By NITISH S. RELE – firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduced in 2003, the Nissan Murano has been totally redesigned inside out for this year. Available once again in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the slightly-bigger five-passenger midsize crossover sheds nearly 145 lbs. with fuel economy up by 20 percent.
However, the third-gen unibody ride retains the 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which is mated to a Continuous Variable Transmission. It develops 260 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 240 pound-feet of torque @ 4,400 rpm. Suspension continues to be handled competently by an independent strut with coil springs in front and a multilink rear. Leading the Murano safely to its destination is a razor-sharp power rack-and-pinion steering. The 12.6-in. front and 12.1-in. rear vented discs enable the SUV to remain stable under heavy brake tapping.
The even sleeker V-Motion front end shows off boomerang halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights with chrome-slathered grille, active grille shutter and body-colored bumper. The cabin is user-friendly and functional with plush zero-gravity seats and a 60/40-split rear bench seat that can be pulled down with the touch of a button. Head and leg room is ample for 6-ft. passengers. Aluminum sprinkles on dashboard and center console convey exquisite taste. The instrument panel is typical Nissan with electroluminescent analog gauges for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature readings. Well-placed storage cabbies are ample with a standard twin-bin center console, huge glove box, pockets for coins, maps, cell phones and other personal items. As is cargo space at a whopping 147.7 cubic feet.
Dual front and side airbags, driver knee airbag, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Electronic Stability Control, traction control, energy-absorbing steering column, front seat active-head restraints, front/rear crumple zones and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.
Available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trims, the Murano starts at $29,560 for the FWD and peaks at $40,600 for Platinum AWD. You can save on fuel in the 2015 edition as EPA estimates now are 21 city/28 highway beating the previous 18/23. With its commendable performance, plentiful cargo and passenger-hauling capabilities, the revamped but exceptionally useful Murano will be a tough competitor to beat (Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee, VW Touareg, take note).
Tires: P235/65R18 all season
Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
Length: 192.8 inches
Weight: 3,790 pounds
Fuel capacity: 19 gallons
Web site: www.nissanusa.com