With a plethora of choices for the ever picky Canadian consumer, laying claim to “The Fastest Growing Automotive Brand in Canada” are some serious fighting words put forth by Nissan. The third generation Murano successfully launched for the 2015 model year and with the 2016 model consisting of the same ingredients, this five-seater midsize-SUV combines beautiful looks, smart technology and when dressed up, flirts with those in the luxury market. My neighbours picked one up recently (and absolutely love it!) and Shaun Kazemi from Woodchester Nissan says customers are drawn to its “sleek body shape, ample power and comfortable interior.”
From a distance, the Murano has beautiful design lines that are sleek and graceful. You’ll have to wear a monocle to find a 90 degree angle in the new design but there are a few of them. The “floating roofline” presents a sleek design that separates it from much of its boxier competition, and it’s bookended by Nissan’s “boomerang” inspired lights which give it an athletic and attractive look. It’s surprisingly easy to climb in and out of and I find it to be one of the best looking SUVs on the market.
From the beautiful eight-inch infotainment screen as the jewel of the centre console, the theme of fluid lines continues throughout the interior. If you’re piloting the new Murano, you’ll notice that everything is laid out easily within reach. After less than an hour behind the wheel, I knew exactly where everything was and how to appreciatively interact with the vehicle safely and smartly. The cabin boasts a clean and modern design, is well laid out and full of creature comforts for the driver.
There’s a wealth of available safety features including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, the popular Blind Spot Warning (although I still think that your eyes and sense of awareness are the best safety feature but still, this is a great augmentation), Intelligent Cruise Control, and the “10 out of 10 on the cool factor” 360 degree Around View Monitor. I’m happy to say that the Murano received a “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating from the good folks at the IIHS. Good looking and chock full of safety. Well done! J.D. Power ranked it as “Most Dependable Midsize SUV in the U.S.” for the second year in a row.
The seven-inch color monitor on the dashboard is bookended by two large gauges and offers the driver plenty of info to keep the Murano rolling safely and full of information. Nissan’s NASA inspired and available heated and cooled front “zero gravity” seats are incredibly comfortable and rival those of the luxury market.
Running off up to 72L of regular gas, cargo space with the rear seats up comes in at 880L and 1,840L with the rear seats folded, which is plenty of space for a camping excursion, road trip or whatever goodies urban life throws at you. Yes, even Ikea trips are favourable in the Murano.
Motion wise, all Muranos get their gusto courtesy of the wildly popular 3.5-litre V6 motor giving you 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft. of torque beneath your right foot. Even with the ‘love it or hate it” CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), the “get up and go” factor is responsive for a vehicle of this size. The steering, handling and overall ride quality feels comfortable, even though it has a higher center of gravity. It’s not quite as sporty as the Maxima - there’s no reason to take the Murano to the track and throttle it beyond belief - but in city and rural environments, the Murano performs exceptionally well. Oh, and the standard 18” wheels don’t hurt the cause either and on the top-tier Platinum trim, you get massive 20-inch wheels.
Fuel ratings for the All Wheel Drive models come in at 8.3 highway and 11.2 city for L/100 km.
My Platinum All Wheel Drive tester came with a dual panel moonroof (only the front half tilts and retracts) and it’s a great way to let tons of natural light engulf the beautiful cabin.
Feel like channelling your inner steering wheel drummer? The available 11-speaker Bose audio system with dual subwoofers will make give you the “I’m a rock star” feeling immediately. May as well start creating a new playlist on your favourite mp3 player for any time you spend driving the Murano. Even passengers can be “glove box drummers!”
Starting at close to $30,000 for the base “S” trim and climbing into the mid-$40K range via the Platinum trim and the option sheet full of check marks, Nissan’s mid-sized SUV has the beauty, brains and brawn to be a highly competitive player in this market. Whether you’re hauling 60 boxes of magazines, heading out for a road trip with friends, or taking the family out for an adventure, the Murano has all of your bases covered.