2009 Nissan Murano S AWDPosted on February 13th, 2009
Five-passenger crossover vehicle with all-weather capability
By Nina Russin
The first generation Murano, launched in 1993, appealed to drivers who needed the versatility of a sport-utility vehicle, but didn’t want to leave
the ride and handling of a passenger sedan behind. The new Murano takes the original crossover formula and improves on it with a more refined power train and a first-class interior.
The Murano shares chassis components with Nissan’s popular Altima sport sedan: a fully-independent suspension and speed-sensitive steering provide similar ride and handling characteristics. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine and continuously variable transmission give the car plenty of low-end torque, for good acceleration in the critical twenty-to-fifty mile-per-hour range.
Four-wheel disc brakes with standard antilock braking help the driver to maintain directional control on a variety of road surfaces. Available all-wheel drive automatically sends engine power to the wheels with the best traction, for enhanced handling on wet or snow-covered roads.
The Murano’s styling always conjures up thoughts of a sedan on steroids, thanks to its large wheels and coupe-like profile. The test car features standard eighteen-inch wheels. Customers who want a sportier look can upgrade to twenty-inch rims. Dual exhaust pipes peek out under the rear bumper, giving the back end an all-business look. Up front, the Murano maintains its aggressively styled grille, framed by horizontal halogen headlamps.
But it’s the cars interior that really sets it apart from the competition. With the exception of a rather funky keyless ignition device, the Murano’s simple but ergonomic design makes it an ideal vehicle for active lifestyles.
Manually adjustable seats with cloth trim on the test car are on the firm side, with separate lower lumbar styling. Large overhead reading lamps give both rows of passengers the ability to look through maps or magazines in low light conditions.
A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel helps smaller drivers maintain a clear forward view and a safe distance from the front airbag. Audio and dual climate controls on the center stack are easy to reach from both front seating positions.
The Murano’s glove box is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen: large enough to hold a purse or a small pack. The center console includes a large bin for compact discs, with a twelve-volt powerpoint and a small top shelf for portable electronic devices.
The fuel filler cap release, a device often hidden under the dashboard or on the door, is located to the left of the steering wheel, where it’s easy to reach. Ditto for the vehicle stability off switch.
A standard AM/FM six-CD audio system is MP3 compatible. A large information screen at the top of the center stack displays music selections.
All four doors have map pockets but not bottle holders. Two large cupholders in the center console are large enough for water bottles.
Lack of a floor tunnel makes it possible for three passengers to sit in the second row, although the center console impinges on the middle passenger’s legroom. A bin in the back of the center console gives people in back a place to stash drinks or electronic devices.
Second-row seats are split 60/40: a strap on the seat cushion folds the seats flat without removing the headrests. The Murano easily meets our bicycle friendly standards with the second-row seats folded flat.
Despite its high profile, the back of the car has a low liftover height, making it easier to load items into the cargo bay. Levers to both sides of the liftgate collapse the second-row seats flat from the back. An optional tonneau cover is removable for larger cargo items. An underfloor cargo area with dividers is handy for stashing valuables away from prying eyes.
A convenience package on the test car adds roof rails, the tonneau cover, smoked rear glass and a car alarm.
A big car that handles like a small one
One of the nicest things about driving the Murano is that it feels a lot smaller than it actually is. Although it’s no hot rod, the engine has plenty of power for accelerating into high-speed traffic, or making the occasional emergency maneuver at speed. Variable effort power steering provides plenty of assist at low speeds for maneuvering into parking spots, without being sloppy in stop-and-go traffic. The Murano has a good on-center feel on the highway.
The suspension is compliant enough for the daily commute and the potholes that go with it. Front and rear anti-roll bars keep the chassis flat in the corners. Visibility is pretty good to the sides and rear, despite the Murano’s rather thick rear pillar. A standard rear wiper keeps the back glass clean in rain and snow. Rain-sensing wipers on the upscale grades make it easier to keep the front glass clean in mist and light rain.
Brakes are firm and linear without being grabby.
I mentioned the keyless ignition up front: it’s a design that makes no sense to me. To start the car, the driver inserts a pod into a slot near the steering wheel, and then presses a start button. It seems unnecessarily complicated: no improvement over a conventional ignition key in the steering column.
All models come with standard front and side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, antilock brakes, vehicle stability and traction control.
Base price on the test car is $27,930, not including a $745 destination charge. The all-new Murano is on display at Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Likes: An affordable crossover vehicle with available all-wheel drive that easily meets our bicycle-friendly standards. The attractive ergonomic interior includes most of the features active types need without a lot of nonsense to get in the way.
Dislikes: Keyless ignition is difficult to use.
Model: Murano S AWD
Base price: $27,930
As tested: $29,225
Horsepower: 265 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 248 ft.-lbs. @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 18/23 mpg city/highway
2 responses to “2009 Nissan Murano S AWD”
the good thing about the Nissan Murano is that it looks very sexy and tough~-,
the nissan murano is a bang for the buck car, i own one and i would have to say that this is a great car ;`-
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