Automotive

First Drive: Nissan Terra 4×4 SUV

It’s a powerful ride on- and off-road

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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

General Motors unveils a flying Cadillac taxi concept

Personal taxis of the future may look like this

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CES 2021 continues to wow everyone with the launching of new products and the unveiling of concept products that could become a reality one day. One such concept product showed at CES is the flying Cadillac taxi concept by General Motors (GM).

The flying taxi concept is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle, eliminating the need for any runway. Based on the exhibit by GM, it is a single-seater with eight coaxial rotors on the side. The vehicle will also operate autonomously with an electric motor and a 90-kWh battery powering it. The motor also enables the flying taxi to speed up to 56 mph.

Further details about the Cadillac flying taxi are scarce beyond these basic specifications. GM says that this concept is part of its “multi-modal future”: the taxi will act as a personal ferry between two points. Upon arriving at these points, a person can take another electric vehicle to carry them to their destination.

The flying taxi is also a part of GM’s new Ultium platform, which is its in-house solution for EV fleets. As for real-world availability, GM hasn’t disclosed anything so the final product may look drastically different than this one. However, it still is a cool concept that could bode well in the future.

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Apple and Hyundai are partnering for an electric car in 2024

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For years, the enigmatic Apple Car has popped in and out of the limelight. Merely because of the volume of reports, the company is certainly working on a vehicle for the future. Finally, the rumored vehicle gets some much-needed confirmation. After several reports, Apple and Hyundai are partnering for an electric car in 2024.

Late last week, an ambiguous rumor reported as much. According to a South Korean outlet, both companies were reportedly in early talks for such a partnership. At the time, the electric car was supposedly entering production in 2027. However, both Apple and Hyundai denied the rumors, casting the report in doubt.

Today, however, a new report has updated last week’s seemingly debunked rumor, as reported by Reuters. This time, Korea IT News, a South Korean newspaper, confirmed the upcoming partnership of the two companies. Apple and Hyundai will reportedly ink the deal by March this year. And, instead of a 2027 deadline, the Apple Car will enter production by 2024.

Again, both companies have refused to comment on the potential partnership. Soon after, the newspaper removed the 2024 anticipated date. According to the same report, Apple and Hyundai will create and release a beta version of the vehicle next year.

Besides their iconic iPhones, Apple has dabbled in other industries over the past few years. For example, the company successfully released an Apple Card, its entry in the fintech industry.

SEE ALSO: Apple is developing its own search engine

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Automotive

Nissan offers exclusive discounts, low downpayment on select models

Save up to PhP 430,000 on your next Nissan purchase!

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Getting your first car is tempting this holiday season. Nissan has just extended its Safer Drives and Deals promo until December 31, offering exclusive discounts and savings on select models.

You can avail of up to PhP 430,000 discount when you buy a brand-new Nissan Patrol, Nissan X-Trail, Nissan Terra, Nissan Sylphy, Nissan Urvan, and Nissan Almera. Through Nissan’s financing program, you can also benefit from monthly offers such as PhP 5,769 downpayment with 0% interest for up to 24 months, or free amortization for up to 6 months on select vehicles.

Select variants of Nissan Navara also come with cash savings of up to PhP 185,000. Also bundled on this exclusive offer is a free bedliner accessory. However, this exclusive offer is only available through Nissan’s financing program.

If you are paying through cash though, you can still take advantage of cash discounts for other Nissan models. You can save up to PhP 330,000 on select variants of Nissan Patrol, Terra, X-Trail, Sylphy, Navara, Urvan, and Almera.

Meanwhile, an all-in low downpayment option for as low as PhP 28,000 is available for Nissan Almera, Sylphy, X-Trail, Terra, Navara, and Urvan. Downpayment options are available through select partner banks of authorized Nissan dealers.

Tempted to get a Nissan car already? Visit Nissan Philippines’ website for more information on their latest promo.

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