused. Make sure you stop and pause every 90 minutes for a toilet break. Use this opportunity to rest your feet and relax.

Be prepared

Like a true girl scout, make sure you’ve stocked your car with supplies and much-needed snacks. Always have a bottle of water ready and pick health food you can nibble on ahead of time for your drives. Have all your info with you in the car — including your doctor’s number and pregnancy details — just in case. Also, it helps to plan your routes ahead and schedule your drives.

Check yourself

You know yourself best so before heading out, assess how you feel. Make sure you’re feeling alright and consider how you’ll be feeling in the coming hour. Be honest with yourself and recognize that there might be days when you’re better off not heading out on your own. The best preparation is prevention.

Lastly, congratulations girl! 🎉


Thanks to our friends at Ford for sending over some driving tips and inspiring this piece. 

Continue Reading

Automotive

First-ever Ford Ranger Raptor lands in the Philippines

We witnessed why it was named as such

Published

on

Ford’s rugged truck has finally reached Philippine shores after it was unveiled early this year. Holding the title as the only factory-built performance truck across the region, the Ranger Raptor is targeted towards those looking for a vehicle built tough for your off-road adventures.

One look at this beast and you’ll know it’s not your ordinary pickup. It takes styling cues from the F150 Raptor with the iconic block FORD lettering within the grille design. The front bumper is also installed with fresh LED fog lamps and air-curtain ducts for less wind resistance against the body. Being a true off-roader, its front fenders not only look tough, but Ford says it also resists dents and dings from driving on the road less traveled.

Powering the Ranger Raptor is a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that outputs 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. Ford explains that running with its 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo simply means taking advantage of sequential turbocharging in order to deliver greater responsiveness, drivability, and maximum efficiency. Being a performance vehicle means it should be ready for anything that the road (or lack of it) presents the driver. This is why the Ranger Raptor’s shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by Fox while its suspension has been crafted to take on rough terrain even at high speeds.

During the launch, the Ranger Raptor showed off for a bit as it raced through the open track. It rained really hard that night so it made the course a lot tougher, but the Raptor pierced right through it and leaped around like it was nothing. We saw why it was named as such.

While it oozes power, this truck has the brains to go with its brawn. It has a Terrain Management System which includes different modes depending on the terrain you’re in. For one, there’s the Baja Mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally. While this mode is activated, it automatically switches to being ultra-responsive and allows off-road driving without being held back. Additionally, the company’s Driver Assist Technologies found their way here including SYNC 3, Hill Start Assist, and more. It’s own Satellite Navigation System even has a “breadcrumb” feature and leaves a trail when entering uncharted areas.

Enough specs and watch it leap, splash, and blaze through the muddy terrain in this video:

The Ranger Raptor is available at all Ford dealerships in the country with a starting price of PhP 1,898,000.

Continue Reading

Automotive

Drive, Eat, Shoot: Exploring the East with the Ford Everest

Who says combining work and play isn’t fun? 🤔

Published

on

During our participation at the Auto Rally Challenge a few months back, we were lent a Ford Everest to use at the event. We actually had an extra day with it and our group at GadgetMatch decided to set aside our laptops, grab our cameras, and take the Everest to the first destination that came to mind.

Since we had an enjoyable time with it, we thought we’d share our experience with you guys.

You can check out this short clip of our trip shot entirely on Sony’s smartphone.

The Ride

What we drove was the 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium. It’s a midsize SUV great for hauling the family and is packed with safety and comfort features. Being the top of the line variant, it’s the only model with a 4×4 setup so it’s a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures.

Inside, it comfortably seats five people and if you need more, the third row folds out at a press of a button and accommodates up to two more people.

If you find yourself on a long highway stretch, its Adaptive Cruise Control makes for a more relaxing drive so you can take in the scenery around you. Don’t enjoy too much, though, and make sure to still be attentive of the road ahead!

Ford’s SYNC technology lets you play music and read text messages without having to look away from the road. You can do these things through voice commands.

Features like Blind Spot Information and Lane Keeping make sure you only switch lanes when it’s safe. Meanwhile, its Active Park Assist together with proximity sensors help when you squeeze your way through a tight parking space.

A Power Panorama Moonroof also comes with the package. Enjoy a view of the sky or open it for a breath of fresh province air — it’s all up to you.

From the leather-wrapped seats down to the available 230V socket, it’s creature comforts like these that make the Everest an enjoyable ride.

Considering our headquarters in the Philippines is at the east-most border of Manila, we thought it would be exciting to go out of the busy city and see some sights. The province of Rizal made the most sense, so we hopped inside the Everest.

The Food

We left around lunch time so the first thing on our itinerary was to look for a place to eat. We wanted none of those fast food chains; we wanted to try something new.

This led us to our first stop: Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal.

Angono is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines and is evident in the restaurant. Apart from the dining area, there’s a dedicated space with an abundance of artworks, from paintings and woodwork to sculptures.

The restaurant specializes in Filipino dishes. Although, if one feels adventurous, there’s an exotic corner in the menu with crickets and beef testicles. Unfortunately, none of us felt like going for cow balls during lunch so we went for a safer, more traditional meal.

We got Kalderetang Itik (young duck stew), Balaw-Balaw Fried Rice, grilled chicken, and Minaluto which is basically seafood platter with a mix of fried pork and vegetables.

With our tummies filled and bodies energized, we hopped back on the Everest and off we went for our next destination.

The Sights

Although we were out on a road trip, we still brought a bit of work with us. We needed to shoot photos for our smartphone reviews and wanted to go for a fresh, new location. We heard the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City is photography-friendly and offers an array of contemporary art displays and wide, open spaces.

We were not disappointed. The place is a spacious haven for art, culture, and OOTDs. It has a Greek vibe to it which goes well with the shroud of trees surrounding the area.

A quick tip if you plan to go to Pinto Art Museum: visit on weekdays so there are fewer people. We heard the place can be a little crowded during the weekends and holidays.

Hundreds of artworks are displayed throughout six galleries so be sure to allot enough time going around. We think two to three hours should be enough.

Shot using a Sony Xperia XZ2 with a clip-on macro lens

Shot using a Sony A7S II

The entire museum is inside a 1.2-hectare property that not only houses paintings and installations, but brightly colored fowls, as well!

We shot what we needed and were ready to go home. But one last stop: We chanced upon this road less traveled and pulled over to bask in the rays of the setting sun. We popped open the Everest’s Power Liftgate and gathered around to hang for a while.

Stories were exchanged, selfies were snapped, and laughs were had. We drove back to our headquarters shortly after and called it a day. That was how our quick trip to Rizal with the Ford Everest went.

Continue Reading

Trending