Nissan takes the smooth ride and responsive handling of a car, the cargo space of a wagon, and the high driving position of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) and combines them into one stylish package: the 2006 Nissan Murano. It gets its name from the Murano region of Italy, known for its famous glassware. The name reflects Nissan’s emphasis on refinement and confidence on- and off-road.
The Murano provides a good example of a crossover vehicle because its design allows it to haul cargo like a SUV, but ride and drive like a car. However, this crossover proves to be more than just the average crossover as it handles better than the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, and it drives more like a sport sedan.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: Murano SE, Murano SL
Nissan revises the exterior trim and instrumentation and adds a standard seven-inch LCD display and a standard rear-view monitor for SL and SE models. The grille is redesigned to include a chrome lower grille insert. It also gets LED taillights that illuminate faster so that drivers behind you can be alerted faster when you step on the brakes.
The Nissan Murano has a sleek exterior that features wraparound surface construction, a prominent stylized front grille, and an upswept greenhouse that helps the Nissan SUV be the physical embodiment of a ""sculpture in motion."" The vertically stacked headlights have HID bulbs, and in back, drivers find a lightweight cargo door made from an advanced steel-reinforced plastic that makes opening and closing it easier. Front and rear spoilers add aerodynamic sportiness to the SUV's lines as it sits atop 18-inch wheels and tires.
The five-passenger 2006 Nissan Murano comes in three trim levels: base S, SL, and SE. The S trim includes 18-inch wheels; the SL adds a cargo cover, a cargo net, and a rear-view monitor; the SE adds a sport-tuned suspension and HID headlamps. The optional Premium Package includes a roof rack and adjustable pedals. The optional Dynamic Control Package adds a tire-pressure monitoring system and stability control. Other stand-alone options include a sunroof, a DVD player, and a navigation system.
Real aluminum trim accents the dashboard in the 2006 Nissan Murano. The gauges glow orange, making them easy to read. The split-folding rear seats have a reclining feature and a remote flip-down function, allowing the seats to be easily released from the rear cargo area. The cabin offers plenty of storage spaces, such a two-tiered lockable center console box roomy enough to hold a laptop computer, door pockets with a flip-out function, and assorted nooks and crannies for smaller items. With the rear seats down, the cargo bay offers 81.6 cubic feet of storage space.
Standard features for the S trim include cloth upholstery, alloy trim on the dashboard, alloy and leather trim on the shift knob, dual vanity mirrors, a four-speaker stereo system with an in-dash CD player, reclining rear seats, power steering, dual-zone climate control, a CD player, and a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. The luxury SL adds a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support. The sporty SE adds front bucket seats, a 10-way power height-adjustable driver’s seat with power-adjustable lumbar support, and a six-speaker stereo system with in-dash CD player. The optional Premium Package adds a Bose stereo system with a six-disc CD changer.
Performance & Handling
The Nissan Murano contains a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 245 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission choice remains a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides for smoother operation and greater fuel efficiency than a traditional automatic. The CVT responds well and it shifts gears seamlessly.
Acceleration feels somewhat lively, but the CVT feels sluggish when starting in traffic from a stop at a red light or a train crossing. Handling is sharp, even compared to other car-based crossover SUVs. Buyers can choose between the sport-tuned SE model and the more softly calibrated S and SL forms. The transmission stays quiet when compared to conventional automatics. The steering feels quick and smart, and the Murano displays good control when hitting a bump while turning a corner. The all-wheel drive makes driving in inclement weather easy and the center differential redirects half of the power to the rear wheels if the car senses the front wheels slipping.
The Murano comes with a comprehensive list of standard safety features, including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, front seat-mounted side airbags, head-protecting side curtain airbags for all outboard occupants, and active head restraints. A stability control system called Vehicle Dynamic Control comes optionally on the SL and SE, but remains unavailable for the S model. In government crash tests, the 2006 Nissan Murano earns four out of five stars in front-impact collision protection for the driver and front passengers. It earns five out of five stars for front-occupant protection in side-impact collisions and four out of five stars for rear passenger protection. Testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2006 Nissan Murano a top rating of ""good"" for frontal-offset impact protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Murano S: 18/23 mpg city/highway
Murano SE: 18/23 mpg city/highway
Murano SL: 18/23 mpg city/highway
- Smooth, comfortable ride
- Practical, roomy interior
- All major safety features come standard
- Sharp handling
You Won't Like
- Sluggish CVT
- Rough ride on the SE model
- No third row seating
A crossover worthy of enjoying a long future.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Pilot
- Toyota Highlander
- Ford Explorer
- Ford Freestyle