Used car review

Nissan Terrano II 2.7 TDi LX

We are already 10 The Nissan has been sat in the sunlight of a gentle autumn morning. Not having time to inspect the finer points of the Terrano. I load up various bags, and members of family.

minutes late, so in I jump and off we pop. The Terrano is a bit of a greenhouse, Scan for the Air con, nope can't find it. Scan for the electric sunroof control and cant find that either, or the manual winder, or the sunroof in fact, damn. So I look for the window switches. After a couple of minutes fumbling I realise the windows are controlled by a couple of floppy rotating levers. After a couple of `twirls my ears are assaulted by the screaming of wind blasted women. Back up with the windows and as a last resort I turn to the heater controls, flip it too cold, open the vents, turn the fan on. The difference is minimal, ventilation is marginal and without a sunroof, I would be reluctant to drive one of these in summer.

Never mind I'll just sweat a little whilst we jump on the motor way hopefully the flow through the vents will chill us out. The Terrano grunts its way up the motorway, easing its way into the outside lane with foot pressed hard down, luckily the near side mirrors set to the right angle for me, very luckily because there is no internal adjustment and my chance of reaching of reaching over from the drivers seat is minimal.

Does this car sound badly equipped, if you do, you would be right it hasn't got a single solitary thing. Its just about as basic a car as it is possible to get. Oh it has got a radio cassette, but it's pretty nasty and fiddly so it doesn't count for much.

Either way its wobbling down the motorway pretty well 60-65mph seems to be the most comfortable cruising speed by 75 its starting to struggle it occasionally runs on past 80 on a slope, but if this will do the claimed 96 on the flat I will eat my proverbial shorts.

Off the motorway with a bit of time to experiment you can test the engine. It is many things big, quietish on the move, and torquey when the turbo is spinning. Despite the fact it displaces a largish 2.7 litres of turbo charged smoke creator its power is fairly limited. In real terms it pulls best past 2000 rpm and runs into a brick wall around 3500rpm hardly a long power range. The gear change helps cover up some of the deficiencies, for an off roader shift its very slick and quick, still not in top saloon car league but good compared to its normally recalcitrant opposition. The clutch pedal joins in the fun by being light and easy to work, The brakes are not quite a match requiring a decent push and still not generating too much stopping force. They definitely lack a little bite and power.

The nearest I got to an off road test was a large and slightly rough car park, suffice to say the Terrano passed this test with flying colours. Whether it could really pass a more rigorous test I don't know. I was though very surprised to see wishbones at the front end, rather than the more classical live beam usually associated with 4*4s.

Ride on the road is pretty good; even those in the back of the relatively short wheel base Terrano had few complaints, which is unusual to say the least.

Steering is a mixed bag. Above 10mph the steering is reasonably sharp direct and nicely weighted. Below 10 mph it becomes rather hard work. It seems to have a sort of variable steering effect and goes from stiff to incredibly stiff as you wind the lock on. Parking is a pain in the butt, and just a couple of floors up the multi-storey test route were enough to convince me I couldn't cope with struggling up and down 5 storeys daily.

Interior space was just about right in the passenger compartments for it proposed 5 people. The seat belts are set somewhat noticeably in ward of the shell and probably pinch 6 inches of space from either side.

Whilst the rear compartment is slightly and usefully bigger than the SWB Landcruiser I once tried, its not a patch on the Discovery which I consider to be the most perfectly formed off roader on earth.

Now in the normal scheme of things we would save the best bit till last, But in this case we are left with the looks of the Nissan Terrano. If Volvo designed it I would be surprised because it's too damn ugly to be a Volvo. If Lego designed it I would be surprised, because it just doesn't look hard enough to be a Lego model. Nope it just a plain old Nissan in the Datsun cherry mold, an ugly ill proportioned effete off roader if I ever saw one. Imagine a Cherry Estate monster truck and you would be somewhere close.


In the normal scheme of things the Terrano is a pleasant enough vehicle if made very boring and lacking in toys. But a boring soft 4*4 defeats the object of having one totally. If I had to live with a SWB 4*4 this one would come 4th on my list, but that's only because I've only tried 4. So there you go 4th out of 4th and likely to sink further.

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