November 23, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2021 Nissan Terra VL 4×4

The Renewed Mid-size SUV Standard

There has been a tremendous amount of material both in print and online about Nissan’s award-winning and commercially successful mid-size Terra SUV. It made such a strong impression when it was first launched that it earned the 2018 C! Awards trophy for best-in-its class. Since then, the direct competition had their own scheduled evolution programs for their products, some more aggressive than others. As we had warned at the time, the Nissan Terra was still new and shiny when the direct competition not only caught up but surpassed it, namely the slightly larger Ford Everest with its potent twin-turbodiesel mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox with Electronic Locking Rear Differential, panoramic roof, stellar equipment packaging, and the best standard infotainment system for its class. The Ford would hold its C! Award class-lead for two years until the Nissan Terra received the substantial upgrades that it deserved to secure its win at the absolute slimmest margin against the handsome all-new Isuzu Mu-X.

The 2021 Nissan Terra, with the top-spec VL 4×4 tested here in Nebula Metallic Red, representing the range, is a proper winner again as the most driver-centric of the mid-size SUVs in our market. The upgrades for the heavily updated new Terra model range are class redefining. The suspension, independent double wishbone with coil springs and anti-roll bar and rear multi-link (5-Link) with coil springs and anti-roll bar were also tweaked for less overall body-roll. Though the 2.5-liter turbodiesel and 7-speed automatic transmission have been mechanically carried over, the powerplant tangibly feels more woke and attentive thanks to some recalibration to the transmission management. The updated comprehensive Nissan Intelligent Mobility Suite (Intelligent 360-degree Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Off-Road Monitor, Intelligent Rear View Mirror, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Advanced Drive Assist Display and Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is complete with quicker response and better visual outputs.

The new corporate identity steering wheel was applied while the non-electric power steering system itself was retuned for better feel and reaction. The most profound dynamic upgrade to the new Terra are the brakes; the front get significantly larger twin-piston calipers squeezing massive 13.7-inch (348 mm) vented discs up from narrower 11.6-inch (295 mm) vented discs while the rear swapped dated drum units for 13-inch solid discs with single sliders to also work with the new electronic parking brake. With the powerful new brakes, the control and pace management of the Terra gains seriously better real-world functionality with even more confidence behind the steering wheel.

If these improvements were the only features that were upgraded, the Terra would have already become more compelling but not winning yet. The next salvo of upgrades sealed the deal combined with a class-leading 5-year warranty and competitive pricing. The new front-end design with the more pronounced deep V-grille and fabulous quad-beam LED headlights, LED front fog lamps, and new rear LED signature lighting applied throughout the model range now makes the Terra look very much related to its brethren in other markets from the new Patrol/Armada to the Rogue and Pathfinder. Those new headlights not only look awesome but, more importantly, are the most powerful in its class keeping in mind that the most vital safety measure is accident avoidance altogether.

And the hits keep coming. The VL 4×4 models have a proper electronic differential lock, the 18 x 7J alloys have a stronger new two-tone design wrapped with 255/60R18 108H Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684II tires. The lovely new interior with contrasting Burgundy Red Leather (nice touch but I hope there will be more color trim options in the near future) on the dashboard, center armrest, and door panels, has been almost completely overhauled featuring a brilliantly crisp new factory 9-inch infotainment system powered by the acoustically optimized and best sounding 8-speaker BOSE® system in the segment with Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto / Bluetooth (Handsfree Calling and Audio Streaming) / USB (Type A and Type C), wireless phone charger, automatic rain-sensing wipers, 4 front and 4 rear parking sonars, and new more powerful three-row climate control system. The Zero Gravity front two seats and the two primary second row seats now have tasteful quilted patterns in the middle portions of the seats, and the 11-inch flip-down rear ceiling monitor with HDMI input (found at the third-row left panel of the theater-style seating). Water fording depth is rated at 600 mm. Ground clearance is still 225 mm. And the dimensions are carried over, 2850 mm wheelbase, 4900 mm length x 1865 mm width x 1865 mm height. The approach angle is 32.3 degrees while the departure angle is 26.6 degrees. The final result of all the factory improvements for 2021 is a genuinely balanced, thought-out, and thorough multi-purpose, multi-terrain people mover solution that Philippine buyers would really appreciate.



Engine Inline-4
Displacement 2488 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled VGT Turbodiesel
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 188 bhp @ 3600 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 332 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Transmission 7-Speed AT


Top Speed 203 km/h (127 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.7 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 16.1 Km/L overall as tested


Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,339,000.00
What's Great The Best-in-Class again, best lights in the segment, very comfortable, best audio quality in the segment, very full-featured, and athletic.
What's Not So Third-row best for young children that don’t require a child-seat, 2nd-row bench should have middle passenger headrest, non-powered rear trunk, and no telescopic steering adjustment.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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