Dubbed by Nissan a “social lounge,” the 2015 Nissan Murano is designed to transport two sophisticated couples – and sometimes a friend – in style and comfort. In addition, the Murano offers laudable all-around handling, top fuel economy and a string of cool features.
You'll Like The 2015 Nissan Murano If...
If you consider yourself a fashionista – or if you can at least spell it –you are a candidate for the Nissan Murano. It could well be the most distinctive crossover SUV in the land.
You May Not Like The 2015 Nissan Murano If...
If you are a member of a family with multiple children, you might find other crossover SUVs, including the well-regarded Nissan Pathfinder, better suited to your all-around needs.
The 3rd-generation Murano is all-new for the 2015 model year, including its dramatically styled exterior and a thoughtfully executed interior. The 3.5-liter V6 engine is carried over but substantially revamped.
The new Murano’s interior is the soul of the vehicle, beginning with comfortable (dare I say lavish?) seating in the form of Nissan’s “zero gravity” seats in all four outboard seating positions. This demonstrates quite clearly that the Murano SUV is designed to transport two adult couples, and that notion is reinforced by the addition of a rear USB port that enables the rear-seat passengers to hook up a portable music device. Natural light comes courtesy of the massive available panoramic roof, which is larger than the 2-panel roof in the previous-edition Murano. The emphasis on providing the right accommodations for two couples extends to the rear cargo area that offers an enormous 39.6-cubic-foot area with the second row of seats in place (room for four golf bags, for instance) and nearly 70 cubic feet with the rear seatback folded down.
The exterior of the Murano screams, “Look at me,” and the design is filled with showy aspects like the “floating” roof, “boomerang” headlights and taillights, and body sides so heavily curved that they presented challenges in the creation of the stamping tools that make them. With a coefficient of drag of 0.31, the 2015 Murano was also sculpted with an eye on fuel economy, and the lower grille shutter, front and rear spoilers, rear tire deflectors, rear suspension fairings, and even what Nissan describes as an “optimized” fuel tank design, all found their way into the production vehicle to help the SUV establish an impressive fuel economy number.
The more we drove the new Murano the more we liked it, so the “social lounge” positioning by Nissan might actually do the SUV a disservice. As a daily commuter, it was topnotch – comfortable, nimble in traffic, equipped with an easy-to-use infotainment/navigation system, and a breeze to park. The key sign that an interior is designed properly is that it never annoys you, and that is what we discovered in the Murano. The 3.5-liter V6 engine offers 260 horsepower, and it is accompanied by the Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission with new “D-Step Logic” that gives you the impression that it is changing gears. Philosophically, some of us have difficulty understanding the desire to take power delivery that should be smooth and seamless and artificially create gear-change-like pauses, but in the 2015 Murano it feels perfectly natural and tames the weirdness that plagues some CVTs. Cornering is drama-free with reasonably high limits. The steering is fairly quick and precise, and the braking is conventionally good.
As the most highly styled of the midsize crossover SUVs, the new Murano is in many ways a less expensive alternative to luxury crossovers like the wildly popular Lexus RX and the Cadillac SRX. Its most logical competitor is the Ford Edge, which takes its styling in a completely different direction. At the writing, it is too soon to determine a Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price for the 2015 Nissan Murano, but we expect its pricing to be in line with that of the Edge and with other midsize SUVs in general. We also project a higher-than-average resale value for the Murano over time versus its domestic and Korean nameplate competitors.
Standard interior niceties include dual-zone automatic temperature control, the cushy zero-gravity seats and Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition. Nissan’s Advanced Drive-Assist Display, which incorporates a 7-inch high-resolution color readout, is also on the standards list. On the safety front, the new Murano is particularly well-equipped with an advanced airbag system that features dual-stage supplemental front airbags with seatbelt sensors and an occupant-classification sensor, front-seat mounted side-impact supplemental airbags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental airbags with a rollover sensor, and a driver supplemental knee airbag.
While the base Murano S version is well-equipped, we expect most buyers of the Murano to climb the trim-level food chain because of the desirability of the additional features. Next up from the S is the Murano SV with navigation delivered on an 8-inch color monitor with multi-touch control, power-adjusted front passenger seats, remote engine start, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights and roof rails. Moving to the SL nets you leather seats, Bose audio with 11 speakers including two subwoofers, Blind Spot Warning, and the terrific Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, among other goodies. The zooty Platinum edition has all the available electronic equipment we’ve spoken of plus 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a power-folding second row. Each trim level is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
CONTROLS & INSTRUMENTATION
In an era when vehicle displays and controls deliver more confusion than contentment, the new Murano SUV’s 7-inch customizable display flanked by massive, round tachometer and speedometer readouts and the available 8-inch multi-touch control display is a welcome departure.
PARKING WITHOUT PEER
With four onboard cameras, three radar systems and a computerized brain, the available Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection combined with Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Cross Traffic Alert creates a parking system in which the driver is the weakest link.
Under the Hood
The only engine is the familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine that offers 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. It has received a re-tuning for the new model, and even more changes were made to the Xtronic continuously variable transmission that now has new “D-Step Logic.” A happy result of aerodynamics, weight reduction and drivetrain tweaking is 20-percent-better fuel economy than in the previous Murano at 21 city/28 highway/24 combined for both front-drive and all-wheel-drive SUV models.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (FWD), 21/28 mpg (AWD)
The 2015 Nissan Murano is not so much an SUV as it is a rolling “social lounge,” designed to tote two empty-nester couples in style and comfort. As such, the new Murano continues in the tradition of the 1st-generation Murano, the vehicle that brought urban style to what were then referred to as “sport-utilities.” Available in both front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations, the dramatically shaped and luxuriously appointed 3rd-gen Murano has been completely redesigned for the 2015 model year with an eye on stealing the thunder of luxury crossover SUVs like the Lexus RX and BMW X5, while being priced like a Ford Edge. Our more “mature” (read “older”) testers found the Murano a vehicle they enjoyed driving day-in and day-out.