Look at it -- just look at it.
If nothing else, the newly redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano is stunning to behold. My hat goes off to Nissan for the exterior look on this one. In the past, the Japanese manufacturer has been known to push the envelope a little too far in the design department (*cough*Cube/JUKE/Quest*cough*), but this time around the “radical” changes are just right.
Truthfully, I wasn’t sold on the design, inspired by the Resonance Concept, when I first saw the 2015 Murano in photos, then I got a first glimpse at the Montreal Auto Show in January, and instantly fell in love.
And when I finally pocketed the key fob and got behind the wheel, I was not at all disappointed.
Design aside, let’s talk about the drive for a moment and we can get back to the look afterwards (because, trust me, there’s more to say on that).
Beneath the V-motion-sculpted hood of the 2015 Nissan Murano, you’ll find the previous generation’s engine: a 3.5L V6 that produces 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a very well-sorted CVT (standard across the lineup), the Murano is a joy to drive.
Yes, the CVT is good
I think I’m finally warming up to the idea -- maybe. Either way, I liked the way the CVT behaved in the 2015 Nissan Murano. It wasn’t drone-y, it fake shifted, and it also behaved in a fairly sporty manner. In all, it didn’t feel like I was driving the CVTs of yore, and that’s brilliant.
While there was a sport shift option on the gear lever, I chose to let the CVT do what it wanted, and it went very well.
While it does give the illusion of “large” it’s light on its wheels when the throttle is prodded, and the steering is well connected to the wheels (despite sporting winter rubber). Body roll is kept to a minimum, and the suspension managed to eat up most of our roads horrendously uneven surfaces.
Back to that “large” comment for a moment: I only bring that up because it’s rare that I get into an SUV and actually feel like there’s a large nose/hood in front of me. I’ve experienced it in the Yukon, F-150, Sierra, Wrangler, and now the Murano. There’s just a sense of something large around you, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps instill a sense of security and well-weighted-ness on the road -- a sense of stability.
That stability also comes from Nissan’s Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system, which is standard on the Platinum version, and optional on all others save for the S model.
OK, now we can get back to the look for a bit because really that’s the crux of this automobile.
In the past, the Murano has been a bit … ungainly. It’s bulbous, exaggerated front end and almond-shaped rear did little in terms of curb appeal. And don’t even get me started on the CrossCabriolet version that emerged south of the boarder.
However, this time around, Nissan has taken the Murano to a level of sophisticated design I wasn’t sure the company had in them. From the “floating roof” to the trademark boomerang-shaped head- and taillights, the 2015 Murano is rather like a work of art. From any angle it’s interesting to behold.
My favourite view? Rear quarter panel, at a slight angle. Why? Not only do you get the full package of the newly redesigned backend with its fluid, sculpted lines, but you also get to take in the three-dimensional topographic taillight integration and blacked-out rear spoiler. In a word: stunning.
Step inside the 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum and the aesthetics continue to please. With an agreeable centre stack that’s easy to manipulate with clear HVAC controls and a quick-to-function and easy-to-get-used-to onboard entertainment system, my only two complaints are the location of the start/stop button (way down behind the shifter) and the steering wheel mounted buttons that are badly placed, especially when the driver is wearing gloves, that are often pushed/knocked unintentionally while turning the wheel.
The week prior to my time with the 2015 Nissan Murano, I’d been behind the wheel of a 2015 GMC Acadia. Equipped with the same engine and AWD, the only difference was in the transmission, and yet I managed to average nearly 5L/100km less in the Murano compared to the Acadia. That’s a big jump and nothing to sniff at. Also, I wasn’t trying to save fuel in the Murano as it was such a pleasure to drive.
And it’s not just the fuel economy that makes it efficient; the Murano is also practical in terms of interior space. The 1,121 litres of cargo space in the rear (with the back seats up) is a ginormous amount, and the load level is ideal, even for those who are vertically challenged (read: me).
Measuring up nicely
It seems the competition is forever getting fiercer in each segment, and the midsize SUV/CUV division is no different. With a brand new Ford Edge nipping at its heels, along with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the now long-in-the-tooth but still highly desirable and affordable Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the Murano has its work cut out for it. On looks alone, it takes the cake. However, the equally pleasing drive and interior comfort will surly elevate it to the top of the list, as well.