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

Honda Philippines launches the New Honda Civic Type R

Honda’s ultimate racing machine just got even better!

Published

on

Not everyone buys cars for the same reason. And not all cars are created equal. Some cars are for transport, while some are also for going from point A to point B, but with a whole lotta fun! For racing-bred folks, a VTEC kicking in would definitely put-up smiles.

On the July 27, 2021, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. proudly announced the launch of the New Honda Civic Type R in the country. It boasts a refreshed sporty look that is still quintessentially Civic.

What’s new?

The New Honda Civic Type R features an updated symmetrical design while retaining some of characteristics that gave its predecessor a distinctive look. It now comes equipped with a new front grille design with a thinner grille beam that allows a larger air intake.

Honda knew that if you are going to drive around a Civic Type R, you’d want to squeeze every bit of potential out of it. So, they made improvements on the suspension and brake systems for a more responsive handling. An updated radiator core helps decrease temperature during high-demand driving situations.

Another awesome new feature is the Active Sound Control (ASC), that enhances the cabin sound with engine noise through the audio systems when driving in Sport and +R modes. You’re in a performance car, loud noise is a must (winks).

Driver-assistive functions

Along with the standard safety features such as airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System and more, the New Civic Type R is installed with Honda SENSING for a safer mobility. A monocular camera works in conjunction with wave millimeter radar to monitor and assess the road conditions ahead. Honda’s driver-assistive features include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

The 2.0 liter VTEC TURBO engine supplies a maximum power output of 310 PS and 400 Nm at peak of torque. Its 6-speed manual transmission is equipped with a ‘rev match control’ system that enables the vehicle to sustain maximum power while changing gears.

Pricing and availability

The New Civic Type R will be available in three colors: Championship White, Racing Blue and Sonic Gray with a price tag of Php 3,210,000.00.

Continue Reading

Automotive

I Took A Ride On a Self-Driving Tractor!

Just like your smartphone, AI powers tractors through the fields

Published

on

Unusual in the GadgetMatch YouTube channel is a visit to a big warehouse full of farming vehicles, windmills, and corn fields. But Michael Josh’s visit at John Deere’s booth last CES 2020 and hosting session in CES 2021 made him gain interest in smart farming equipment.

But do you know what do tractors and smartphones have in common? John Deere’s farming machines are in a way like farming robots. Just like smartphones, they also leverage the power of data and AI — or also known as Artificial Intelligence.

But what makes John Deere’s farming vehicles stand out from the rest? Find out more in our latest video!

Continue Reading

Automotive

VanMoof X3 Review: The Tesla of E-Bikes?

Time to ride the future

Published

on

In a bustling city full of cars, bikes not only offer an easy passage from several location points, they also reduce your overall carbon footprint.

But what if someone makes bikes even smarter? Dutch-based VanMoof makes the perfect city bike that sports the right balance of high tech and coolness factor. And comes as part of a complete ecosystem that’s sure to make any city biker happy.

This is our review of the VanMoof X3 — which also applies to the VanMoof S3 if you’re planning on buying one.

Continue Reading

Trending