Nissan Murano 2011 Review
Stylish SUVs have a drinking problem and the Nissan Murano is no exception. The latest facelift has made it arguably the most attractive critter in the mid-sized class and the V6 engine packs the punch of a cage fighter. But you pay for the privilege at the pump. Still, the looks and performance make it more a high-riding car than a soft-roader and it needs to be considered in that light.
The base ST Murano rolls out of the factory with an impressive level of gear to justify its $47,990 price. Powered and heated front seats, xenon headlights, dual-zone airconditioning, leather upholstery, a reversing camera and a Bose CD player are all appreciated creature comforts. The price puts it on the shopping list against Jeep's impressive new Grand Cherokee at $45,000 and the Toyota Kluger at $44,500.
The direct-injection alloy V6 hauls the 1.8-tonne Murano with the same ease an unladen Sherpa goes at a g oat track. We're talking 191kW and 336Nm which translates into a 0-100km/h time of eight seconds flat. The downside to that level of excitement is an official fuel figure o 10.9 litres/100km - and 95 RON is the recommended fuel. The all-wheel drive system is front-biased but feeds power to the rear wheels as required and there's also a 4WD lock function for the 1 per cent of owners who will take this refined soft-roader off-road. Braked towing capacity is rated at 1500kg.
SUVs don't get any classier than this. The design is inspired - it looks far more compact than a 4.8-metre bus yet the angles don't compromise interior space. There's plenty of space for front and rear-seat passengers and it's quality room - the leather seats are sumptuous and make this a genuine long-range tourer. The cargo area is big enough to stow a family's luggage, or load up for a weekend getaway and the rear seats fold 60/40 for bigger loads.
The Murano feels solid from the moment you open a door - or close the tailgate. Front, side and full-length curtain airbags are backed up with ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and all seatbelts are the preferred three-point variety. It hasn't been crash-tested yet but should be a five-star car.
This is one of the few continuously variable transmissions that I won't drone on about. Whether that's because of the high level of NVH suppression or whether it just makes sense with the V6 I don't know or care. What I do care about is how responsive the car is off the line or under mid-range acceleration and I can't complain. The steering is another matter. The Murano goes where it's pointed but doesn't give you much feedback on how that's happening. Not unusual for this class, but given the rest of the package is so car-like, it is an obvious fault. Handling is better than most SUVs unless you really charge into a corner and the ride is as comfortable as you can hope for at this price point.
Buy one if you want a high-rider that shouldn't see too much off-road action - and can afford the fuel bills. The ground clearance is better than anything this side of the Jeep but it still won't ease the pain if tree branches scratch your Murano off the beaten track. All it needs is a decent turbodiesel option, like the ones in the more rural focused Pathfinder and Patrol.
NISSAN MURANO ST
Resale: 65 per cent
Service intervals: 10,000km/six months
Safety equipment: Six airbags, ABS with EBD and BA
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 petrol, 191kW/336Nm
Body: Five-door wagon
Dimensions: 4835mm (L), 1835mm (W), 1700mm (H)
Wheelbase: 2825mm, 1610mm/1610mm tracks front/rear
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic
Thirst: 10.9 litres/100km 95 RON, 259g/km CO2.
Range and Specs
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