2007 Murano New Car Test Drive
Nissan hit a home run when it launched the Murano. The Nissan Murano integrates function and high fashion. It combines sport-utility cargo capacity sporty driving dynamics. It is the quintessential crossover vehicle, an SUV based on a car.
The Murano shares aspects of SUVs and cars. It accelerates like a sports sedan and handles much better than your average midsize SUV. Named after a region of Italy known for its famous glassware, Murano emphasizes refinement and on-road confidence. Getting in and out is easy and the back seats are roomy enough for a couple of basketball players.
Yet, as with an SUV, the driver sits relatively high. Flop the back seats down and there's more than 80 cubic feet of cargo space available, which is a lot. It's much bigger than it looks, bigger than a midsize sedan, nearly as big as a Ford Explorer. You sense this on back roads, a feeling magnified by fenders that fall away and can't be seen from the driver's seat.
Also, while the Toyota and Honda were designed to offer seating for seven, Nissan resisted the temptation to cram three rows of seats where two fit more comfortably. As a result, the Murano accommodates five full-size adults nicely, just like a luxury sedan, and offers a nice, big cargo space.
The Murano was ahead of its time when it was introduced. It eschews the square look of a truck in favor of a modern aerodynamic design. The Murano features a sleek front end with smooth lines front to back, and a greenhouse that slopes rearward, ending in a graceful C-pillar. Inside, the instruments and controls seem to float in pods that appear barely attached to the dashboard.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine, the same basic powerplant used in the 350Z sports car, delivers hearty performance, tuned here to produce 240 horsepower. In short, the Murano scoots. It comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT, that's smooth and responsive while offering good gas mileage for the class. Murano shares basic underpinnings with the front-wheel-drive Nissan Altima and Maxima sedans (but not, despite popular misconception, the Nissan 350Z-based Infiniti FX). As a result, its road-tuned suspension delivers smooth and sporty handling. All-wheel drive is available, for good grip and stability in wintry weather and hard rain, and we recommend getting it.
The Murano is unchanged for 2007, except for the addition of a tire-pressure monitor as standard equipment. Nissan freshened Murano's appearance a bit for 2006.
The 2007 Nissan Murano is available in three models: S ($27,750), SL ($29,300), and SE ($31,850).
The S and SL come standard with front-wheel drive (2WD); all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option ($1,600). The SE comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. All models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that Nissan calls the Xtronic.
The Murano S comes standard with 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, tire pressure monitor and large 18-inch alloy wheels. Options include a Convenience package ($800) that includes a 10-way adjustable driver's seat, roof rails, adjustable pedals, and a cargo cover and net.
The SL adds a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, upgraded audio with steering wheel controls, a compass, a garage door opener, automatic headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power outlets, fog lights, and an alarm. SL and SE models are distinguished by brushed aluminum trim on the rear bumper and chrome accents along the sides.
The SE comes with a firmer, sport-tuned suspension; a manual shift mode for its transmission; high-intensity xenon headlights; uniquely styled alloy wheels; and dark-silver lower bumpers.
Options for SL and SE include a Premium package ($1,650), which adds a more powerful Bose stereo with subwoofer, auto volume control and satellite radio pre-wiring to the contents of the Convenience package. The Sunroof package ($2,650) adds an electric sunroof to the Premium package. The SL and SE Leather packages ($2,750) add leather upholstery and a four-way power front passenger seat; they can be combined with the Sunroof package ($3,650). The Touring Package ($4,700) includes all Premium, Sunroof, and Leather Package contents plus heated front seats with memory, Intelligent Key, heated mirrors, adjustable pedals and HID headlights for the SL. The Touring Package with Satellite Radio ($5,050) combines all that with the customer's choice of XM or Sirius satellite radio. A DVD navigation system ($1800) is also available. The rear-seat DVD entertainment package ($1,720) comes with a seven-inch drop-down screen, remote control and two wireless headsets. A chrome wheel package is available for SL and SE ($1,200).
Safety features that come standard on all models include 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 activate the airbags in the event of a pending rollover. Murano also comes standard with four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, Brake Assist and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). A Dynamic Control Package ($750), which combines Vehicle Dynamic Control (an electronic stability control system) with Traction Control, is available on SL and SE.