Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Nissan Murano - 2009
$26,330 for the S model $27,880 for the SL model $35,910 for the LE model The new Murano is not that much different from the old one, which was a phenomenal success for Nissan. As before, the Murano is based on the Altima platform, which itself was reworked just last year. There's still no third-row seat, which is fine, because the Murano is for people who really want a five-passenger luxury crossover - not a minivan substitute - but who don't want to spend Infiniti or Lexus money. With spiffy new options like heated, power-folding rear seats; a power liftgate; an extra-large glass moonroof; and a 9.3-gig music hard drive, it's not like Murano buyers will feel deprived. Unless, that is, they are hoping for a measure of sportiness - that's what the Infiniti FX and new EX35 are for. The Murano has decent body control, but it can feel a bit floaty. As for the light steering, the main message it communicates is that it would prefer you drive in a straight line. The brakes are strong, though, ride quality is fine, and the familiar VQ-series V-6 and Nissan's second-generation Xtronic continuously variable transmission ought to get Murano owners to the Nordstrom clearance sale in plenty of time. Yes, that slightly odd CVT thrum reverberates through the vehicle as you press the accelerator, but the power delivery is smooth, consistent, and very strong. Maybe too strong: we averaged only 19 mpg in mostly freeway driving in our all-wheel-drive test car.