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Thread: 2010 Nissan Murano

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    2010 Nissan Murano

    Being first doesn't necessarily mean you stay first.

    Lincoln learned this the hard way with its Navigator luxury SUV. For a few happy years, on the strength of Navigator sales, Lincoln actually outsold GM's Cadillac division. Until Cadillac took the concept, went another few steps with it - and ran way with the game via its flashier, even more over-the-top Escalade.

    Nissan faces a similar situation with its Murano sport-crossover wagon. Back in 2003, when the first one came out, it was a game-changer just like the Navigator was. Unusual in concept, daring in looks - and no one else really had anything similar.

    Now there are several new players on the field - including Mazda's very similar and very appealing CX-7, as well as the recently launched Ford Edge - not to mention established models such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.

    Does the new Murano have a case to make against these challengers?


    The Murano is a medium-sized sporty crossover wagon available with either FWD or AWD. Its chief distinctions are its powerful standard V-6 engine and also the fact that it's still a two row-only deal (more on this below).

    Prices begin at $27,650 for the standard S model with FWD and top out at $37,260 for a luxury-equipped LE with AWD.


    Nissan brought out an all-new Murano in mid-2009. The '10 model is the same basic beast, with a few trim/option and pricing changes.


    Thoroughly excellent standard 265 hp V-6 (basically a slightly smaller, less powerful version of the same engine used in the 370Z sports car) vs. weaker standard four-cylinder in competitors like the Mazda CX-7 and the Toyota RAV4. Much-improved CVT transmission. Pretty quick and not too bad on gas. Plenty of room for four adults instead of PR press kit BS about "room for 7" that assumes the nearly useless third row can actually be used for carrying adult humans (as in the case of Toyota's RAV4).


    Can get pricey if you start adding options (Nissan generally doesn't allow buyers to choose individual options; instead you typically have to buy an expensive package to get the one thing you really want). No manual transmission option at all. Costs about six grand more than Mazda's CX-7 ($21,550 to start) and three grand more than the slightly more powerful V-6 equipped Toyota RAV4 ($23,535 to start).


    The Murano's standard 3.5 liter V-6 is one of the strongest standard (or optional) engines in the segment. Its 265 hp easily overpowers the Mazda CX-7's standard 2.5 liter, 161 hp four-cylinder engine - and is still some 20 hp stronger than the CX-7's optional turbocharged 2.3 liter four (244 hp). It is also vastly stronger than the four-cylinder-only Honda CR-V (2.4 liters, 166 hp).

    One of the few that's stronger is the Toyota RAV4's 3.5 liter V-6, which is rated at 269 hp. (The Ford Edge also comes standard with a 265 hp 3.5 liter V-6.)

    Nissan pairs the Murano's 3.5 liter V-6 with an updated version of its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). No other transmission is available.

    The Murano comes in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive versions.

    Despite its big engine, gas mileage (18 city, 23 highway with FWD) is only a few MPGs less than the turbocharged, 244 hp CX-7 manages (18 city, 25 highway).

    0-60 (with FWD) takes about 7.4 seconds; AWD versions are a tenth or two slower. The V-6 RAV4 is quicker by about half a second - while the Ford Edge is slower by about the same amount.

    The standard Murano can pull a 3,500 lb. trailer - which beats the RAV4 V-6 (2,000 lbs.) as well as the standard CX-7 (1,500 lbs.) and turbo CX-7 (2,000 lbs.)

    Ford's Edge matches the Murano on towing with the same 3,500 lb. maximum rating.


    The Nissan 3.5 liter V-6 is one of those great engines that produces high torque at low RPMs for relaxed stop-and-go driving but also loves to be revved to high RPMs when traffic thins out and there's an opportunity to make fast tracks.

    Peak horsepower is achieved at 6,000 RPM and the V-6 feels like it's sorry Nissan won't let it rev past 7,000. The extra cylinders (compared to the CX-7) give it superior punch off the line without the sudden peakiness of the turbocharged four. It also feels much happier revving than the equally powerful but not as happy at high RPM Ford V-6.

    As an all-out "driver's car" the turbo CX-7 is more fun and the RAV4 V-6 is quicker in a straight line - but for most drivers, the Murano offers superior all-around drivability, with better straight-line acceleration than the Mazda and much more enthusiastic handling dynamics and road feel than either the powerful but bland Toyota RAV4 or the Ford Edge.

