2015 Nissan Murano SV AWD Quick Take: Sometimes Two is Greater than Three
A lot of attention is paid to 3-row vehicles -- after all, those are often the ones that make the most sense for families or people who are enthusiastic carpoolers. But not all of us have lots of munchkins to drive around. In fact some of us enjoy the idea of driving a spacious, 2-row crossover SUV with unique good looks, a powerful engine and an attractive interior. And the all-new Nissan Murano fills the bill nicely.
I had the opportunity to enjoy a Murano SV while taking care of family errands back east. I needed something with a spacious cargo area and enough room to carry five people to dinner. The Murano was perfect. I saw a lot of friends and family and when they first saw the Murano, they all asked, "What is it?" And when anyone got in, everyone, to a person, said, "This is really nice!" When looking at it, you can tell it's still a Murano, but this reimagined version has more attitude and looks more futuristic. The styling might not be universally loved, but it absolutely stands out -- as much as the first Murano did when it went on sale in 2002.
Comfort and convenience
I drove a few hundred miles on everything from freeways to narrow 2-lane roads, and found the cloth seats to be very comfortable for the entire trip. The Murano uses Nissan's newest infotainment system, which was easy to pair a phone via Bluetooth and enter a destination into the navigation, both of which were extremely helpful in making my way from Boston's Logan Airport to a small town in Cape Cod. Through tunnels and highway intersections, construction areas and rush-hour traffic, the Murano made sure I stayed entertained and didn't get lost, and its large screen made it easy to occasionally glance at the map, yet not have to take my eyes off the road for very long. New England was stubbornly holding onto the last bits of winter weather -- despite a calendar that said it was spring. It was cold, windy, foggy and sometimes raining, yet the Murano's cabin stayed toasty and traction was never a problem.
When traffic cleared up, I had the chance to see how the Murano performed on the open road. Even though it's powered by the same 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, acceleration feels quicker. In addition, the CVT was excellent, providing "shifts" at the right times without any whine. The cabin stayed fairly quiet, making it very easy to chat at regular volume, and the suspension provided a pleasant mix of comfort and connection to the road surface.
After a couple of days, winter relented and Cape Cod was once again its sunny, cheerful self. Nice weather also meant everyone seemed to suddenly be on the road and at the same shopping centers I was, which was when the rearview camera proved welcome -- and necessary. (SL and higher trim levels benefit from Nissan's fantastic Around View Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard.)
With an as-tested price of just over $37,000, this Murano was nicely equipped but not over-the-top expensive. It is a stylish, luxurious alternative to 2-row SUVs like the Ford Edge, Subaru Outback, Jeep Grand Cherokee and even the Lexus NX. While it's comparably priced to those models, none of them make as bold a statement as the Murano.
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