The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2015 Nissan Murano Review By Steve Purdy

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Nissan Murano

...I think you will be impressed.

By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

Nissan’s Murano was one of the first mid-size crossover vehicles in the market in the early 2000s along with the Lexus RX300. The Lexus was much more pricey, of course, and the Murano more innovative and striking in its style and design. That distinction waned as Murano became more mainstream and interiors became rather quirky and cheap looking - that is until this brand new version.

The new-for-2015 Murano now makes the boldest design statement of the genre and takes a leadership position in a variety of categories, including quality and design of the interior.

Just about every manufacturer has a line of crossovers now and competition is stiff. Two-and three-row versions in every size imaginable grace dealership lots - and they are all very good. Some, though, are better than others and there is more differentiation than we may think.

The new Murano was a surprise to me when it appeared in my driveway. The bold color – they call it “Pacific Sunset” – is exactly the color of a shinny new penny if you added a bit of metallic. Big, 20-inch sexy alloy wheels and bulging wheel arches compliment swoopy shapes with crisp, distinctive, curved character lines. A ‘floating’ roofline is accomplished with black trim separating the body from the top. Very attractive, I contend. The grille takes Nissan design language to the next level with a bold, angled ‘U’ shape surrounded by black accents. Cheek vents and a chin spoiler, also in black, are accented in lots of chrome and LED lights add a stylish element. Lots of other chrome accents surround the car without looking garish.

The Murano’s interior sports high-quality materials and a classy new design, so much better than the car it replaced. Comfortable “Zero Gravity” seats, front and rear, are covered in very nice leather, at least in our “Platinum” test car. Controls, gauges and driver interfaces are both functional and attractive – again, much better than the outgoing car. Interior volume and cargo capacity have increased slightly and the feeling of roominess is improved as well. Rear seatbacks fold nearly flat easily 60/40 with a pull of a strap. Returning them to the upright position takes a bit of effort.

Generous cargo capacity will satisfy most with nearly 40 cubic-feet behind the second seat and nearly 70 square-feet with seatbacks folded.

Under the hood we find Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6, in this iteration making 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet or torque. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) is vastly improved with shift points programmed to make it feel like a conventional transmission with specific gear ratios. Edmunds clocked the Murano at a very good 0-to-60 time of 7.5 seconds. The EPA estimates it’s good for 21 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 24 mpg combined. We averaged 25 for our week of mixed driving. I have no doubt that we could make that highway figure on a road trip.

Driving dynamics are very good. Nissan, as you probably know, pioneered the use of CVTs in mainstream cars and they’re still innovating with this one. We no longer experience the wheeziness under most driving conditions although under hard acceleration we still get a bit of that. Mostly it just feels strong and conventional.

Handling is good, though we’d not call it sporty. Suspension is a good balance of firmness and comfort. This would be a very good vehicle for four travelers to make a good road trip.

Murano pricing begins at just under $30,000 with the basic S model. Our top-of-the-line AWD Platinum version lists at just over $40,000 – a bargain compared to many comparable crossovers in the premium or near-premium category, but somewhere in the middle of the rest. The level of standard content is impressive at both levels. Many of the features listed in earlier paragraphs come with the Platinum trim level, like 20-inch wheels, LED lighting, panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and crash mitigation.

One of my favorite features is the 360-degree camera system that incorporates an ultra-wide angle lens at each corner of the car the images from which are interpreted onto your screen when backing up. It looks like the image is coming from a drone 20 feet above the car with excellent resolution.

Compare the Murano to Ford’s Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus RX350 (much pricier), and many other two-row crossovers.

I think you’ll be impressed.

ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

The Most In-Depth Nissan Vehicle Shopper's Research - Anywhere!