Overall: The Murano appeals primarily to buyer’s hearts and not their heads; an all-new design that surfaced in late 2014 for the 2015 model year charts a uniquely similar course.
Drivetrain: A 3.5-litre V6 supplies the power, as it does for many other Nissan models; a continuously variable transmission is also a Nissan staple; all-wheel-drive is optional.
For the first really major overhaul since its 2003 introduction, left virtually nothing on the table from the Murano’s previous shape. The crisply creased sheetmetal that extends along the door panels is interrupted by a fin-like hitch that seemingly rises into the rear-most side glass. On the inside, lowering the instrument panel and enlarging the windshield enhances the forward view. Those aboard are also treated to accommodations that qualify as sumptuous, especially when the Murano is trimmed with leather seat coverings (climate-controlled in front) and the sweet sounds emanating from the optional 11-speaker Bose audio system wafting through the cabin. At the heart of the Murano is a 3.5-litre V6 that produces 260 horsepower. That output is modest in this age of advanced direct-injection and turbocharged engines found in competing brands, but it’s adequate in a wagon that weighs less than 1,820 kilograms. Power is delivered to the front and/or rear wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with built-in “steps” that sort of mimic an actual multi-gear automatic transmission. There are no steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, but the floor shifter can be used to manually control the faux ratios. Base S models come with climate and cruise control, six-speaker audio systems and assorted power accessories. Moving up the price pyramid adds fog lights, power telescopic steering wheel, leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, four-way power passenger seat and a split-folding 60/40 rear seat. Optional extras feature power liftgates, heated front seats and outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, 20-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard), premium 11-speaker sound systems, 18-centimetre information display/rear-view monitor and dual-panel moonroofs with second-row fixed skylights. Available, depending on trim level, is the latest set of “Safety Shield” technologies, including blind-spot and lane-departure warnings and “moving-object detection” that, using the various cameras hidden around the car’s body, highlights people, pets or objects moving while the driver is attempting to park.
Base Price (incl. destination): $31,700
Type: Four-door, five-passenger tall wagon
Base engine (hp): 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (260)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT)
l/100 kg (city/highway): 11.0/8.2
Weight (kg): 1,830
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