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2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD - What John Really Thinks

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By John Heilig
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 260 hp @ 6,000 rpm/240 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
WHEELBASE: 111.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 192.8 x 75.4 x 66.6 in.
TIRES: P235/55R20
CARGO: 31.1/65.0 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/26.5 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 19.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,891 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Dodge Durango, Lexus NX
STICKER: $44,165 (includes $900 delivery, $4,885 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Nissan Murano is, and always has been, a beautifully designed mid-size SUV with all the attributes you expect and want.

I must admit to being a sucker for the Nissan Murano, and have been for many years. I love the design of the exterior and shows that the Nissan design team has exceeded all expectations. I don’t think there is one straight line in the entire vehicle. For example, the designers have refined the boomerang-style headlamps and taillights, that were originally introduced on the 370Z. In the Murano, signature lights were added with LED daytime running lights. 

Inside, our tester had cream leather interior surfaces (called cashmere) with black on the top of the dash tom eliminate reflections. There are light wood accents on the console, dash, shifter and doors. My wife and I had discussions about the eyebrow over the in strident panel. I like it because it shields the instrument from glare. My wife learned to like it. A large panoramic sunroof brightens the interior even more. 

On long rides, the Murano is very comfortable. We had a multiple-hour trip (both ways) and we weren’t slightly tired at the end, thanks to Nissan’s NASA-inspired “Zero Gravity” seats. We had heated and cooled front seats that did their jobs both ways. Besides the front seats, the rear seats are also heated, and offer very good leg room. In addition, there is good sideways vision out the windows so you won’t feel claustrophobic. Headroom is good in the rear despite the sloping roof line. 

The 3.5-liter V6 offers good power at 260 horsepower. On the hilly portion of our trip we had no problems attaining the summits. However, constant use of cruise control was necessary on Interstates for economics. As with many vehicles, the wheel has multiple functions, from adjusting the audio to modifying the dash’s information panel to cruise control. I liked that the buttons are back-lighted at night so there’s no fumbling around.

Cargo capacity is very good for what is a mid-size SUV. We had luggage plus food stuffs for our entire clan on our major trip. Murano’s base cargo capacity is attained because there is no third row seating, so space is not wasted on what might have been useless seats. Had we chosen to power the second row seats, cargo capacity would have leaped from 31.1 cubic feet to 65.0 cubic feet. The cargo area has light tan carpeting, that can tend to get dirty easily. However, when you turn it over (easily) there is a rubber backing that repels any dirt from plants you may be carrying. Pets can ride there as well without danger of damage, although a large dog crate might be a squeeze with the sloping roof. 

We were entertained by a Bose audio system with all the major choices. In addition, the navigation system map is clear and helped us find difficult roads when we weren’t sure of the address of our destination, but knew vaguely how to get there. The nav system is easy to program, although sometimes the route chosen is not the ideal route. For example, my “test” destination is usually my daughter’s house, a mile and a half away. The Murano took us several blocks out of our way, although we still would have reached her house.  

All the Nissan vehicles we have driven of late have an Around Vision Monitor, which is essentially an overhead view of the vehicle with wide angle cameras in the front and rear and under the exterior side mirrors. The AVM turns on automatically when you shift into reverse, so that you have not only the regular rear view camera but an around view that shows other obstacles. The AVM can also be switched on at any time to aid in general parking, like avoiding low barriers in front and staying within the lines.

Murano is equipped with a suite of safety features, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking and Intelligent Cruise Control. Moving Object Detection helps the driver to detect moving objects, such as vehicles, shopping carts or other large objects around the vehicle using an on-screen notification and warning chime. 

Overall, I believe that the Nissan Murano is an outstanding package, if only from the style standpoint. Throw in vary good performance and handling, good economy and a ton of practicality and you have a winner. 

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

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