When the Nissan Terra first came out in 2018, it gained a reputation for having the best ride in the pickup-based SUV segment. It also packed a number of innovative Nissan Intelligent Mobility driver-assist features. However, it didn’t exactly push any boundaries, and its competitors easily surged ahead just a few years later. Fast forward to this day, and Nissan comprehensively updated the Terra in response to customer feedback. We’ve driven the 2022 Nissan Terra VL for a week now, and our excellent first impressions of this SUV still hold true even after we’ve clocked in more than 500 kilometers in its odometer.
As far as pickup-based SUVs go, this new 2022 Nissan Terra VL that we’ve got here is a looker. In my opinion, it’s one of the most handsome in its segment. While the Fortuner LTD or Montero Sport GT are on the sporty side, the new Terra is more on the elegant side. The enlarged V-Motion grille with its thick chrome detailing give it a premium vibe, while the new quad-LED headlamps are the most sophisticated-looking in its segment.
The side profile remains largely unchanged, except for the fact that it now rides on a sleek set of 18-inch alloy wheels, which is standard on all variants. On the other hand, the rear fascia receives major changes. The tailgate design is new, and it now features a thinner chrome strip and a new set of LED taillights.
If you think the exterior looks great, wait till you see the 2022 Nissan Terra VL’s interior. The plasticky dashboard that’s straight out of the Navara has been ripped out in favor of a completely new, more premium dashboard design. The top of the dash is still finished in hard plastic, but that’s nothing compared to the wide expanse of red leather dominating your view. Even the knurled climate knobs have a metallic feel, and all the buttons you interact with now have a crisp and damped feel.
The center console is also completely new, and this is in order to accommodate the new electronic parking brake for the VL variants. Unfortunately, while the flat-bottom steering is new, it still does not have telescopic adjustment, which can be a challenge for a few drivers. Still, the Zero Gravity Seats continue to be one of the best in the class, and it offers the most generous lumbar adjustment as well in its segment.
Also new for the 2022 update is the 9-inch infotainment system that runs a second generation of the Nissan Connect operating system. The graphics are sharp, crisp, and gorgeous, though it’s not as responsive as Ford’s SYNC3. This new infotainment system also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay–a Terra exclusive, and wired Android Auto. Because of this, iPhone users will happily enjoy the new wireless charging pad.
Those at the back will get to enjoy an 11-inch rear entertainment system, wherein the HDMI port is located on the third-row seats. Passengers will also appreciate the class-leading second-row space, thanks to the Terra having the longest wheelbase and the widest interior. I do have two gripes, however. Middle passengers only benefit from two-point lap belts and the lack of a middle headrest. As for the third row, it’s not exactly spacious, but it’s doable. Legroom is workable when the second-row seats are slid forward a bit. The main concern is headroom, which is nonexistent for my 5’10” height.
Nissan has not given any numbers for the Terra’s trunk space, but we think it’s par for the course. It’s not exactly the flattest, since there’s a hump at the rear to accommodate the third-row seats, but it’s a far better solution than the Fortuner’s hanging third-row seats. Also unfortunate is the lack of a powered tailgate, though it’s not a huge deal-breaker for us.
Powering the 2022 Nissan Terra VL is the same 2.5-liter inline-4 turbo diesel engine as before, which means it produces 190 hp at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. It still does not sound as modern as rivaling diesel engines, nor does it produces class-leading figures, but it has a decent torque curve that makes the most out of its available torque.
Its linear power delivery makes it good for overtaking, and it still has a decent amount of pull at the higher revs, unlike Ford’s diesel engines. The 7-speed automatic is still unchanged, though it works well under most circumstances.
What’s impressive this time around is the Terra’s significantly improved refinement. When inside the Terra, the engine is hushed and muted. Along with the added sound suppression measures such as added insulation in the chassis, and the new double-layer acoustic glass, the new Terra is now one of the quietest and most refined SUVs in its class.
Complementing the improved refinement is its benchmark ride. It’s still not as smooth as a unibody SUV like a Mazda CX-8 or a Honda CR-V since the body-on-frame chassis still lets in a tiny amount of vibrations from the road. However, as far as vehicles in its segment go, the new Terra is the closest anyone could get to a unibody SUV’s ride.
Another improvement Nissan has made is with the driving dynamics. One of my chief complaints with the previous Terra is its heavy and slow ratio steering. Nissan has finally fixed this, and you don’t need to make a lot of turns just to make the Terra change directions. The other aspect is its brakes, which now have a more reassuring bite compared to the previous Terra. This is mainly due to the fact that it finally now has rear disc brakes.
Safety has always been a hallmark of the Nissan Terra, as it was one of the only SUVs at the time to offer a full suite of advanced driver-assist systems. Called Nissan Intelligent Mobility, this includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system, and a digital rear view mirror for the VL variants. It still does not come with radar-guided adaptive cruise control though, but it’s not a huge deal-breaker for us.
As for fuel economy, the best I could achieve was 9.9 km/l, which is not exactly good compared to the double digits I was achieving with competing SUVs when driving here in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. This, however, is mainly due to the fact that this unit has not been broken in yet. It was only at 28 kilometers when it was delivered to me, and I’ve just clocked around 520 kilometers as of the moment the vehicle was picked up from me.
I’m thoroughly impressed driving this new 2022 Nissan Terra VL 4×2. For a mid-cycle facelift, the updates are very comprehensive. It’s definitely more than just a pretty face and a new set of tech features. What the new Terra represents is a turning point for Nissan, one that’s based on countless studies from its customers. Thanks to its significant updates, the Nissan Terra isn’t just an honorable mention anymore. It’s now one of the class standouts.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.4 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.