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Review: Nissan Terrano
Driven September 2013
The Duster has been the best thing to happen to brand Renault since its inception in India. Looking at the 'sharing is caring' history between Renault and Nissan, it's no wonder that Nissan (who's part owner of the plant where the Duster is manufactured) wants a version of the compact SUV for itself. But who are we to complain?
Unlike the Terrano that's sold outside India, the one we're getting is essentially a Renault Duster under the skin. Visually, of course, there are some striking differences. In fact, apart from the rear fender and the roof, none of Terrano's body panels are identical to the Duster. What it does get is Nissan's family look, complete with lots of chrome on the two vertical slats on the grille that house a large chrome-finished Nissan badge. There are other notable visual differences like the slightly modified sheet metal on the doors, aluminium brushed door handles, roof rails and the large tail lamp cluster, which makes the rear look more defined than the Duster's. The rear fender, however is exactly the same as the Duster's with flared wheel arches that give it a rugged SUV look.
The change in design reflects on the interiors as well. The dashboard for one, gets a refreshing change with better-looking rectangular air vents instead of the round ones used in Duster. Nissan has also gone a step ahead and added a small compartment right above the vents. In fact, the front area is full of useful cubbyholes, while the rear surprisingly is quite barren, without even door panels. The Terrano gets a really big boot at 475 litres; enough to store luggage of all five passengers. If you need more, just fold down the rear seats to increase capacity to a whopping 1,064 litres.
The equipment seems to be a bit on the stingier side with a basic-looking audio system that sports USB, aux and Bluetooth connectivity, but without steering-mounted controls. Unlike the Duster, there's no driver seat height adjust. So effectively, the Terrano misses out on a feature that even compact hatches now have as standard fitment.
On the mechanical front, the Terrano shows a lot more similarity to the Duster. You have the option between a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 103bhp and 145Nm, and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel block that offers two sets of tunes – the lesser powerful one churning out 84bhp and 200Nm, and the more powerful one putting out 109bhp and 248Nm. The diesel motor does put the power down well, and in spite of the initial lag, it spins happily after 1,500rpm and stays that way all the way till 4,000 rpm.
The 109bhp diesel gets a six-speed manual gearbox, while the petrol and 84bhp diesel get five speeds. The six-speeder is super-efficient on the highway, with two overdrives. It also has well-spaced ratios that don't require you to frequently shift in city traffic. At 100kph, the engine revs at a lazy 2,150rpm in sixth, but the throws are short and swift, ensuring great shift quality.
Our drive on the highway and city roads gave us a combined efficiency of 15.8kpl, which is very economical especially for an SUV. Ride quality was great, absorbing major shocks and potholes well, keeping the passengers comfortable. The struts and high-profile rubber join forces to accomplish this fabulous shock-absorbing feat.
Like the Duster, the Terrano also has a bit of roll around corners, but it's not bad enough to be an issue. The steering is full of feedback, to the point where it's sometimes a little too communicative. Throwing the Terrano around bends results in the steering rushing to the centre faster than we'd like it to.
Want one? You can book it right now at a Nissan dealership for a nominal booking amount, even though the prices have not yet been announced nor is there a hint of a concrete launch date. Though we will keep you updated on that front, word is that the Terrano will be pegged higher than the Duster by about Rs 50,000.
So for the extra money, you get a much better-looking Duster, minus a couple of essential features, namely steering-mounted controls and driver’s seat height adjust. But even without these, the Terrano is a good buy if you’re looking for a small SUV with the Duster’s driving dynamics but a better-styled exterior.
1,461cc, 4-cylinder, 109bhp, 248Nm, 6M, FWD, overall kpl: 15.8
Carries forward Duster’s great ride and handling character, with a dose of premium injected into the styling.