A love affair with the Pickup Platform Vehicle: A closer look at why Filipinos love the Nissan Terra, Toyota Fortuner, and the like

May 31, 2018

Photo by: Erica De Zuzuarregui

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware by now that Nissan just revealed its entry into the fiercely-contested Pickup Platform Vehicle midsize SUV class, the Terra. Launched to the Southeast Asian region in our very own Clark Global City in Pampanga, the new Terra is set to take the fight to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and Ford Everest.

Even before it was unveiled, Nissan was already hard at work posting teasers, tidbits, and all sorts of info about the 7-seater. All this shows just how important this offering is for Nissan as it finally has a serious contender in the category. But why all the hoopla surrounding the Terra? Is the segment really that important to carmakers such as Nissan and the like?

Simply look around you as you traverse the streets of Metro Manila and you’ll know the answer to this question. Almost everywhere you turn, there is at least one of these vehicles running around. It’s either a Fortuner, Montero Sport, Chevy Trailblazer, Isuzu mu-X or  Everest. Yes, Filipinos seem to love these vehicles. Why?

For one thing, it’s got the space of a minivan. The seven-seat layout means that every member of the family, including Lolo and Lola, and even the kasambahay can come along for the ride. And the flexible seating arrangement means that luggage, outdoor gear, and passengers will all fit.

Another reason why Pickup Platform Vehicles are selling like the proverbial hotcake is the diesel motor under the hood. Unlike the likes of the Ford Expedition that ruled in the 1990s, these SUVs sip fuel as opposed to the Exped which seemed to have a drinking problem. Jokes aside, this means one can have the rugged SUV minus costly fuel bills.

The size seems just right.  While it is bigger than your average compact sedan, it isn’t too hulking so as to require a truck driver’s skill behind the wheel. The high ground clearance (around 225mm for the Terra) gives the driver that command driving position and the confidence to tackle any terrain, including our flooded Metro streets come the rainy season..

But let’s not kid ourselves. These vehicles will most likely never see a muddy mountain trail. The most off-roading they may do is traverse a grassy or gravel parking lot. But at least the ladder frame chassis ensures that they can hack it. And if you saw Nissan putting the Terra through its paces up that steep sand “dune”, you’d know that your ride can easily climb that sloping mall parking ramp.

And yes, it does have the minivan space—minus the minivan image. Don’t get us wrong; we love minivans for what they are. But most people tend to label them as soccer mom mobiles. The midsize SUV solves this dilemma by offering the “tough image” but with a more comfortable and versatile interior.

So yes, it looks like the likes of the Nissan Terra are definitely here to stay. And rule the streets while they’re at it.

About the Author

Mr. Gerard Jude Castillo
Gerard has been a self-confessed car nut ever since he was a little boy. As a grown-up, he indulges in his passion by collecting toy cars (which he started since childhood) and reading up on the latest cars out there.  As Associate Editor, he will ensure that you get your fill of the latest cars in the market, as well as a load of automotive features.