In Germany, the Nissan Terrano has long been dead. In Russia and some Asian markets, however, it is alive and kicking - as a spry Dacia-based pensioner.
Oh yes, the Nissan Terrano. The series has not burned itself deeply into people's consciousness. No wonder: in the late 1980s, the model, the first generation of which was based on the Pathfinder intended for the US market, was one of the pioneers among compact SUVs. But the Terrano did not become a bestseller. Not even in its European form, offered from 1993, in which it was almost identical to the Ford Maverick of the time. In 2001 it was followed by the X-Trail, after which the Nissan Terrano quickly faded from our memories.
But not from other markets where the SUV has continued to be offered since then (some would say: up to mischief). In Japan, the Terrano existed well into the 2000s, as a descendant of the original model. And the Maverick twin still convinced enough buyers in Southern and Eastern Europe that Nissan even kept it in its portfolio there - always slightly refreshed - until 2007. At this point at the latest, it was thought that the days of Terrano were numbered. Until he emerged from obscurity in India in 2013 and a year later in Russia.
In truth an old Dacia Duster
Although the Terrano really had nothing to do with the previous generations, it presented a familiar appearance. Briefly pondered and asked: Can that really be? Yes, it's true, the impression is not misleading: the Dacia Duster of that time drove up here, but with Nissan logos and a modified front and rear. The Terrano, regularly facelifted, has remained on the Russian market to this day. The last major facelift was in spring 2017. Two years later, another refresh brought it smartphone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple Carplay, among other things.
If you want to understand how a Dacia Duster can become a Nissan Terrano, you have to know the international connections in the car industry. The Romanian brand Dacia is now part of the Renault group, which has formed an alliance with Nissan since 1999; three years later it even became a joint stock company. As part of the partnership, the French happily use the platforms and drives of the Japanese and vice versa. The partners sometimes also do very simple "badge engineering", i.e. stick the emblem of one Allianz brand on the product of the other - like that of Nissan on the Dacia Duster of the first generation.
"Reliable and field-tested engines"
It is obvious that such an old car in terms of design - the platform has existed since 2004, the Germany launch took place in spring 2010 - is not powered by the most modern engines of the group.Nissan Russia calls the two four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engines with displacements of 1.6 and 2.0 liters "reliable and field-tested engines". The smaller representative of the duo delivers 114 hp and a maximum of 156 Newton meters. The top engine delivers 143 hp and a maximum of 195 Newton meters. Both are available with all-wheel drive; an automatic transmission is even available for the two-liter model.
Terrano buyers shouldn't expect a high-quality interior. "The interior of the car has been modified taking into account local operating conditions and the requirements of Russian buyers," the manufacturer says. Means: Robustness and longevity outweigh a pretty design or great materials. The trunk holds between 408 (four-wheel drive version) and 1,636 liters (front-wheel drive variant), but does not offer a flat loading floor when the rear seat backrest is folded down.
Not that cheap at all
Anyone who thinks that an old Dacia Duster should be a new car bargain even under the Nissan flag will be taught a lesson by reality. The basic price of the Terrano in Russia is currently 1,134,000 rubles, the equivalent of a good 13,300 euros. For comparison: The current version of the real Duster, although not yet facelifted, currently costs at least 1,017,000 rubles (almost 12,000 euros) in Putin's empire. By the way, he drives with the Renault logo on the Russian roads. But that's another story altogether.
Is old Duster still alive? Yes, he's still alive! Namely as Nissan Terrano on the Russian market. There is no end in sight for the time being, because the importer there has always made every effort to keep the compact SUV modern enough to be able to sell it there. Let's see how long Nissan drives the game. After all, you can see the right model on site: the Lada Niva aka Taiga aka 4x4 is still alive - and not dying.