The SUV segment of the Indian market has boomed over the past few years. With the Indian consumer’s ongoing craze over massively over-sized vehicles, companies have taken advantage of the opportunity and released barrage SUVs in every possible price bracket. As a result, buyers can choose from compact crossovers such as the Duster all the way to the incredibly powerful (and expensive) Mercedes Benz GL 63 AMG.
However, one of the fastest growing segments is the compact SUV segment. A section of the market populated by some of the biggest names of the auto industry. Here we pit the Nissan Terrano against the hugely popular Ford EcoSport to see which car could be the better bet.
The Terrano’s French cousin, the Duster had more of a love/hate design to it. Its butch exteriors and generous chrome grille gave the SUV a strong road presence. Unlike crossovers such as the Cross Polo and the Etios Cross, Renault has managed to endow the Duster with an exterior befitting of an SUV. Nissan has taken the Duster’s design and greatly improved on it.
The sharper headlights and revamped chrome grille give the Terrano a far more intimidating character. Nissan has also provided higher variants of the Terrano with premium diamond cut alloy wheels adding to the car’s upmarket feel. Similar to the Duster, the car’s flared wheel arches and raised ground clearance hint at the car’s off road nature.
The first to don Ford’s new design philosophy, the EcoSport is quite a good looking crossover. The large grille and high stance give the EcoSport a towering presence. The EcoSport’s length qualifies it to be under the sub 4 meter category giving it the benefit of a cheaper price tag. However, with its short stature and tall height the EcoSport looks rather stubby and disproportionate. To keep costs low Ford has also opted for rather tacky looking alloy wheels as well.
Round 1 Winner: Nissan Terrano !
Here’s where the Terrano loses out. Although the car is relatively new, the Terrano’s interiors are quite lackluster. The quality of plastics used are not upto par and the faux woodwork is immensely tasteless. The fat steering wheel is not available with steering mounted controls either. Although the music system features all the traditional inputs such as Bluetooth, USB, AUX IN and iPod connectivity, Nissan could have done a better job with the styling. However, the rather strange ovular door handles found on the Sunny and Micra do not make an appearance in the compact SUV, instead of which, the Terrano comes fitted with standard door handles which are far more pleasing to the eye.
Ford’s new Kinetic Design philosophy has worked wonders on the interiors of the EcoSport. A combination of sharp angles and a futuristic center console gives the EcoSport one of the best looking cabins of the crossover segment. As with most cars these days, the infotainment system comes fitted with the usual array of connectivity options. However, Ford has also included its new Voice Recognition system that allows users to make phone calls, change tracks as well as find and play tracks from a Bluetooth connected device. The new infotainment system offers more than just creature comforts as well. In case of an accident, the Ford call system automatically dials for emergency services, a welcome feature in a time where many manufacturers pay little heed to passenger safety.
One main issue with the EcoSport is the same one that plagues the Terrano as well: Quality. Despite having one of the best looking interiors, the quality of materials and fit & finish could have been much better.
Round 2 Winner: Ford EcoSport !
Nissan offers two engine options for the Terrano. The 1.5 L diesel engine that is offered with a majority of the SUV’s trim levels produces 84 HP @3750 RPM and 200 Nm of peak torque @1900 RPM. The petrol Terrano houses a 1.6 L naturally aspirated engine that puts out 102 HP and145 Nm of torque. Considering the sheer size of the car, these engine options are quite a disappointment.
However, the Terrano was never a car meant for true off-roading and the small engines will prove more than sufficient in city limits and vastly contribute to respectable mileage numbers.
The EocSport is offered with three engine options. The 1.5 L petrol engine produces 109 HP and 140 Nm of torque while the brand’s 1.5 L TDCi diesel mill churns out 89 HP and 204 Nm of torque. Ford has also introduced its critically acclaimed 1.0 EcoBoost engine for the Indian market as well. The 1.0 L petrol engine produces an astonishing 123 HP and 170 Nm of torque. The engine also gives the EcoSport an incredible mileage of 18.9 km/L.
Unlike the Terrano, Ford’s offering comes with an optional automatic gearbox for the 1.5 L petrol unit.
Round 3 Winner: Ford EcoSport !
The Nissan Terrano was a missed opportunity. Although the Japanese automaker has greatly improved on the Duster’s exteriors, it has failed to capitalize on the many flaws of its Renault sibling. However with its size and premium looking exteriors, the Terrano may garner a little more attention than the Duster.
The EcoSport on the other hand is a mechanical marvel. Despite its small size, it packs more for far lesser and offers never before seen features in its segment. An unbelievably powerful engine, superb interiors and feature loaded infotainment system all culminate to become one of the best cars to be sold in the Indian market so far. Although the EcoSport may seem to be the clear winner, the immense popularity of the compact SUV has led to Ford extending waiting periods to well over six months. Despite being the better option, the impatient will eventually turn to alternatives such as the Nissan Terrano.
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