Friday 21 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum Review

Test Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum Review

If you listen to the Car Pro Radio Show, you have never heard me speak a lot about the Nissan Murano.  Since it came out in 2003, I was just never a huge fan.  They re-did it in 2009, and it was better, but this is a tough and competitive segment, and there were always some SUVs I liked more.  As you will see below, I have become a huge fan.

Some automotive journalists refer to the 2015 Murano as being redesigned.  I say it has been reinvented.  The exterior styling of the Murano is radical, it’s in your face, it’s bold, and Nissan was not afraid to take risks with the new 2015.  The previous generation Murano sold very poorly in recent years, and Nissan could have just killed this SUV, like Toyota did with the Venza, but instead decided to make it edgy and grab people’s attention.  It worked…dealers are having a hard time keeping these in inventory.

Starting under the hood, there is only one engine and transmission combination, and it is a carryover duo from previous years, but that is fine because this 3.5-liter V6 has an excellent record of reliability.  It is putting out 260 horses.

Hooked to the engine is a continuously variable transmission, often referred to as the CVT.  Over the years, I’ve made it clear that I was not a big fan of the CVT, but I have to say this one doesn’t behave like a typical CVT.  It is smooth and responsive and is another key to great fuel economy for a pretty large SUV that weighs in at over 4000 pounds.

Murano comes in front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, which is what I am testing this week.  It is also interesting and unusual that the 2-wheel and all-wheel versions get the same miles per gallon.

Moving to the exterior, you cannot help but notice the sweeping lines on my Brilliant Silver Murano.  It has a bold, swooping front end with boomerang headlights that flow into the fenders.  The beltline takes a sharp turn upward just above the rear wheels, and those transition into large, rear boomerang-shaped taillights.  This is one of the most aerodynamic SUVs on the road, which contributes to much better fuel economy than previous years.

Then there is the roof.  At a glance, it appears the roof is floating above the Murano, due to the blacked out windows on the side-where the glass meets the rear window.  There is no doubt, even at a glance, that this is the new Murano.  From behind, dual chrome exhaust tips look great, and the 20” aluminum wheels are a nice touch to fill the large wheel wells.

2015 Murano comes in 4 trim levels.  The base model is the S and it starts at $29,500.  Then you go up to the SL, the SV, and finally to the one I am reviewing, the Platinum model.

Perhaps the best part of the new Murano is the interior. I think that even people who don’t like the space-age exterior, will love the interior.  On this model, you get plush leather seats that are among some of the most comfortable I have ever driven.  Nissan calls the seats zero gravity, and NASA-inspired. I just call them outstanding.  Faux wood flows across the dash and into a large area on the door panels, and it continues around the center console.  It is funky and unusual, but it works.

Above a large center console is an 8” color screen that houses the Nissan Connect system, which gives you your own hand-picked music and podcasts, SiriusXM Sports, movie listings, traffic updates and more, and it works very much like your smart phone, with just a push or a swipe of the screen.  It is one of the best systems in the industry.

You also get one of the best front and rearview cameras you can get, and the surround-view camera gives you an overhead view that is spectacular.  The navigation system is easy to use and quite intuitive, and I found their traffic updates to be spot-on.

Around the gauge cluster, you get a programmable, high-resolution, 7-inch color screen that puts info like turn-by-turn navigation, tire pressure readings, fuel stats, and safety system alerts.    

Options-wise, my tester has heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel with power adjustment, a full-length panoramic moon roof, intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning, and emergency braking.  Everything else comes standard on the Platinum including a terrific Bose stereo, remote start, and a power lift gate.  There are USB ports in the front, as well as for the rear passengers.

Murano has a very spacious back seat and a lot of headroom.  Cargo area is big at 40-cubic feet with the back seat up, and 70-cubic feet with the seat folded down, which folds very flat by the way.

In summary, this is an outstanding SUV. It is rated at 21-MPG in town, 28 on the highway, and I am actually topping 30-MPG at 65 miles per hour cruising on the highway.

A couple of things of note, I like the all-wheel system, but Murano is not for off-roading due to very low ground clearance, especially in front.  Also, there is not an option for a 3rd row seat, and don’t plan on towing much, it’s rated at 1500 pounds.

MSRP on this ultra-loaded, near-luxury SUV is $43,700 and that is in line with other similar-sized, loaded SUVs.

This is the first Murano assembled in the United States, and they did a great job.  Quality seems terrific even on this one, which is a pre-production model that will eventually be destroyed.

What I liked most:  The interior plushness and fuel economy.

What I would change:  Love the gas mileage, but a little short on power.

MSRP: Base price $40,500.  As equipped $43,745.

Fuel Economy: 21 City/28 highway/24 combined, doing better on highway.

Odometer reading when tested: 8347 miles.

Weight:  4017 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 192.4 long/75.4” wide/66.6” High.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gallons.

Towing Capacity: 1500 pounds

2015 Murano in a few words:  Standing ovation to Nissan designers!

Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance.

Car Pro Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Dealers:  We have good Nissan dealers in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Sacramento, and San Marcos, TX.

Manufacturer’s website:  Nissan