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Nissan Terra Sport 4x4 AT: Prettified goodness

No need to visit Banawe or Evangelista accessories shops

The changes on the Terra Sport are so distinct that you’ll know when you see one. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

Your car, your rules—as they say. We may not agree with what people do to their vehicles, but no matter how tacky we think these modifications are, respecting their sense of individuality should be a given.

Car accessories shops are making a killing from Pinoys’ love for customization. From fake vents that do nothing performance-wise, or emblems that span the width of the hood, or light-up tailgate garnishes of midsize SUVs that blink irritatingly—many businesses thrive because of this.

The new body finishes make the relatively old SUV look fresher. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

This has become a huge thing that even carmakers are trying to cash in on. Case in point: midsize SUV makers launching variants of their respective models featuring blacked-out trim.

Ford has the Sport for its Everest; Mitsubishi offers the Montero Sport in Black Series guise; and now, Nissan is joining the bandwagon with the Terra Sport.

This is blacked-out trim done right. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Despite the name, no technical upgrades were done on this SUV to improve its performance. After all, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel (187hp and 450Nm) is still one of the more powerful engines in its class.

The seven-speed automatic still makes good use of all that power, but can also deliver it in the smoothest way possible. Finally, the current suspension setup still offers one of the most comfortable drives in the midsize SUV segment.

The engine is still powerful, and power delivery is buttery smooth. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

Our test unit is based on the Terra 4×4 VL that I reviewed more than two years ago. So, in terms of standard equipment, everything you have here is the same thing you’re getting on a regular 4×4 VL.

So, what has changed exactly, you ask? Well, a lot of things got blacked out. The V-Motion grille and the front bumper under-garnish now come in a gloss-black finish. The same can be said for the faux side vent, the side mirrors, and the door handles. The huge license plate garnish also got the same treatment.

Inside, the red dash trim is now wrapped in black leather. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

The one big upgrade in the exterior is the new design of the 18-inch rims. By now, I’m sure that you already have an inkling of what the finish of the wheels is. There are only four available finishes for the Terra Sport: Galaxy Black, Aspen White Pearl, Fiery Red, and Stealth Pearl Gray, which is the color of our test unit.

Inside, the trim on the dash is now wrapped in black leather, a departure from the red thing on the range-topping 4×4 VL. I personally never liked how that red trim looks, so this is a welcome development. This simple change makes the interior look a lot classier—something pleasing to the eyes.

The comfortable Zero Gravity seats and the unusably low third row remain, for better or for worse. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Now that we’ve covered everything that has been added to the Terra Sport, you’re probably scratching your heads now as to what makes this extra variant special.

Well, there’s no need to go to your suking Banawe or Evangelista car accessories shop to do the upgrades yourself. Though I was never a fan of this fad, I must admit that Nissan Philippines did a great job with the tweaks.

The uncomfortable third-row seats at least fold flat on the floor, which is great for loading capacity. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Proof of this was the attention I got from people when the test unit was with me. At some stops, random folks would approach me just to ask what this Terra was and how much it sold for.

And with the whole list of features this SUV has, what you get is a prettified vehicle that performs well and is practical and still very comfortable.

Interior appointments remain the same for a very relaxed drive. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

Now, how much is this upgrade worth? Well, both the 4×2 and the 4×4 are priced just P60,000 more than the regular 4×2 (P2,179,000) and 4×4 (P2,469,000) VL variants.

Nifty features include this sweet-sounding eight-speaker Bose audio system. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

I know the price difference could be a deal-breaker for some, but if you think about it, not only has Nissan Philippines saved you from the hassle of getting these improvements one by one, but it has also saved you from ruining the Terra’s good looks.

There are no tacky changes here. The Terra Sport is one of the very few special variants that I genuinely like.

The Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite of ADAS features makes the Terra one of the most loaded pickup-based SUVs you can buy. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

The Terra Sport might seem like a gimmick for a lot of us, and in fact, it somewhat is. But you have to give it to Nissan Philippines for not messing up the good styling of this SUV to keep up with this irritating trend. And if only for that, the Terra Sport is a great exception.


Engine2.5-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission7-speed automatic
Power187hp @ 3,600rpm
Torque450Nm @ 2,000rpm
Dimensions4,900mm x 1,865mm x 1,865mm
Drive layout4WD
UpsideAll of the things that you've come to love about the Terra VL, only prettified with those tasteful blacked-out upgrades.
DownsideThe third-row seating is still virtually unusable. The absence of some features in the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite is a missed opportunity.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.