4x4Car Reviews

2019 Nissan Terra Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 Nissan Terra Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In A Nutshell The 2019 Nissan Terra takes a Navara ute and transforms it into a seven-seat SUV. Although yet to be confirmed for Australia, it’s likely to arrive by 2020 to challenge the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner and Isuzu MU-X.

2019 Nissan Terra Specifications

Price $45,000 (estimated) Engine 2.5-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel Power 140kW at 3600rpm Torque 450Nm at 2000rpm Transmission 7-speed auto Drive Part-time dual-range four-wheel drive Dimensions 4885mm (L) 1865mm (W) 1835mm (H) 2850mm (WB) Ground Clearance 225mm Kerb Weight NA Angles 32.3 degrees (approach) 26.0 degrees (departure) Spare Full-size Fuel Tank 78 litres Thirst NA

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THE Terra is a new nameplate for Nissan but one that effectively fills a role of the Pathfinder that sold here from 2005 until 2013. Like that car, the Pathfinder sits on the rugged frame of a ute (the Navara) but with a family-friendly seven-seat body on top.

The Terra is yet to be confirmed for sale here, although Nissan Australia is keen to add the model to its fleet of serious off-roaders. It would give Nissan a diesel-powered seven-seat 4×4, something that disappeared from the range last year when the Patrol became a petrol-only car.

Nissan is also looking at a more rugged and capable version of the Navara, similar to the AT32 model that is sold in Europe. Nissan also says it is considering building the hulking Titan large truck (or ute) with the steering wheel on the right; if it happens, Australia would be a prime market.

Along with the Titan and Navara AT32 we gave the Terra a thorough test across a wide range of terrain in Morocco, a country with some surprisingly similar driving conditions to outback Australia.

What’s In The Range And How Much Does It Cost?

The Terra is currently offered only in some Asian markets, but Nissan Australia has its hand high in the air for a car that would compete with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Holden Trailblazer and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

Ours was the VL model grade, which comes with plenty of kit, including an intelligent rear-view mirror. It uses a camera mounted high in the back window to provide an unobstructed view out the rear via a rear vision mirror that doubles as a digital screen.

It also gets leather trim, tyre pressure sensors, smart key entry, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, electric driver’s seat, 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, rear DVD screen and 18-inch alloy wheels.

There’s also a dual-zone ventilation system with separate controls for those in the rear.

Now word on pricing yet, but rivals tend to kick off at about $45,000, so it’d be logical that the Terra would start somewhere around there. It would also be offered in a range of models, with prices stepping up further.

What’s The Interior and Practicality Like?

The cabin dishes up the sort of functionality families with appreciate. There is generous space in the first and second rows with knee room fine for adults in that middle row and enough room beneath the front seats for large shoes.

The third row is much tighter but okay for smaller people, although the rising side window reduces vision.

Parents wanting to give quick access to the third row will love the remote folding seats. Press one of two buttons in between the front seats and either side of the 60/40 middle row seat flips and folds – assuming there’s nothing in their way. It’s a neat system and one that adds simplicity to the loading/unloading task.

Overhead grab handles are peppered throughout, even covering the third row. There are also four circular air vents in the roof, feeding air to both back rows. Those in the rear can also control the air flow and temperature through separate controls on the roof.

Storage is plentiful throughout the cabin, too, with small pockets either side of the centre console, decent door pockets and a useful centre console.

However, there’s little in the way of flair throughout the cabin, the finishes and materials clearly chosen with price in mind. The dash plastics are quite hard, for example, and the roof lining nothing special. It gets the job done but doesn’t stand out.

What Are The Controls and Infotainment Like?

There’s plenty of Navara to the interior presentation, including the basic dashboard design, gear selector and steering wheel.

The main change is to the central infotainment screen (something that may be unique to certain regions), which packs more into its touchscreen rather than being flanked by lots of buttons.

So, a logical collection of ventilation controls and a screen that’s easy to navigate.

Some dials and buttons further down relate to off-roading, allowing on-the-fly engagement of four-wheel drive and the locking of the rear differential.

Further down there are two USB plugs, too.

The instrument cluster has generic tacho and speedo dials along with a digital display between them.

What’s The Performance Like?

While the Navara runs a 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel, the Terra gets a 2.5L single-turbo diesel. It’s a more powerful version of the engine used in the previous (D40) Navara.

While there’s a technical difference between old and new, each manages the same outputs – 140kW and 450Nm.

However, they’re produced in very different ways.

