By KBB.com Editors
Making its return after a one-year hiatus, the 2009 Nissan Murano joins the crossover utility vehicle market with a new design, upgraded powertrain and technological options. Similar in size and standard equipment to the Mazda CX-7 and Ford Edge, the Murano has much to offer with its revised, more powerful engine and a lower price. It's virtually the same size as the last version and still lacks a third row, but the interior space and available leather seating make the Murano comfortable and give it a luxurious feeling.You'll Like This Car If... You May Not Like This Car If...
The 3.5-liter V6 has plenty of power, but the Murano still lacks the sporty feel that can be found in the turbocharged Mazda CX-7. Also, the CVT transmission lacks the manual-shift mode of the previous generation.What's New for 2009
The Murano sports a new exterior look, including new head and taillights and 18- or 20-inch wheels, along with a new LE trim level that replaces the SE. A revised 3.5-liter V6 engine puts out about 20 more horsepower and is connected to a new Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Interior changes include available power-return rear seatbacks, a cargo divider and a dual-panel moonroof.Driving It Driving Impressions
On the road, the 2009 Nissan Murano felt comfortable and lavish with its leather-clad seats, so much so that it was hard to remember that we were in a Nissan rather than an Infiniti. The torque of the V6 engine made driving uphill seem nearly effortless, and the CVT transmission kept it at the correct RPM for the incline. Using the iPod adapter, the interface was easy to use for scrolling through the menus and songs, but proved difficult when looking for specific artists that are alphabetically on the bottom of the list. For the rear-seat passengers the ride seemed less comfortable, as the bounciness of the suspension could be felt more. There is ample head and leg room, more so than in the Mazda CX-7, and the reclining rear seatbacks make for more comfortable seating positions.Favorite Features
Power Return Rear Seats
No need to wrestle with the rear seats in order to get them back into the upright position; the available power-return rear seatbacks go up with the push of a button.
Auxiliary input jacks are decent for listening to iPods, but the Nissan Murano also has an adapter that makes controlling your iPod through the factory radio easy, enabling you to keep your eyes on the road more when skipping between artists or songs.
New interior features on the 2009 Nissan Murano include a wide center console, new instrument panel design, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button ignition, available power-return rear seatbacks and fold-away cargo divider. Keen eyes will notice the new steering wheel design, traditional shifter pattern, the wood and aluminum accents, available leather-fitted dashboard and gathered-leather seats and door panels.Exterior
The 2009 Nissan Murano keeps the same body shape as the previous generation, but with the addition of some new styling cues. The new exterior features include wide projector headlights, horizontal LED taillights, a distinctive grille, revised front and rear fascias, larger fender openings to house the standard 18- or 20-inch wheels and dual chrome exhaust tips.
The 2009 Nissan Murano comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, Brake Assist, front and rear stabilizer bars, speed-sensitive power steering, push button ignition, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 18- or 20-inch wheels and an AM/FM six-disc sound system with six speakers and auxiliary input jack.
Some options to consider for the 2009 Nissan Murano are leather seats, a power liftgate, Bose audio system, a hard drive-based navigation system, dual-panel moonroof, power-return rear seatbacks, iPod adapter and a rear DVD system with a big nine-inch screen and wireless headphones.Under the Hood
Upgraded from the previous generation, the 3.5-liter V6 has about 20 more horsepower that was obtained through the use of Continuous Valve Timing Control and Nissan Variable Induction Control and, being connected to the new Xtronic CVT transmission, it provides power whenever it's needed and contributes to the Murano's impressive tow rating of 3,500 pounds.
265 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23
The 2009 Nissan Murano S has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price that's $1,500 less than the 2007 version on most trim levels. That puts the base-trim S at around $27,000, and $29,000 with all-wheel drive, while an LE will be around $37,000 and about $41,000 with all the options. Be sure to check out the Fair Purchase Price before heading to the dealership to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for the Murano. For the new-generation Murano, we expect to see residual values similar to those of the previous version, and better than those of the Mazda CX-7 and Ford Edge.