    It would have been fun if Nissan had decided to allow buyers the option of a six-speed manual transmission (which should have been easy to do since the Murano shares both its platform and its drivetrain with the Altima - which does offer a six-speed). But the market seems to want automatics by something like 10 to 1 and so the Murano's not offered with a manual.

    The standard CVT, though, is better than most conventional automatics in terms of responsiveness as well as fuel efficiency. CVTs are like manuals in that there is always a direct mechanical link between the engine and the transmission and the driven wheels - which pretty much eliminates the slippage and parasitic power losses that you get with a regular (hydraulically actuated) automatic transmission. The fuel economy benefit is why you're seeing more and more CVTs. But the first-generation CVTs were really noisy and in some cases seemed to be working the engine too hard, especially under full throttle (when the engine would rev to near redline and just stay there until you backed off the gas).

    The new Murano's CVT is heavily updated - and much improved. Under normal driving, it operates seamlessly. Like previous CVTs, there's no "shift shock" between gear changes (because CVTs have no gears - just a single, continuously variable forward speed). But the transmission is now as quiet as a regular automatic most of the time and even behaves like a regular automatic, too - just without any perceptible gear changes as the vehicle accelerates.

    Nissan says the new CVT is 30 percent faster reacting than the previous version - and my seat of the pants evaluation says this is no lie.

    Another big upgrade is the optional AWD system, which has been configured to anticipate loss of traction and adjust itself accordingly - rather than react to loss of traction after it has already occurred. This lets the driver push the limits of safe on-road handling performance farther than was comfortable in the original Murano. Unsprung mass has also been reduced by replacing some suspension components with high-strength, lightweight alloy pieces.


    Though it has been extensively revised, the new Murano still looks very much like the original until you notice the small detail changes such as the revised rear tail-lights, the changed front end and grille - and so on. Arguably, this is a boon to Murano owners both new and old because it maintains the continuity and keeps last year's model from looking "old" before its time. Lexus has done the same with models like the RX350 - and of course, Jaguars are known for their seemingly changeless "Jaguar-ness."

    The Murano is bigger than the CX-7 with significantly more front seat head and legroom (40.1 inches and 43.6 inches, respectively, vs. 39.7 and 41.7 inches for the Mazda). Second row head and legroom is about the same in both (with the Nissan having slightly more in both categories) but the seats where you'll be spending most of your time seems more spacious - because they are.

    This is achieved by not offering an available third row (which some competitors, such as the Toyota RAV4, do). To get that third row in there, the Toyota sacrifices three inches of front seat legroom (41.8 inches) which taller drivers will definitely notice.

    The truth of the matter is mid-sized wagons are just not big enough to offer realistic/comfortable seating for seven. The third row is typically hard to access and horribly uncomfortable for adults - or even teenagers. Meanwhile, leg and head room for the first two rows is cut down to make room for the next-to-useless third row.

    If you really need to carry seven (adult-sized) people, you should probably consider a larger (full-size) vehicle that doesn't compromise seating for everyone to make room for the third row.

    As far as total cargo capacity, the Murano edges out the Mazda by about six cubic feet, total (64 cubic feet vs. 59 for the CX-7). The RAV has more than both - 73 cubic feet, total.

    Available electronic equipment includes a 9.3 gigabyte hard-drive for MP3 file storage, rear seat DVD entertainment system, GPS with integrated back-up camera, two-piece sunroof, and 20-inch polished rims. The as-it-sits $27,650 S model comes very well-equipped with dual zone climate control, 18-inch rims and most power options (windows, locks, cruise control) - plus the big V-6 and the CVT transmission.


    Nissan has a generally very good reputation - especially for the durability of its 3.5 liter V-6, which is regarded as one of the best engines on the market. These engines are known for being 200,000 milers with decent care.

    All the major safety equipment - ABS, stability/traction control, side impact and curtain air bags - are included in the Murano's base price. The only "optional" safety equipment is the AWD system.


    The Murano is nicely positioned between competitors like the CX-7 (which costs less but which isn't as powerful) and the Toyota RAV-4 and Ford Edge (which offer comparable power but which aren't nearly as sporty looking or feeling).
    Last edited by Eric; 08-20-2009 at 07:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    Aug 2006

    Last edited by Mase; 08-18-2009 at 01:05 PM.

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    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mase View Post

    I think someone said 'Get Egli to design the grille' and they misheard and went to Ugly instead.

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