Nissan Murano — Fresh and appealing

By David Finkelstein

Nissan broke new styling ground with the introduction of the 2015 re-done midsize Murano crossover. If we turn back the clock with our thoughts focused towards the first generation Murano in 2003, it had a ground swelling impact  on the SUV/crossover market in general. It clearly offered a fresh design that combined a number of premium features but without consumers being shackled up against paying a luxury price point.

Murano quickly  gained traction with devoted and inspired car buyers everywhere. When it came time to  re-engineer this third generation of  Murano, Nissan had to meet some high demands in order to keep this vehicle fresh and appealing to motorists with various social lifestyles, values, wants and transportation needs. 

The result is that the 2015 version now has become highly sculptural as it tends to stand out in its crowded and highly competitive  cross shopped field. This includes the likes of the  Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and the Kia Sorento, for example.

One of the central themes of the new model's exterior design element was to offer a vehicle that was expressive, timeless, cutting edge and aerodynamic. It appears that all of these sculptured design goals were met, coupled with Murano having an emotional "head turning”  modern allure factor as well.

This expressive exterior design theme also carries forward to a refined interior. It all starts the very moment the very moment you steep into this two row crossover.  The feeling of openness and comfort are telegraphed throughout, with  the use of premium materials. 

This “social lounge" interior design creates an inviting and comfortable  atmosphere. As a matter of fact, Wards Auto World recently gave Murano an award for having one of the best interiors for 2015.

Additionally, the instrument panel height was lowered, making it easy to interrupt. It is however suggested to consider the optional 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch  controls. Furthermore, the  number of audio and navigation switches has been reduced from 25 to 10 for a more user-friendly experience.  It can't be overstated that simplicity is “best” when it comes to using many of the newer electronics in a moving vehicle. 

For a more pleasant drive, available audio systems include an advanced Bose design  with 11 speakers plus HD Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (subscription sold separately). They also  offer NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps for a more memorable drive.

Nissan's advanced Zero Gravity seats are standard for  front and rear outboard occupants.  Other interior features include standard Dual-Zone Automatic  Temperature Control and Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button  Ignition, along with available leather-appointed seating, heated  steering wheel, steering wheel position memory, driver's seat and  outside mirror memory, power folding rear seats and Remote Engine  Start with Intelligent Climate Control. And as expected, the available Power Panoramic Moonroof enhances the drive experience.

The rear cargo area will accommodate up to four large suitcases, while the rear seats fold flat  for greater cargo convenience. 

The 2015 Murano is available with  a standard 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine which is rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft  of torque. Also standard is an advanced Xtronic CVT designed automatic transmission. EPA numbers are 21 mpg city/28 highway.

The new Murano offers responsive handling and a comfortable ride  through the use of a 4-wheel independent suspension. Also standard are 4-wheel disc brakes  with Anti-lock Braking System and power-assisted rack-and-pinion  steering. Sporty 18-inch or 20-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy  wheels are also available.

Under the heading of safety, Murano incorporates up to four cameras (front, rear,  two side) and three radar sensors (one front, two side) to provide  input to a range of available technologies, including Blind Spot  Warning, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward  Emergency and Intelligent Cruise Control. Murano also includes  (as standard) their Advanced Air Bag System with dual  stage supplemental front air bags. Also included are front-seat mounted side-impact supplemental  air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags  with a rollover sensor and a driver supplemental knee air bag.

The US manufactured 2015 Nissan Murano is offered in four grade levels:  S, SV, SL and Platinum. Each is available in front-wheel drive or  all-wheel drive. At road test, the MSRP with some added options and AWD came out to be $43,745. That included destination charges of $855.