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

All the essential gadgets you’ll ever need for a glamping trip

Visiting Chile with Nicole Scott of MobileGeeks!

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Traveling is a great deal of fun but packing the right gear can be a headache. So, I called for reinforcements.

I spoke with Nicole Scott, all-around traveler and co-founder of MobileGeeks, and asked her what her travel essentials are.

Nicole is always on the road which means she does everything while she’s traveling. She walked us through her last trip to Chile where she went glamping in the desert. These are her must-haves.

Some wheels to get there

The destination is the Atacama Desert, the driest on the planet. To get to the glamping spot, you need a ride.

For the few minutes drive from San Pedro to Atacama Loft & Glamp, the Audi Q8 is Nicole’s vehicle of choice. The Q8 has a host of smart features, and most importantly…

… it has wireless charging built in!

A phone to take photos with

In this area, there’s barely any reception. But these days, phones are still useful even without cell signal.

Nicole brought along her HTC U12+ for photo-taking purposes.

Working on the go

Since she’s always moving, Nicole is used to working on the go. She brings her Microsoft Surface Book everywhere. 

An external battery pack is also a must-have — this means an extra two hours of laptop time without having to plug into an actual electric socket.

Part of her setup is working with a mouse — Nicole shoots and edits, too. Her weapon of choice? The Microsoft Surface Arc.

Now, enough about work!

Adding some background music

A good pair of headphones is always a great idea when traveling, or when you’re horseback riding through the desert like Nicole.

These TaoTronics Bluetooth earphones are her favorite because they have great sound quality despite being pretty affordable.

Taking time to meditate with the scenery

Nicole always has her Fitbit Versa on her and on trips like this, it proves pretty useful.

She uses the Relax function to take time out of her day and enjoy the beautiful desert sights with breathing exercises.

Watch Nicole’s full video here:

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Automotive

Honda offers limited edition City, BR-V, and Odyssey

Comes with a major discount, too

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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. is proud to introduce limited edition variants of the new City, BR-V, and Odyssey. These souped-up models offer additional features, safety systems, and even discounts.

Adding to its slew of features, the new Honda City 1.5 Sport CVT has two new front tweeters for improved audio and entertainment experience. It is also equipped with new front, side, and rear under spoilers for a sportier look while a Sport Edition Emblem has been added to set it apart from the basic model.

This limited edition variant will be available for a suggested retail price of PhP 898,000 and will come in Modern Steel Metallic, Taffeta White, and Ruby Red Pearl.

The second best-selling model in the Philippines following the Honda City, the seven-seater BR-V 1.5 Touring CVT boasts fuel efficiency and new exterior features. This includes a tailgate spoiler, daytime running lights, shark fin antenna, and parking sensors to make backing up easier and safer.

It will be available for PhP 1,058,000 in Modern Steel Metallic color, Taffeta White, and Lunar Silver Metallic.

Last but definitely not the least, the luxury seven-seater minivan Odyssey EX-V CVT gets an exclusive variant with only 45 units available for sale. This package includes full leather interior, cradle captain seats with ottoman, and a lineup of driver assistive technology features.

For PhP 2,428,000, it will be available in Platinum White Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, and Super Platinum Metallic.

To further sweeten the deal, Honda Philippines is offering to slash off PhP 50,000 to encourage customers to take advantage of the offer. Interested buyers may place reservations at any of the 38 Honda dealerships in the country.

SEE ALSO: New Honda Civic Type R arrives in PH

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Automotive

Ford Ranger Raptor now up for pre-orders

Be one of the first to own it

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Ford’s factory-built performance truck is now up for pre-orders at dealerships in the Philippines.

Launched earlier this year at a grand event in Thailand, the Ranger Raptor combines Ford Performance DNA with the Ranger’s tough constitution. It’s thought to be a motocross bike, snowmobile, and an ATV rolled into one macho pickup truck.

With a capable diesel engine, terrain management system, and a host of safety features, Ford’s truck is a promising package for the rough riders. Color palettes include Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White, and Conquer Grey.

Those who want to get first dibs on the Ranger Raptor can pre-order now by contacting or visiting any Ford dealer in the country. Pricing is still undisclosed but will be revealed closer to its launch date in the third quarter of this year.

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