Nissan Murano Ti 2010 Review
For a company best known for its rugged Patrol, Nissan's "other" off-roaders have had a hard job stealing a second glance from buyers. Between them the Patrol and even mid-size X-Trail share the limelight, leaving the Dualis and Murano as second placegetters in the must-have stakes.
But since the new Murano arrived just over 15 months ago, there are more on the road as families discover its attributes. Like the Dualis, it is gaining momentum among buyers. More than 3500 have been sold since it went on sale and Nissan Australia expects a solid result this year given the car has just received some new features.
The ST gets keyless entry and start, which was previously only available on the Ti. It also adds Bluetooth phone controls with steering wheel mounted switches. Like similar systems locking or unlocking the car is simply a matter of touching the door handle, and to start or stop the engine, simply push the start/stop button on the dash.
The Ti now gets a large dual-panel electric sliding sunroof with a proper shade to block out harsh sunlight. The large, full-width front glass panel slides open or can be raise slightly to assist ventilation, while the rear panel is a fixed skylight, which allow plenty of light into the airy interior.
Gone are the days when Nissan's interiors looked a little down-market. The Ti has soft-touch quality plastics, sensibly placed switchgear, double stitched leather and alloy highlights that impart a luxury feel.
The standard kit on the Ti includes an 11-speaker Bose sound system, satellite navigation system, electric rear hatch and rear 60/40 split seatbacks that can be lowered electrically too.Other standard features include leather upholstery, an intuitive climate control system, six-spoke and 18-inch alloys. From the outside the new Murano appears to have a roof made mostly from darkened glass.
BODY AND MECHANICAL
Little else has changed for the Murano and the ‘sculpture in motion’ design still remains contemporary. Underneath the smooth sheetmetal is a powerful 191kW 3.5-litre V6 engine, which remains one of Nissan's best-ever engines from the VQ family.
In addition to the silky V6 the Murano gets Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission which is now quicker and more intuitive. The Ti throws in electric tailgate, high-end sound system, electric raise rear seats and a reversing camera with predictive path technology. Like the X-Trail, the Murano uses Nissan's AllMode all-wheel drive system.
A full suite of electronic safety systems, including electronic stability control and a rigid bodyshell earned the Murano a top safety pick award at launch from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.
We kept having to recheck the fuel consumption in our Murano. After a week dicing with peak hour traffic and a cross-country burst on the freeway in the Ti the reset trip computer refused to budge off 8.5 litres/100km, no matter how unkindly the car was driven.
For a big luxury off-roader, that's an impressive figure and says a lot about the combination of a CVT automatic and Nissan's superb V6 engine works. Even if the figure was a little optimistic - in our experience most trip computers are - the Murano stacks up as a reasonably economical family crossover wagon.
Nissan's official fuel economy reading is a combined highway and city figure of 10.9 litres/100km so a sub-10 is likely at constant highway speeds. When we last tested it the average was 11.9 litres/100km so maybe gentle driving is the key to a frugal fuel economy figure.
The V6 remains one of our favourite engines and is more than a match for the best Europeans. It's incredibly smooth and silent, yet when you call upon it to haul the car quickly, it responds easily and without drama.
The CVT behaves almost like a conventional automatic but as there are no normal gearchanges – it just keeps the car on the boil. Enthusiastic drivers also get a six-speed manual mode. This gearbox is also good for economy because it allows the V6 to loaf along at highway speeds at modest revs. Where the CVT is caught out sometimes is at the traffic lights. It can hesitate ever-so-briefly but is no worse than some modern dual-clutch transmissions.
For $57,890 the Ti presents a surprisingly good deal and is well equipped when lined up against its key rivals. Audi snobs will enjoy the high-end sound system. The rear parking camera is a useful addition but on an up-market model like the Ti front sensors should also be standard because it is hard to judge the protruding snout when parking.
Inside the Ti is spacious and suitably well equipped for the price. The twin glass roofs add to the cabin's airy feel, particularly with the light tan leather interior. Both front and rear occupants enjoy plenty of legroom and headroom but the tapered rear end and full-size spare compromises luggage space a bit. It's a trade-off we're happy with, particularly given that full-size spares are a rare commodity among off-roaders these days. A full-size spare has become a selling point in itself.
Some buyers might bypass the Murano because it only comes with five-seats, but Nissan has an answer to that with the new Dualis+2 seven-seater. However, its more direct competition like the seven-seater Mazda CX-9, Toyota Kluger and even the Ford Territory ace the Murano in the accommodation stakes. But the latest Ti adds some nice luxury touches to keep it in the game.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Class-leading V6 and CVT make it a standout but some families might balk at the lack of seven seats.
NISSAN MURANO Ti
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Power: 195kW at 6000 revs
Torque: 336Nm from 4400 revs
Transmission: CVT automatic
Body: Five-door wagon
Dimensions: Length 4835mm, Width 1885mm, Height 1730mm, Wheelbase 2825mm, tracks front/rear 1610mm/1610mm
Steering: Speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion power steering
Suspension: Independent front struts; multi-link rear
Fuel tank: 82 litres
Fuel type: Premium unleaded
Fuel consumption: 0.9l/100km combined
Spare: Full-size alloy
Brakes: Anti-skid all-round discs
Wheels: 18-inch alloys
Tyres: 235/65R R18
Safety: Dual front, side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-skid brakes, brake assist, seatbelt pretensioners, anti-theft alarm, active front headrests
CO2 emissions: 261g/km
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Rating: Four stars
Engine: 3.6-litre V6 petrol, 210kW/347Nm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Body: Five-door wagon
Thirst: 11 litres/100km 91 RON, 256g/km CO2
A better dual-purpose package and there's a turbodiesel option.
Land Rover Freelander 2
Rating: Three and a half stars
Engine: 3.2-litre six-cylinder petrol, 171kW/317Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Body: Five-door wagon
Thirst: 10.7 litres/100km, 255g/km CO2
Still the choice for off-road enthusiasts but doesn't have the looks.
Toyota Kluger - 2003-2007
Price new: $43,990 to $58,990
Engine: 3.3-litre V6; 172 kW/328 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, AWD
Economy: 12.3 L/100 km
Body: 5-door wagon
Variants: CV, CVX, Grande
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
The safe-but-boring bet in terms of dynamics, space and resale.
Range and Specs
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