May 18, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 10 June 2010 13:02
The Nissan Murano and its distant, upscale cousin, the Infiniti FX, were the ultimate in crossover motoring when they arrived in 2003. Smooth, refined and versatile, they were among the most eye-pleasing vehicles on the road.
We weren’t all that impressed with the first-generation Murano, whose performance and interior accommodations didn’t quite fulfill the promise of the car’s extraordinary good looks. After a hiatus for 2008 and a 2009 redesign, the Murano remains among the most attractive crossovers on the market thanks not only to its looks, but to its more refined personality and competitive price.
The modern idea of a crossover — going back as far as the 1930s, crossovers have encompassed business coupes, sedan-based panel trucks and pickup trucks based on midsize sedans — is to combine the capabilities of a truck with car-like handling, maneuverability and fuel economy. Today’s crossovers mainly thread the needle between sporty sedans and sport-utility vehicles. Nissan does it better than most.Our 2010 Murano SL was equipped with all-wheel drive, a continuously variable transmission and Nissan’s acclaimed 265-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The car seats five in comfort and has 31.6 cubic feet of luggage capacity with the back seat upright. Given the car’s high level of styling and standard equipment, the base price of $31,200 isn’t out of line. Options, including power liftgate, XM satellite radio, rear-view monitor, leather upholstery and heated front seats, brought the sticker price to $36,100. The base front-wheel-drive Murano S, with the same engine and transmission, starts at $28,340.
As a result of the redesign, the new Murano is quieter, handles more crisply and is much more nicely appointed than the original. The exterior lines have been revised, but the overall look survives. We felt much fresher after a long drive in the 2010 Murano than we did after a similar drive in the earlier model.
Most cars have a few annoying design quirks or functional idiosyncrasies; we came up empty with the Murano. Leg and head room, ergonomics and simplicity of controls all were more than acceptable. Nissan made good use of the 2008 model-year hiatus to make this a very easy car to live with.
Fuel economy ranges from 18 mpg in the city to 23 mpg on the highway. Nissan recommends premium gasoline.
The Murano received top marks in government side-crash tests, but just four out of five stars in frontal crashes and rollover resistance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the redesigned Murano a Top Safety Pick, naming it the safest of nine midsize four-door SUVs tested.
Nissan builds a wide range of crossovers and true SUVs, including the rugged Pathfinder and Xterra, the Frontier and Titan crew-cab pickup trucks, the Murano and the Rogue, a sort of mini-Murano introduced for 2008. The Murano stands out in this group for its unique combination of luxury, performance and versatility.
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 265 horsepower, 248 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: Continuously variable
Weight: 4,208 lb.
Suspension: Four-wheel independent, MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Ground clearance: 7.4 inches
Wheels: 18-inch by 7.5-inch alloy
Tires: P235/65R18 104T all-season tires
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 31.6 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 64 cu. ft.
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 21.7 gallons
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
Fuel type: Premium unleaded
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