Nissan labels the Murano an urban SUV and describes its shapely sport utility as sculpture in motion. Few would disagree that the Murano cuts an impressive profile that boasts a wraparound motif, a prominent stylized front grille, and an upswept front, side and rear glass area that sets it apart from most cubicle shaped SUV's. The 2007 Murano is a carryover design with minor refinements.
There's utility to match the Murano's provocative lines with a lightweight rear cargo door made from an advanced steel-reinforced plastic, which makes raising and lowering a breeze. Front and rear spoilers along with 18-inch diameter wheels also add to the Murano's athletic stance.
Inside, the Murano features a unique instrument panel set off by aluminum trim along with a monitor that keeps tabs on the integrated audio and climate controls. The driver's seat has a 10-way adjustable selector switch while the steering wheel, brake and throttle pedals are also adjustable. There are front dual-zone climate controls and individual pillar-located rear air conditioning vents. Storage bins, cup holders, and cubby holes can be found throughout the Murano and with the rear seats folded down, there's a commodious 81.6 cubic feet of storage space.
The platform on the Murano is another example of its car-like architecture with underpinnings shared with the Maxima and Altima sedans. Available in either front wheel drive or all-wheel drive, there's four-wheel independent suspension equipped with an advanced multi-link rear suspension and high stiffness stabilizer bars front and rear. The result is an almost sports car like handling repertoire for the Murano-something completely unheard of in conventional SUV's.
Power is provided by Nissan's excellent 3.5 liter V6, which makes 240 horsepower and 244 pound feet of torque. The only transmission available is the Nissan Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT, and although a cutting edge design which provides smooth operation and enhanced economy, it also lacks the quick throttle response you'd expect with the powerful V6 and gives the Murano a rather sluggish set of reflexes in city traffic.
The Murano is packed with passive safety features including a full complement of front and side airbags, stability control, traction control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist. A rearview monitor is standard on the SL and SE models.
The base MSRP for the 2007 Nissan Murano S with all wheel drive is $27,750. You can add various packages including convenience and towing that will push the price into the mid 30's.
For that you'll have what has to be one of the most enjoyable mixed marriages between a truck-based SUV and a sport sedan as you're likely to find. And besides, in the world of art, great sculptures are expected to carry a premium price tag. This just happens to have four wheels attached to it.