The crossover/SUV segment is a congested sector of the automotive market, with many makes and models to choose from. Nissan's Murano joined the fray in 2003. It delivered unique styling that awoke other manufacturers to the idea that such versatile vehicles could also evoke passion.
Completely redesigned for 2009
Although the new Murano continues to ride upon an Altima-based platform, pretty well all aspects of this vehicle have been modified and/or improved, the most obvious of which is styling. The 2009 Murano carries forth the basic shape of the previous generation while exhibiting lines that are more flowing and body panels more sculpted.
A heavily revised interior completes the Murano's restyling. Gone is last year's modular look instrument panel, replaced by a more integrated architecture that takes the cabin upscale in design and function. Aluminum accents add a touch of class to the nicely crafted surroundings.
New styling complemented with more horsepower and new CVT
Nissan's award-winning VQ-Series 3.5-litre DOHC V6 engine carries forth as the only Murano powerplant; in doing so, its output has been boosted to 265 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque @ 4,400 rpm.
That's sufficient oomph to light a decent fire in the Murano's belly. Adding fuel to the flame is Nissan's second-generation Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) featuring adaptive shift control. I wasn't an instant believer in CVTs but units such as Nissan's Xtronic are quickly reeling me.
The net result of the VQ/Xtronic pairing is a powertrain that is truly satisfying from a performance perspective. Acceleration off-the-line is remarkably brisk while passing power at any speed is impressive thanks to the CVTs ability to instantly place the engine in its sweet-spot, holding it there as the speedo rounds the clock.
Unfortunately, premium fuel is recommended however fuel consumption ratings of 11.8 and 8.7L/100km city and highway driving are admirable for this class of vehicle.
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