S All-wheel Drive
2005 Nissan Murano Reviews

2005 Murano New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Nissan Murano is an excellent choice for someone who wants the smooth ride and responsive handling of a car, the cargo space of a wagon, and the high driving position of an SUV. 

The Murano is a good example of a crossover vehicle: It's designed to haul cargo like a sport-utility, but ride and drive like a car. However, this crossover handles better than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, and it drives more like a sports sedan. 

Murano integrates aerodynamics and high fashion, with a sleek front end, smooth lines from front to back, and a greenhouse that slopes rearward, ending in a large but graceful C-pillar. Inside, Nissan resisted the temptation to cram in three rows of seats like the Highlander and Pilot do. Instead, like a car, the Murano has just two rows of seats, accommodating four (or at most five) passengers in comfort. It's not a substitute for a minivan, nor does it look like one. 

The futuristic look is backed by sporty performance. The Murano is powered by Nissan's beefy 3.5-liter V6, the same engine found in the 350Z sports car, putting out 245 horsepower. It comes with a continuously variable transmission, a high-tech automatic that's smooth and responsive while offering superior gas mileage within its class. Murano's road-tuned suspension offers smooth and sporty handling. The Murano shares much of its underpinnings with the Nissan Altima and Maxima sedans (but is not related to the Infiniti FX). 

All-wheel drive is available for better grip and stability in foul weather. A new entry-level Murano S lowers the base price. 

Lineup

The 2005 Nissan Murano is available in three models: S ($26,850), SL ($28,350) and SE ($29,300) models. All three are offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ($1,600). All models are powered by the 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that Nissan calls the Xtronic. 

All Murano models come with features above the class standard. Standard equipment on all three versions includes dual-zone automatic temperature control, a high-power AM/FM/CD audio system, power windows with auto up/down feature in front, keyless remote entry, reclining rear seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels. 

The Murano SE comes with a firmer sport-tuned suspension, a manual shift mode, styled alloy wheels and dark-silver lower bumpers. High-intensity xenon headlights, which have a manual leveling feature, are standard on the SE and optional on the SL. 

Safety features surpass the class standard. Among them: dual-stage frontal air bags with seat belt sensors, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-cabin curtain style head-protection airbags, and active front head restraints. Rollover sensors for the airbag system have been added for 2005. Murano comes standard with four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, Brake Assist and electronic brake-force distribution. Option safety equipment: Vehicle Dynamic Control, which helps the driver correct skids, a Traction Control System, and a tire-pressure monitoring, all part of the Dynamic Control Package ($750), which can only be added to models with the Premium package. 

Options come packaged in ascending groups. The S can be purchased with a Convenience package ($800) including a 10-way adjustable driver's seat (standard on the SL and SE models), roof rails, adjustable pedals, and a cargo cover and net. The SL and SE models can be further upgraded with a Premium package ($1,500), which adds a more powerful stereo with subwoofer and auto volume control to the contents of the Convenience package. The Sunroof package ($2,500) adds an electric sunroof to the Premium equipment. The SL and SE Leather package ($3,500) adds leather upholstery and a four-way adjustable front passenger seat. The Touring package ($4,300 on the SE, $4,550 on the SL) adds to the leather package heated front seats with memory, Intelligent Key, heated mirrors, pre-wiring for the Nissan Mobile Entertainment System, and on the SL dark silver lower bumpers. 

At the top of the options list is the Technology Package, which includes a DVD navigation system and rear view video monitor ($2,350). The rear-seat DVD entertainment package ($1,720) comes with a 6.4-inch drop-down screen, remote control and two wireless headsets. Satellite radio, Sirius or XM, is a dealer installed option ($400). A chrome wheel package is available for SL models ($1,200). 

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