There’s no denying that the small SUV segment has been witnessing almost stellar growth in the Indian car market. While the Tata Sierra became the first small SUV to enthral our country’s car buying lot, it is the Renault Duster, which came more than a decade after the demise of the aforementioned Tata offering, that can be very well credited with redefining the entry-level SUV market. Taking a leaf out of its French partner’s book, Nissan decided to come up with its own iteration of small SUV. Pretty unsurprisingly, the Japanese better half decided to take a rather fool-proof approach, and resorted to some ‘badge engineering’. While the Duster got a comprehensive ‘re-skinning’ exercise, Nissan made it a point to leave the basic design of the highly successful donor vehicle largely untouched. The Terrano moniker was resurrected for the Nissan-ised Duster and the ‘all-new’ small SUV from the Japanese auto major found itself positioned slightly higher than its French cousin on the price sheets. Quite unsurprisingly, the diesel variant of the Terrano has found quite a few takers and while we’ve always maintained that the diesel Terrano is among the more sorted out products in its price segment, we were quite eager to sample the petrol version of the sole SUV offering in Nissan India’s product portfolio. Recently, we spent a good part of the week with the Terrano’s petrol variant, and you can find all the important details on the petrol version in our Nissan Terrano petrol review here-
Design and Styling
Visually, save for the badges, there’s nothing that distinguishes the petrol variant from its diesel sipping sibling. However, worth a mention here is that the petrol variant is available only in the mid-level XL trim, which means that it misses out on the mag wheels and makes do with black-painted steel-rims and wheel covers. Like we just said, Nissan thought it appropriate to bestow upon the Terrano a host of new panels, the overall design and styling, especially when the car is viewed in its side profile, remains largely unchanged. All this means that the Terrano benefits from the Duster’s rather daunting stance and overall rugged appearance.
However, Nissan has worked on the car’s front- and rear-end styling and the Terrano flaunts an all-new nose, along with a slightly different tail. The Terrano’s headlights comprise of a two-lens setup, and the car also gets an all-new radiator grille that pays homage to some more premium SUVs from the Japanese car marque. At rear-end, the car gets a new tailgate and a slightly different bumper. However, the highlight here are the arguably more stylish wrap-around taillights that give a sleek edge to the car’s rear styling. Akin to the exterior, the interior of the Terrano almost mirrors the Duster. However, the dashboard gets new rectangular-shaped aircon vents and faux chrome inserts to make things more interesting.
Overall, we believe that the guys over at Nissan have done a pretty good job with infusing some premium elements with the Duster’s design, this, without disturbing the appeal that is characteristic of the donor vehicle.
Engine, Gearbox and Fuel Mileage
Under the hood of the Terrano Petrol is a 1.6-litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder motor that churns out 104PS and 145Nm. The engine, which is a fairly potent unit, revs all the way till 5850 rpm and displays decent levels of refinement. However, the low-end performance leaves more to be desired and the engine comes into its elements only after 2200 rpm. The engine comes mated to a smooth-shifting 5-speed manual transmission that offers a positive shift action. Acceleration is brisk and the Terrano petrol is sufficiently potent to cruise at triple digit speeds on the highways.
As must be obvious to you, the petrol variant of the Terrano is far from being as efficient as its diesel-sipping sibling. However, some sedate driving awarded us with a fuel economy of above 13 km/l, which isn’t really bad for a small SUV with 1.6-litre petrol engine.
Ride, Handling and Braking
Ride quality on offer is exemplary and the Terrrano’s ‘magic carpet ride’ has left us really impressed. The suspension soaks in the biggest of the craters with aplomb and the passengers seldom get to know of the rough patch of road that the suspension has been busy flattening out. And even though the Terrano offers a really comfortable ride, the car never feels too softly sprung. The Terrano feels planted at high speeds and there is nary a reason to worry while playing the lane splitter. The steering, which is a HPS (Hydraulic Power Steering) unit, feels a tad heavy at low speeds, but inspires a lot of confidence once the speedo climbs. Body roll is well controlled and the Terrano can easily stick out its tongue at some of the sedans out there. The only grouse we have here is the aggressive centre-back action of the steering wheel. You really need a firm grip on the wheel to fight off the resistance it might have to offer.
While the Terrano exhibits a good mixture of ride and handling manners, its braking prowess can be best described as average. The brakes don’t offer much in terms of feedback and worsening the situation is the odd position of the brake pedal. True, the Terrano has got sufficient potent brakes, but the spongy feel from the pedal mars the overall experience.
Like we said, the Terrano petrol is available only in the mid-spec XL trim and hence, it misses out on bits like mag wheels, leather upholstery, and keyless entry. However, it does get front fog lamps, a 2-din audio system with USB/Aux-in/ Bluetooth connectivity and remote central locking. Safety features include ABS and dual front airbags.
The Terrano impresses in areas like ride and handling, and engine performance. On top of it, it manages to look slightly more premium than the high selling Renault Duster. To cut a long story short, the petrol sipping variant of the Terrano makes a lot of sense for those petrol SUV buyers who are on a look out for a stylish and a rather fun to drive small SUV. However, we would want Nissan India to offer the more loaded XV trim with this engine variant.
So, what do you have to say about our Nissan Terrano petrol review? Do share your views by penning them down in the comments section below.