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November 30, 2011

Review: Nissan Murano

Crossing over into new territory, CelloMom considers the Nissan Murano, a crossover utility vehicle, or CUV. Had to look up what the term means, exactly: a CUV is built on a passenger car platform but borrows elements from SUVs, hatchbacks and station wagons.

The Murano comes in rather a sweet and well-proportioned package, as viewed from the side, and as long as one is careful not to look at it head on; following the current trend the front of the car presents a grim face which is called "agressive" with a measure of admiration which is baffling to CelloMom.

True to its name, there is plenty of glass on this car: the windows of the back row remain reasonably large, which is nice for the denizens of the back row who tend to be short people. And you can optionally get a moonroof which unfortunately comes in two parts, one sliver over the front seats and another sliver over the back seats. Even if the bar in between is necessary for structural strength, it does mean that the moonroof is less than breathtaking.

Of course, you don't need the moonroof for backseat navigating, since the Murano comes with a navigator built into the dashboard. The other cool thing on the dashboard is the ON button, which is all you need to get the car started, just like in the old-fashioned Jaguars. No need to ever get your car keys out of your pocket, even for getting into the car. Nice for those times that you have a toddler and groceries in your arms and it's raining and you really don't want to be fishing around for your keys.

There is more than enough space in the back for a cello, and the total cargo space can be enlarged to a nice 64cuft with the back row folded down to make a flat floor, at the height of the opening of the hatch. There is plenty of legspace for tall people even when seated in the back.

But this is one heavy-boned car, weighing in at 1742kg (3841 lbs), a lot more than the weight of a nearly-full-size car like the Honda Accord, "only" 1487kg (3279 lbs). It's not just from its over-sized 3.5L V6 engine: even the Japanese version with the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine still weighs 1650kg (3637 lbs). You wonder where all that weight goes.

Nissan does not offer the Murano for sale in the UK. In the Netherlands, you can only buy the 3.5L version, and MRSP starts from € 69,350 (US $ 93,200): it falls in the "F" category for CO2 emissions, so it got hit by the gas-guzzler tax. Cars in general, and certainly SUVs, are really cheap in the US.

Bottom line for CelloMom: Nice car, cool tech, lots of room. But we're past 20mpg now. Even the smaller 2.5L engine only gets around 25mpg (and that's being generous: the Japanese 10.15 standard tends to gross overstatement of fuel efficiency) . Not for this century.

 

Nissan Murano, Same-Model comparison, different engine.

US Japan
Type S FWD 250XL 2WD
Year 2012 2012
Emissions rating ULEV  
MSRP $ 29,290 ¥ 2,971,500
$38,250
CelloMom Rating
Fuel Economy:
City/Hwy quoted 18 / 24  
Avg. quoted 20 mpg 11.6km/L (27mpg)
(10.15 schedule).
Avg. actual   between 22-25mpg
Engine

3.5L DOCH
V6 24-vlv

2.5L 4-cyl.
Power 260 HP @ 6000rpm 170PS @ 5600rpm
Gears Xtronic CVT (auto) Xtronic CVT (auto)
Fuel Unleaded Regular Gasoline
Length, mm(in) 189.9in 4845mm
Width, mm(in) 74.1in 1885mm
Height, mm(in) 67.0in 1700mm
Weight, kg(lbs) 3841 lbs(1742kg) 1650 kg (3637 lbs)
Trunk volume, liters(cuft) 31.6 / 64 cuft  
Turning radius, m(ft)   11.4m
Top speed, kph(mph)    

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