Nissan Terrano spotted testing in Chennai

India's love for Utility Vehicles combined with the overwhelming success of the Renault Duster and Ford Ecosport have opened the floodgates for compact Sports Utility Vehicles in our country. From Maruti-Suzuki to Mercedes-Benz, every automotive manufacturer looking to increase their share in our market are developing one right now. Fortunately, Nissan seems to have one ready, thanks to it's strategic partnership with Renault that allows both brands to re-badge and sell each other's models at a slight premium. With Nissan lending its Micra and Sunny to Renault earlier, it's time for the latter to return the favour.

With most of the media fraternity starting to speculate on the name, looks and specifications, Nissan decided to put an end to all those rumors a couple of months back. Revealing that its compact SUV would be called the 'Terrano', a once-popular but discontinued nameplate, the Japanese manufacturer also released an official sketch that revealed the Terrano's significantly-redesigned front end. The Duster might be a big success, but one of its negatives is its design that lacks finesse. Don't get us wrong, we love the Duster's butch stance, but it just doesn't cut out in terms of attention to detail. If the official sketches are anything to go by, Nissan seems to have addressed that problem to an extent in the Terrano.

The sharp, angular headlights, the aggressive bumper and the thick chrome slats in the grille not only establishes an instant connection to other SUVs in Nissan's global lineup, but also adds some depth to the otherwise boring front end of the Duster. The profile, with its massively-flared wheel arches, looks untouched while Nissan seems to have tweaked the lights and bumper again at the rear to increase the Terrano's appeal. The rest of the car, including the chassis, engines and transmissions are expected to be carried over from the Duster. That's not bad, given the extremely practical and fuel-efficient 1.5-liter 'dCi' diesel engine that powers the Duster in two states of tune and its brilliant ride quality. Apart from the change of logos, we don't expect the interiors to change much as well.

These pictures of the camouflaged Terrano that was spotted testing in Chennai proves that Nissan isn't taking chances, despite the Duster proving itself in our market. It is being widely speculated that Nissan would launch formally unveil the Terrano before the end of this month.

The recent launch of the Ford Ecosport has exposed two more negative factors in the Duster - the lack of features and it's uncompetitive pricing. While its easy for Nissan to tackle the first problem by adding more features to the Terrano, the second problem is a bit more hard to deal with. Renault being the donor brand, Nissan would be forced to position the Terrano a shade higher than the Duster. And that means Nissan should be able to convince customers that the Terrano is worth buying at a premium when people have started realizing that the Duster itself is overpriced.

Will Nissan manage to do that? Will it shake off the Evalia's disastrous run in the market with the Terrano? Let the game begin!

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