When the first generation of the Nissan Murano was introduced it was a trend setter and it was certainly a bold design. No longer a trend setter but still fairly bold the 2015 Nissan Murano modernizes the exterior look again with a bold but handsome design.
My tester is an SL model, the middle of the line and perhaps the best selling version of the Murano. Powered by Nissan's much used and much loved 3.5L V6 engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT),the SL is all-wheel drive.
Nissan continues their trend of offering a ton of technology to lure buyers to their brand, the SL Murano comes standard with navigation, heated seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot detection with cross traffic alert, back-up camera with 360-degree surround view, a panoramic moonroof and push-button start with intelligent key.
All of this for just over $39,000 seems to be a relative bargain for this class of vehicle. I've already noticed some quality issues, how could I miss the passenger seat heater button which was either pushed in or never installed correctly.
Pricing: 2015 Nissan Murano SL
Base Price (SL): $39,398
Options: Cayenne Red ($135)
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $41,383
So it looks like the aforementioned seat heater button was installed correctly but someone was very angry one day and bashed it into the dash -- so I'll be a little nicer on the build quality aspect. The rest of the interior does seem well put together and the materials look and feel good all around. The centre console silver/grey plastic has a nice texture design to it that gives the Murano an upscale feel inside.
Cargo capacity, despite the moonroof and sloped rear roofline, is pretty impressive. The second row of seats fold completely flat as the bottoms push out slightly before the top of the seat flops down. This allowed me to easily drop in four 285/50/20 tires on wheels for my own vehicle to have new tires mounted.
The centre console storage is large and the cupholders are well placed, I do like the storage area for cellphones / MP3 players as it has a cover similar to those used on cupholders in other vehicles that opens and slides away, allowing you to hide your electronic devices from would-be thieves.
Rear leg room is also generous although headroom seems tight even for short little me. In the front, again leg room and comfort is fine, but the seat belt anchor point seems too low. I have it raised to the maximum and it is not comfortable on my shoulder, forcing me to raise the seat higher than I would like. Obviously different drivers will have different feelings about this, but it is something to consider. From the driver's seat the hood seems large, as it protrudes up, out and then down I find this makes parking the Murano a little difficult in tight situations -- of course if you back up or hit the camera button it certainly helps!
Visibility is good other than that front hood overhang and the large mirrors with blind spot detection make it easy to see beside and behind you.
Yes the Murano is still propelled by pretty much the same V6 that it has been propelled by for a long time now but it works. Coupled with the CVT the Murano is quiet and smooth on acceleration and unless you really put your foot in it the engine is barely noticeable.
Oddly, the company that tends to want to call their vehicles "sports cars" (like the Maxima for example) the Murano is far from sporty. The steering is so vague if it wasn't for the change in direction occurring I'd swear the steering wheel wasn't connected to anything on the other end.
The Murano also rolls like a sailboat on the ocean with any significant steering input, the ride is soft and mushy. The only saving grace here is that a lot of manufacturers are making crossovers "sporty" and rough riding and if you are looking for a mushy comfortable cruiser the Murano may be your answer.
I am impressed by the lack of road noise in the Murano and of course as mentioned the CVT keeps the engine noise to a minimum as it is able to keep the revs down to just over 1,500 rpm on the highway. I think the Murano would prove to be a great highway cruiser, and it seems to be returning decent fuel economy so far as well.
Funny how things work out sometimes. I would say that my overall rating for the Murano is quite low as I did not like the soft and floaty ride and very overboosted steering. But when I went through the rest of the car, the exterior looks great, the interior is well done as well and the performance of the drivetrain is excellent. The result is that I end up giving the Murano a four out of five.
Fuel economy was reasonable although most of my driving was highway, I averaged 9.9 L/100km for the week, don't forget this a sizeable all-wheel drive crossover so I think it faired well for the class of vehicle. Also to note was that the Murano was also sporting winter tires.
So despite my personal preference for a more sporty ride and less floaty suspension I think crossover shoppers might actually like the comfortable ride and effortless steering.