Whereas the Navara’s 2.3L is respectably quiet and refined for the type of vehicle it’s powering, the 2.5L in the Terra has some extra huskiness that lets you know it’s working.

It’s got grunt and does a decent job of trudging up hills and ploughing over sand dunes, but its emphasis is on torque and low-rev muscle. Through soft sand the engine is extended to keep some two tonnes of 4WD moving, so you’ll be hard on the throttle to keep things rowing along.

It works well with the seven-speed auto, too, with nicely timed shifts.

What’s It Like On The Road?

Most of our driving was done off-road in Morocco, where the conditions are often similarly punishing to Australia.

But we did manage some short on-road bursts, during which the hushed wind and tyre noise made for a respectably quiet cabin. It’s only the engine that is a touch louder than SUV buyers may like (and that’s something that will be fixed with the fitment of the 2.3-litre).

As with any separate chassis SUV it’s not super sharp in its responses to steering inputs, the high centre of gravity and higher-profile tyres conspiring against it on that front. While suspension up front is independent, the rear is a live axle setup.

That said, it’s faithful in its direction changes and suitably responsive for a large off-roader. There’s some leaning through corners, but it’s not excessive and the Terra is generally well behaved.

What’s It Like Off The Road?

The rougher things get the more the Terra rises to the challenge. Its suspension is nicely controlled but has enough compliance to deal with chunky imperfections.

It also shuns big dips and dives well. While there’s some shortlived shuddering over big hits it recovers swiftly, ready for the next one.

The generous 225mm of ground clearance ensures it straddles deep wheel ruts easily or traverses wayward rocks or obstacles.

Underneath, there’s decent steel protection for vital engine components and the bumpers are tucked neatly out of the way (the approach angle is an impressive 32.3 degrees).

Unlike Nissan’s own Patrol, the Toyota LandCruiser and Prado and others, the Terra has a part-time four-wheel drive system. So, on bitumen you need to leave it driving only the rear wheels, but four-wheel drive can be selected when on the run, allowing quick engagement of the front wheels.

Combined with traction control that quickly picks the wheels with more traction there is a locking rear differential for very low traction situations.

All of which adds up a very capable and composed off-roader, one that deals as easily with the higher speed dirt road touring as well as it does more technical terrain.

Does It Have A Spare?

There’s a full-sized spare tucked under the rear of the car. You need to wind it down from underneath the car. But at least there’s peace of mind that if you get a puncture you can replace the tyre with an identical one.

A tyre pressure monitoring system is also standard, giving early warning if a tyre is losing air.

Can You Tow With It?

As with many in this class, the Terra is designed to tow, although the markets in which it’s currently sold don’t quote a load capacity.

Given the Navara on which it is based is rated to tow up to 3500kg and most ute-based SUV rivals claim a 3000kg capacity it would be logical to assume its tow claims would sit somewhere near that.

What About Ownership?

We don’t even know the price of the car, so it’s obviously too early to say how much it’ll cost to service a Terra in Australia. But don’t expect it to be much different to a Navara. The Navara calls for a service every 12 months or 20,000km and the first six services range in price from $547 to $738.

While Nissan offers a five-year warranty in some markets, for Australia the standard warranty coverage sits at a disappointing three years. Hopefully that will have changed by the time the Terra arrives, which is expected to be some time after 2020.

What Safety Features Does It Have?

The Terra has a suite of airbags, including head-protecting side curtains that cover all three rows.

There’s also blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

However, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) – the ability to automatically perform an emergency stop to avoid hitting another car – isn’t available yet. But it’s something Nissan’s product planners are aware would need to change for Australia, in part to help it achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

It’s not a difficult addition, either. The Navara with which the Terra shares most of its frontal design comes with AEB on cars sourced from the European plant.

It’s only a matter of time before the same system is integrated into the Thai factory where the Terra is produced (Navaras sold in Australia are also sourced from Thailand).

The Terras we drove had a lap-only centre seatbelt and lacked a centre top tether point for child seats, two things easily fixed for Australia.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring says: The Terra is a solid and capable off-roader that gets the basics right and again gives Nissan an entrant in the busy seven-seat diesel-powered SUV space it has traditionally been very strong in. What it lacks in on-road flair it makes up for with rugged ability that cements it as a proper four-wheel drive that comfortably traverses rough terrain. The 2.5-litre engine is okay, but won’t make an appearance in Australia, with the Navara’s more refined 2.3-litre instead being the likely candidate. The next step is when it will arrive in Australia. Best guesses suggest it’ll be 2020 or later, by which time the active safety should hopefully have been plumped up.

Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.