The all-new Nissan Murano for 2015 is the third generation of the standout crossover, with carlike styling, premium interior and advanced technology.
It restyled exterior expresses Nissan’s new direction for crossovers and SUVs, with the V-motion front end, LED boomerang lights in the rear, and unique “floating” roof.
The V-motion design is highlighted by a thick chrome bar dipping deeply into the bumper from above the headlights, with the front character lines flowing in the same direction, from the boomerang headlights down the side of the body to the taillights, emphasizing power and motion.
And the floating roof, an engineering achievement, appears to be pillar-less, and adds a sense of lightness and speed – a unique concept for an SUV. It sits above kicked-up D pillars that resemble a jet’s tail. Of course, the pillars are there and supply the necessary support for the roof – they simply disappear into the design.
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Inside, there are a refined instrument panel, low center console, zero-gravity front and outboard rear seats, and an airy atmosphere imparted by the large windows. An optional power panoramic moon roof gives the Murano a social-lounge feel.
Available technology includes NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, an eight-inch color display with multi-touch control (includes swipe, pinch, and zoom), Around View Monitor with moving-object detection, eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar and four-way power front seat, Sirius satellite radio and Travel Link, Nissan intelligent key with pushbutton ignition, iPod interface, 11-speaker Bose premium audio system and Bluetooth hands-free phone system.
Also available are the blind-spot warning, predictive forward collision warning, forward emergency braking, and new rear cross traffic alert, which uses radar to detect vehicles approaching from either side. Technology availability depends on the trim level chosen, with some features standard and others optional.
Eight trim levels are available, four with front-wheel drive and four with intuitive all-wheel drive, priced from $29,560-$40,600, with all-wheel drive adding $1,600 per model.
A 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is standard, along with an advanced Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission.
This generation Murano is approximately 145 pounds lighter, which, along with low-rolling-resistance tires, active grille shutter, underbody covers to enhance airflow, and improvements to the transmission, help to increase fuel economy by around 20 percent.
For this review, I drove an Arctic Blue Metallic SL model with front-wheel drive, Mocha leather interior trimmed with subtle chrome and trim accents in Brushed Silver and Jasper Pearlescent, riding on 18-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels.
Futuristic LED signature daytime running lights looped around the boomerang headlights and accented the V-motion front end. LED taillights and automatic on/off headlights are standard. Seven other exterior colors are available, including Gun Metallic, Java Metallic, and Pacific Sunset.
Fog lights, LED headlights, power liftgate, power panoramic moon roof, silver roof rails, and heated outside mirrors with standard LED turn signals are available on some models. My Murano had fog lights, power liftgate, silver roof rails, and heated mirrors. A panoramic moon roof was included in a Technology Package for $2,260, along with intelligent cruise control, predictive forward collision warning and forward emergency braking.
The power liftgate was especially useful during my week in the Murano, as I had lots of things to haul and an injured shoulder. We enjoyed the zero-gravity seats and the airy feeling of the moonroof on our extended road trip. Forward visibility was enhanced by the extended angle of the narrow A-pillars and the lower position of the instrument panel.
We also enjoyed the spacious cabin and the high-quality materials; the wide, flowing instrument panel; and especially the simplicity of operation with a 60 percent reduction in the number of navigation and audio switches.
Front passengers had 39.9 inches of headroom and 40.5 inches of legroom, while rear passengers had 39.8 inches/38.7 inches. The extra-wide front console increased the area between the front seatbacks, giving us more room to communicate front to back.
The next-generation zero-gravity seats promote a neutral posture and help reduce fatigue and discomfort, along with the heated seats, which help increase circulation. Quick Comfort seat heaters heat quickly on the knees and bottom, and then maintain heating on thighs and hips.
Standard technology included NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, satellite radio, HD radio, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA in-dash changer, eight-inch color multi-touch control display, voice recognition for navigation and audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio, hands-free text messaging assistant, and front and rear iPod connection ports.
An 11-speaker Bose Premium Audio System with dual subwoofers was standard and provided smooth, flawless sound.
My tester had an auto-dimming inside mirror with universal gate/garage door opener, adjustable ambient lighting, memory for the driver’s seat and outside mirrors, rear privacy glass, dual-zone automatic temperature control with front and rear vents, Nissan intelligent key, remote engine start with intelligent climate control, and three 12-volt DC power outlets.
With remote start and the intelligent climate control, you can start your car from up to 100 feet away and heat or cool it to a comfortable 72 degrees, provided the climate-control functions are set ahead of time.
The rear seatbacks folded 60/40 using a lever in the cargo area or a button on the front center stack. Behind the rear seat, cargo volume was 39.6 cubic feet. With the seats folded, the volume increased almost double to 69.9 cubic feet.
In addition to the now standard front, knee, side, and curtain air bags, ABS, vehicle security system, and child-seat anchoring equipment, my tester had hill start assist, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system with easy-fill tire alert to signal the driver when the proper pressure has be reached.
Base price of my SL front-drive tester was $36,950. Total delivered price was $40,095, including $885 freight and the Technology package.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.