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

BMW reveals the new F 750 GS, F 850 GS, and F 850 GS Adventure

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New colorways are here!

BMW Motorrad released the first GS in 1980. The year 2020 marks the GS line’s 40th anniversary and to make the occasion a little more festive than it already is, three of their mid-size models are getting the upgrades they so deserve. New paint jobs are also on the table, including a black and gold combination with yellow accents.

General changes to the three GS models include new tape designs and the respective style designation on the fairing side panels of the style variations. All models now have new LED flashing turn indicators as standard and a USB charging device at the front right of the cockpit. ABS Pro and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) are now also standard, for even more braking and accelerating safety.

So what’s new in the 40th-anniversary editions? Let’s do a quick run-through.

BMW F 750 GS

The BMW F750 GS now comes in a classic white with the tank cover painted in the same hue. You also get matte black rims and handlebars. The seat comes in black and red to provide an exciting contrast. There’s also the San Marino Blue metallic colorway which gives you a tinted windscreen with sporty accents, rims in metallic granite grey, silver handlebars, a black and grey seat, and a galvanized radiator grille.

The special edition for the 40th anniversary meanwhile gets a “40 Years GS” lettering on the side panels, yellow hand guards, and a black and yellow seat with GS lettering. It unmistakably pays homage to the icon from 40 years of GS history: the BMW R 100 GS. The rims are painted in matte black, while the handlebars are silver with a galvanized radiator grille.

BMW F 850 GS

This model comes in a new Racing Red colorway that provides great contrast to the black rims, fork tubes, and seat. The Rallye option comes in Racing Blue Metallic with gold rims, black fork tubes, and a galvanized grille.

Its anniversary edition is in Black Storm metallic and features the anniversary logo. You also get yellow hand guards, gold rims, and a seat that comes in a black and yellow color combo. A GS logo is also printed on the fork tubes while the galvanized grille comes in silver.

The F 850 GS will also get additional upgrades in the form of the new windscreen adjustment mechanism as well as a TFT display including convenient connectivity functions.

BMW F 850 GS Adventure

This model comes in Ice Grey but what caught our attention is definitely the Rallye style. Together with gold-colored rims and fork stand tubes, the new BMW F 850 GS Adventure looks both dynamic and elegant. The Sport windscreen and a rally seat upholstered in black or grey with a seat height of 890 mm reinforce the sporting appearance of this particular model.

The new BMW F 850 GS Adventure also has a dedicated version to the anniversary of the BMW GS models as the “Edition 40 Years GS”. Prominent features of the anniversary GS painted in Blackstorm metallic are the “40 Years GS” lettering and yellow hand protectors. Black-coated fork standpipes, gold rims, and a black and yellow double seat bench with 860 mm seat height. Like the 850 GS, it also gets a TFT display with convenient connectivity functions as part of the standard equipment on board.

More options for your next adventure

The new GS models feature new components of the Pro riding modes optional equipment. This means that as in the GS models with boxer engines, a reworked throttle response in dynamic riding mode now ensures even more dynamics and driving enjoyment.

Furthermore, dynamic engine brake control and Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) now feature in Pro riding modes. Other new Pro riding mode features include the preselection of up to four riding modes for the button assignment on the right handlebar controls. Although this is only in conjunction with the Connectivity optional equipment in the BMW F 750 GS.

You can also opt for an extra low seat bench as well as modified lowered suspension. These will be available as optional equipment for all three models in the future, ensuring even better ground accessibility when stationary.

Since completely switching off the ABS will no longer be permissible under legal homologation regulations in future, the Enduro and Enduro Pro riding modes will provide adapted controls for this purpose. The ABS function can still be switched off on the rear wheel in Enduro Pro riding mode on the BMW F 850 GS and BMW F 850 GS Adventure.

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Accessories

Xiaomi adds Electric Scooter Pro 2, Smart Band 5, TV stick to IoT lineup

More Xiaomi devices and accessories to choose from!

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By now, people are familiar with the fact that Xiaomi has an expansive portfolio of products. That portfolio is getting some new, exciting additions — namely the Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2, the Mi Smart Band 5, and Mi TV Stick.

Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2

This product is targeting a very particular need. Too long to walk but not far enough for a drive? That’s where this mobility tool comes in.

The Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 can travel up to 45km, at speeds up to 25 km per hour. It can effortlessly climb 20 percent incline slopes and accommodate a week’s worth of trips on a single charge.

It has a built-in LCD where riders can view and control different things. You can check real-time speed, choose a riding mode, connect to Bluetooth, and monitor headline status.

It has a 300W motor, a double braking system, shock-absorbing pneumatic tires, and an easy folding design so you can pretty much take it wherever you go.

If you’re a first-time user, you will receive safety reminders and tips through your mobile device. Speaking of safety, it sports front, rear, and side reflectors as well as a 2W headlight that can illuminate up to 10 meters ahead. All for the sake of better visibility.

Launched alongside it  is the Mi Electric Scooter 1S. It’s a more streamlined model for casual commuters. It can travel up to 30 km at speeds up to 25 km per hour and offers an upgraded display, headlight, and other safety features.

Mi Smart Band 5

We’ve discussed this in more detail when it was first announced, and this is essentially the global version.

But here are the basics you need to know: it has a 1.1” color AMOLED display with 20% more screen than its predecessor and has over 65 dynamic displays and six band colors.

On the functionalities side, it has most of what you can expect from a fitness band. It has a variety of workouts and trackers all so you can monitor your health and wellness better. The international suggested retail price is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TV Stick 

Turn your dumb UHD TV into a smart one! If you’ve been yearning for a Smart TV but don’t have the budget for one. Your next best option is to get the Mi TV Stick. Provided your TV has an HDMI port.

Powered by Android TV with DTS surround sound, Google Assistant, and Chromecast — it’s your ticket to a relaxing Netflix and Chill session.

Inside it has a quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM + 8GB storage. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control with dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, Netflx, and Prime video. It’s SRP is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TWS Earphones 2 Basic

Here’s something for your basic TWS fix. It promises up to 5 hours of uninterrupted use from a full charge. Total battery life hits the 20-hour mark thanks to the included charging case.

As for functionality, again, anything you expect from TWS, you’ll likely find here. Sound is adequate, pairing should be easy, and there’s some level of environmental noise cancellation for your convenience.

Suggested retail price is also EUR 39.99.

Pricing and availability in other markets will be revealed once they become available.

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Automotive

Nissan Ariya ushers a new chapter for the company

It’s an All-electric Crossover SUV

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Nissan has been heavily marketing their EV efforts. The company is taking things to the next phase with the introduction of the Nissan Ariya. It’s their first all-electric Crossover SUV complete with smart functionalities.

The Nissan Ariya represents the company’s design transformation which also includes the unveiling of a new logo. It also takes the powerful performance and capabilities of zero-emission vehicles to a new level.

Its all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. There are different configurations to choose from. These include two-wheel-drive and e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes.

The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances performance with all-weather capability. The system’s twin electric motors provide a balanced, predictable ride, while delivering sports car-level power.

Tech-ladden smart car

The Nissan Ariya is equipped with tech to help you If you’re pretty challenged behind the wheel . It has the ProPILOT 2.0 which is an advanced driver assistance system. It comes with ProPILOT Remote Park and e-Pedal features.

The Ariya also has Nissan’s Safety Shield system which includes Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.

The Ariya is accompanied by Amazon’s Alexa. Couple that with its all-new human-machine interface, it lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Worried about updates? The car’s firmware can all be updated over-the-air (OTA) so keeping it up-to-date should be a breeze.

Subtle, futuristic interior

The exterior design isn’t the only thing that was given a fresh look. The Nissan Ariya has an interior who’s design language follows that of “Timeless Japanese Futurism.”

Nissan’s designers took advantage of the car’s new EV platform. It allows for a flat floor and its compact climate control components give the Ariya the most spacious cabin in its class.

The lounge-like interior features Zero Gravity seat and provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike.

New car, new logo

Debuting on the Nissan Ariya is Nissan’s new logo. The company says it symbolizes the company’s dedication to keep innovating for new generations of customers.

The company name remains at the center of the logo. This should communicate an instantly recognizable brand that evokes past milestones and memories while also conveying evolution.

Moving forward, it will appear in coming Nissan models as they’re introduced or refreshed.

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