The Terra scores high in safety and off-road performance

What you need to know:

Safety features including intelligent rearview mirror, lane departure warning, and blind spot warning, make this SUV an ideal option for someone who considers safety a priority.

One of the features I adore about the Nissan Terra is the maroon leather dashboard, seats, and the trim. Some parts of the door interior and the arm rest for the driver and co-driver are also leather-coated.

The big smart screen positioned in the middle of the dashboard makes you feel safe while driving.

For example, as I drove the 2022 model medium Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) from Naalya to Muyenga via the Northern Bypass in Kiwatule, Ntinda-Kisaasi Road, Ntinda-Stretcher and eventually to Jinja Road, I could clearly see motorcyclists approaching the car within a distance of three feet through the smart screen and the various sensors.

This was complemented by sonar, a warning alarm as motorcyclists came closer to the car. The same alarm sounds if you drive closer to any other objects, including the pavement.

Driving towards Bukasa at the end of Eighth Street in Namuwongo, the dashboard at some point read “Ensure safety before manoeuvring. This appears especially when the road ahead is narrow. The smart screen shows you the outer view of the car, especially where the tyres are positioned before manoeuvring in the available road space.

Car features

A medium size SUV by design, the Nissan Terra is built with a 2500cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with an output of 140 kilowatts. It runs on a relatively smaller engine but with reliable output and fuel efficiency. It also has a fuel tank capacity of 80 litres, with a speedometre of up to 220km.

It is a seven seater, with two extra button-flipped seats in the trunk.

When all windows are raised, you block out all sound, including the revving engine. The downside to this is that you might accelerate harder because it feels as though you are driving at snail speed.

The car also has five link coil strings in the rear wheel system to make it more grounded, stable and comfortable while driving on pot holed or bumpy roads. It comes in both seven-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions.

The hand brake is not your usual pull and turn, or one you engage with your foot; it is only applicable by gently lifting a button behind the gear lever when you want to engage it, and gently pushing it down to release the hand brake. 

The Terra also has a wireless charging system. You just drop your phone in a wireless charging terminal with sensors and the charging button will light orange, to show that your phone has started charging. 


For entertainment, the Terra has eight speakers and digital frequency modulation (FM) channels to tune to any local radio stations. You can also play music from your phone using the smart screen via Bluetooth connections. It also allows you to control the volume using your steering wheel. As I drove up Bukasa Hill next to the Muyenga stone quarry, I accelerated harder and it was evident that the car could smoothly go uphill without struggling to pick power. 

As I came to the hilltop, I left the gear lever in drive mode, and took the foot off the brake and accelerator pedals. The car neither moved backwards nor forward because of the hill assist feature.

As I drove down Tank Hill Road from Muyenga, the car went downhill gently without the need for me to step on the brake pedal. It is a safety feature to manage the weight of the vehicle on a steep slope by locking the double differentials.  


The most noticeable safety features of the Terra are the collision and parking sensors. While reversing, the camera will automatically be triggered and the sonar will go off to allow you have a bird’s eye view of the rear. The car also has curtain and side airbags in case of side impacts, complimented by ordinary seatbelts.

The steering wheel can be collapsed, meaning that if it is a hard-hit impact such as a head-on collision where the bonnet folds, instead of your chest area facing the steering wheel, it (steering wheel) will release the airbag and fall so that it does not hit you.  


The Terra also covers 11kms per litre of fuel on the highway and nine kilometres a litre in urban areas. It picks up speed from zero to 100km mark in approximately 10 seconds. The side mirrors are big enough to give you a wider view of the rear and overtaking vehicles. When driving over road bumps above 50km/hour, the car remains steady. It will absorb the discomfort while still maintaining traction.


Richard Bamujje, the marketing coordinator at Nissan Motorcare, Kampala, says a brand new Terra with zero mileage costs $70,000, which is approximately Shs245m.

He adds that after reaching 5,000kms, you will need Shs300,000 for minor service to replace engine oil, coolant, brake pads, oil, fuel and air filters and transmission fluid.

The cons

The Terra is not built for speed. According to, the slightly boxy design combined with high ground clearance gives the Nissan Terra some amount of body roll at high speeds. Likewise, the soft suspension makes the overall ride a bit bouncy.

Also, the same big dimensions that make the Terra a spacious midsize SUV makes it too bulky for in-city manoeuverability.

Design may be too traditional for some

The Terra’s interior design is expected to be traditional. However, it may be too traditional for some; the layout of the dashboard has been kept simple, and while it packs all the premium features, it could have done with a few contemporary stylish flourishes to justify its price.


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