When the Nissan Murano was released here for the first time, I was not particularly fond of it. Maybe it was because I had not given it a chance or hadn’t spent some proper time with it to actually give credit where it was due.
The new Murano has been around for a couple of months now and, compared to the old car, it’s a fresh look. It not only looks better, it’s faster and more fuel efficient too. When we are talking softies, this is about as good as it gets. The Murano is all about comfort and space and that it provides ample of. The interior is full leather with soft touch pieces and inserts just about everywhere. This really puts it a step above the rest and I would like to come right out and say that this interior can easily compete with the likes of the Lexus GS and the 5 series BMW. Rightfully so, it’s cost about the same.
The Murano is premier front wheel drive and, as with most softies, traction gets pushed to the rear whenever front wheel slip is detected. The CVT gear box is extremely smooth and can really put the power down when it’s needed. Gearshifts are completely smooth and you really would need to concentrate to feel when you are shifting gears. The gearbox is also able to shift manually, but being a trip trogon gearbox, it hardly makes for an exhilarating drive.
Inside there is plenty of space in both the front and the rear. I, being nearly 2 meters tall, had no problem getting into the soft and comfortable heated leather seats. Even with the seats fully retracted to the rear, I could still fit in between the seats at the back. That’s not always possible in other vehicles. The double sunroof tilts and slides only the front one, but the rears sunshade retracts with that of the first one. You can either have them both closed or both open. Visibility in the cabin is excellent with them either open or closed.
The entertainment area is where I really am most fond of the Murano. The eleven speaker Bose system, with two subwoofers, play exceptionally loud and clear and it will play from your iPod, Bluetooth device, from the internal CD or the 9.3gb hard drive it has built in. There is also a reverse camera and a complete onboard computer which will inform you of all the trip details, including fuel consumption and things like distance travelled, estimated range and such. If you are a gadget freak, then you will have a little piece of heaven right there.
The 3.5 v6 is smooth as silk. It makes a good amount of power; 191kw and 336 nm to be exact. As previously mentioned it’s mated to a lovely CVT gearbox which makes the gear changes silky smooth. There always seems to be enough power available, and that 3.5 engine sounds amazing while making it. Top speed is claimed at 210kph and it gets there pretty quickly for a vehicle of this size. Fuel consumption is not bad either with our vehicle returning just over 10.5l/100km during granny driving mode. If you are more enthusiastic, which it is hard not to be with such a great engine, you are looking at around. 13-15l/100km
0 to 100 is also claimed at 8 seconds flat, which is pretty good for a vehicle of this size.
Speaking of big, the Murano is big and wide and not really recommended if you have a fear of parking. While there are sufficient parking aids, there was still a lack of park distance control on our vehicle. The intuitive rear camera made up for it though; however, I sorely missed the front PDC. Tar weight is 1.8 tons and the Murano will tow a maximum braked trailer that weighs in at 1.5tons. While the Murano is no 4×4 it will do the average gravel road and grade two trails just fine. The 185mm ground clearance is adequate enough and with the intelligent all mode 4×4, which can be locked into all-wheel drive, the Murano should handle small climbs with ease. Just don’t take it to Dewilt and try and compete with the Jeeps.
The Murano comes standard with key less entry and an array of other confidence goodies. I personally liked the dual zone sunroofs, electric tailgate opening and the electric flip up rear seats. Bi-xenon headlights provided a brilliantly sharp light for night driving and the LED based taillights are bright and clear. I see a trend with new vehicles all utilizing the led taillights for low energy consumption and life.
Safety is all important and the Murano does not stand back for any of it. VDC, ABS, Brake Assist, active brake limited slip, dual front, curtain and side airbags all are standard.
The Murano is a good solid offering from Nissan in this segment and I was really impressed with the smooth drive and comfortable seats. I would really be able to travel great distances without much fatigue. This is the perfect family hauler.
The Murano has a price tag of R562. 925 and while it sounds like a lot, it offers some serious amount of kit! Service intervals are every 15 000km and it comes standard with a 90 000 km service plan and an optional maintenance plan is also available. Road side assistance is included and, as per usual with Nissan, there is a 3 year 100 000 km warranty.