I cannot believe that I didn’t get a ticket. When I stepped on the gas, the Murano accelerated very, very well. It was so smooth at speeds that I just had no idea that I was doing 80 mph most of the time. The 265 HP, 3.5 liter DOHC V6 engine, with Intelligent Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) does NOT disappoint. It should appeal to both the soccer moms and those wanting a more sporty car, all while getting pretty reasonable gas mileage (appealing to those of us who are loathe to spend so much to fill our tanks). As fast and unsteady as I drove the Murano (I was constantly having to S L O W down), I still average 22.1 mpg.
The Murano has enough horsepower to keep you interested, while getting decent enough mileage that you don’t feel bad about driving it. It’s a good balance of thrifty and sporty, in a really attractive package.
The Murano drove like a car. A sporty car, at that. Crisp acceleration. Going from 65 to almost 0 in an emergency stop was even good (really good, thankfully!). It was very maneuverable, handled freeway on and off-ramps with aplomb, and never felt shaky, or top-heavy in the least bit. It never FELT like an SUV, until it came time to load it to the gills with stuff. While it certainly doesn’t look small, it handles very precisely, like a much smaller vehicle.
The Murano is stylish and sexy. The new updates to the Murano’s lines are genius and far surpass the styling of the first generation Muranos. The privacy glass is dark enough without being obnoxious. The interior is stylish and everything just blends together nicely. The entire car and windows curve around and the lights, doors, bumpers and metal of the car blend together seamlessly.
The Murano SL is priced in the upper $20′s (starting at $27k), and I believe it’s on par with other vehicles priced at and above (and I’m saying this after road testing an SUV that is greater than double the price of the Murano). The Murano has generous horsepower, really decent mileage, comfortable seats, plenty of cargo space, push-button ignition, speed-sensing door locks, sun visors with extensions (really nice), AM/FM/6CD in-dash changer with 6 speakers and an auxiliary audio jack in the back of the center console. Additionally, the model I drove had the dual-panel moonroof, Bose Audio system with 9 speakers and Dual-Speaker subwoofer (mounted in the spare tire under the panel in the rear of the vehicle), XM Satellite radio, auto-dimming rear-view mirror w/compass and Homelink system (always easy to program), the foldable cargo organizer (for groceries), roof racks, retractable cargo cover, and leather interior. All of those add about $3k to the base price, but they are really NICE features.
As for safety, the Murano is the first 2009 mid-sized SUV to receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick (best overall performer in front, side and rear tests). It also receives a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for side-impact crash safety. The Murano has front and side impact airbags for both driver and passenger, side-impact air curtains for both front and back seat passengers, front and rear seat outboard occupant head protection with rollover sensor, active head restraints, 3-point seatbelts for all 5 passengers, lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH), child safety rear door locks, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer and Traction Control System.
If you package all of this together for just under $30k and come away with a car you like… it seems like an excellent value proposition.