2003 Murano New Car Test Drive
The all-new 2003 Nissan Murano drives like a sport sedan, but carries cargo like a Honda Pilot. Murano is a crossover SUV, designed to carry people and cargo like a sport-utility vehicle, but drive and ride smoothly like a car. The Murano is different from most crossovers, however, in that it's more like a car, offering better handling and a more carlike ambiance than the Highlander or Pilot.
It also offers more comfort for four people. Where the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot fit three rows of seating, the Murano offers two rows. Unlike other SUVs, Murano is not a substitute for a minivan. It seats four or five people, not seven. Nor does it feature the boxy, minivan styling of most SUVs. Murano's wild body work promotes better aerodynamics and high fashion with its sleek front end and a roof that curves inward.
Murano's looks are backed by sporty performance. It's powered by Nissan's beefy 3.5-liter V6 mated to a responsive continuously variable transmission. Murano's sporty handling and grippy all-wheel-drive system put all that power to good use. It's built on Nissan's sporty Altima chassis. Unlike most SUVs, it doesn't lean in corners, dive under braking, or squat under acceleration. It drives more like a car than an SUV.
Nissan Murano comes in SL ($28,199) and SE ($28,999) models. SE comes with a firmer suspension and high-intensity discharge headlights, which have a manual leveling feature.
Each offers a choice of two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ($1600). All models are powered by Nissan's 245-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 mated to the Xtronic CVT.
Options include the SL Premium package ($1,499), which adds roof rails, adjustable pedals, a more powerful stereo with auto volume control, and cargo cover and net. The SE Popular package ($3,499) includes leather memory seats and a sunroof. Once you buy these options, you qualify to add stability control with a tire pressure monitor system ($749) and a navigation system ($1,999). A chrome wheel package is available for SL models ($1,199).