Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) wanted a different kind of experience for the automotive media people, so they whisked us away to queen city of Legazpi in Bicol. The Nissan guys promised different kinds of activities with the new Nissan Terra, just to challenge ourselves. That challenge started as soon as we landed in Legazpi airport.

The first part was a 100km drive to Naga City in the Nissan Terra, with drivers taking turns. Every driver was given equal opportunity to have a definite feel of the long drive. Short burst to 90kph showed enough power to zip along the highway and easily overtake slower vehicles, although most parts of the national highway was also suffering from heavy traffic. The trip was comfortable, thanks to the famed suspension and excellent AC!

After a sumptuous lunch, we drove back to Legazpi, via a longer but scenic seashore route. Maybe it was the afternoon heat, or the constant sight of the beautiful Mayon Volcano, but we unknowingly broke away from the convoy. The three of us in Terra #8 were completely engrossed in gossiping that we instinctively followed the road back, instead of the new route. We have the Terra to blame! The interior was completely sealed off from outside noise. The ride was very comfortable; none of us suffered from cramps from the long journey. Legroom for the passengers was completely generous and driving posture was just right, even for us taking turns at the wheel.

We arrived at the picnic grounds around 4pm, and we took advantage of the remaining daylight to take pictures. We were the only group to have this afternoon beauty shots! Lucky us! We waited for the other group to arrive, just to antagonize them with our shots. Later that evening, the dinner program commenced, with the picturesque Mayon as a natural and enchanting backdrop.

Dinner was a festive atmosphere, with entertainment. The star of the night, however, was presented by NPI President and Managing Director Ramesh Narasimhan: a limited edition Nissan Terra VL in Fiery Red hue. The interior is now All-Black, as opposed to the standard brown upholstery. Only 100 units of these special Terras will be available to the public; 70 units will be the 4×2 VL and the remaining 30 units will be the 4×4 VL.

What’s more, this limited edition Terra VL will not be priced higher than standard VL variants. Powertrain of the Terra remain unchanged, powered by a 2.5-liter turbodiesel engine boosting 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque.

Singer belts out old favorites, much to the crowd’s enjoyment!

The next day was composed of just three activities; A hike to the volcano rock formations, an ATV trip to the Mayon slope, and a long rough trail driving experience with the 4wd Terras. Little did we know that those activities will eat the better part of the day, and suck the strength from all of us. Hiking was slow but fun, but the air was a little thin. Oh yeah, there was a helipad on top of the formation. To say that the view was fantastic was an understatement. Going down is another story; Some opted for the zipline exit, the rest took their time going down – which was safer!

The ATV trip took at least 40 minutes to the slope. An awe inspiring view greeted us and gave us chills despite the heat of the sun. Those 40 minutes were more than enough to instill courage to return down the trail faster; Talk about learning curve!

After lunch, we took the Terras to a long dirt trail, just to get the hang of the 4wd system. The Terras took the beating without battling an eyelash. The rocky and narrow roads were easy to manuever, and steering was responsive enough. Even on street tires, the Terra gave enough confidence on grip, thanks to the differential locking system. The engine didn’t flinch even on steep inclines. I swear we think we could cross the terrain even without 4wd. All was quiet inside; no exterior sound going through. This is truly off-roading in style! Good music with cold AC; what more could you ask for?

Time flies indeed when you’re having fun. The next day was only to prepare for the flight home. Incidentally, some media peeps drove a Terra back to Manila. I only wish I could have joined them just to see how it feels to travel in a Terra for hours. The ride was reportedly smooth and trouble free..as expected. Frugal on diesel too!

Oh well, maybe next time.

Text/Images by Earl Manalansan

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