WHILE the Murano might have been the first medium-sized crossover, blending a coupé-like profile with the dimensions of an SUV, it wasn’t really a segment that we thought needed addressing.
Clearly Nissan were on to something, as crossovers have been coming in consistently from almost every manufacturer in some shape or form over the past few years.
The new design is certainly an improvement over its predecessor; it maintains the same basic shape but incorporates features that make the vehicle look more modern. A new front grille, bumpers and LED tail-light design are some of the updated styling cues.
One of the biggest selling points of a car like this is the curb-side appeal, something that the Murano seems to have. It has a presence both on the road and while parked. Driving this car around will get you noticed due to its sheer uniqueness.
It may feature a 4x4-i drivetrain, fully independent suspension as well as electronic four-wheel-drive selection and lock mode, but the real appeal of the car is not in its off-road ability.
Large 18-inch wheels and high ride height contribute to the supreme refinement in terms of the vehicle’s ride. It is a very comfortable place to be. Traffic situations, the open road and even off the beaten path, it feels very soft and pliant.
The interior has received some major updates, with tangible quality levels that match the sort of price you will be paying for the car. The cabin features a Double Panel Moon-roof with retractable sun shades and leather seats have been redesigned to give a more upmarket feel to the vehicle.
A new, and perhaps the most important, feature in the interior is the touch-screen Nissan Premium Connect infotainment system which features a 40Gb hard drive, satnav system as well as a 9.3Gb hard drive music server. This, coupled with a high-quality 11-speaker Bose sound system that includes Bluetooth, USB, iPod and DVD functionality, means that the interior is a regular tech fest, festooned with buttons.
A familiar sight, the 3,5-litre V6 from the previous-generation 350Z sports car still does duty, albeit slightly detuned to produce 191kW of power and 336Nm of torque.
The engine sounds fantastic, but all that noise comes at a price. We couldn’t manage anything better than 14 litres/100km on a combined cycle, while the claim is at 10.9 litres/100km.
Performance-wise the Murano is no sports car, but Nissan still claim a 0-100km/h dash of 8.0 seconds. This is slightly ambitious when you consider the X-Tronic CVT gearbox and its apparent lack of athleticism. While it is one of the better CVT boxes around, it still doesn’t do the job as well as a traditional automatic will. In manual mode, it feels much improved but still not up to standard.
The Murano 3.5i V6 AT comes with a 5-year/90 000km service plan as well as a 3-year/100 000km warranty.