Nissan Murano

The Nissan Murano takes its name from a neighborhood in Venice, Italy known for its exquisite hand blown glass. As a car, it is a midsize crossover station wagon-SUV that debuted in December 2002 and went on sale in 2003.

More on the Nissan Murano
Nissan Murano Origins

Designed entirely in La Jolla California by the Nissan team, the Murano reigned as the sole SUV crossover vehicle available in the U.S. until 2007 when another Nissan SUV crossover, the Rogue, made its way onto the car scene.

Based around the Nissan FF-L platform used for the initial generation of the widely successful Nissan Altima, the Nissan Murano enjoyed significant market popularity due to its lower ride, sleeker exterior appearance than the traditional squared-off SUV, more interior room, and powerful V-6 engine.

Nominated for the North American Truck of the Year Award during its debut year, the Nissan Murano would rack up a few more vehicle accolades for 2007 and double-recognition in 2010 for its above-average safety ratings.

About the Nissan Murano

At the time of the Nissan Murano’s arrival for 2003, the stylish crossover SUV was breaking new ground in its class, rolling out a line of features and capabilities that would later be emulated and expanded upon by its competitors; it had more car-like handling, ample cargo/passenger space, heightened driving position, and admirable powertrain.

In addition to its then-unique body design, the Nissan Murano packed quite an under-the-hood wallop for its size. Saddled with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generated 245 hp, the Murano came with an exclusive continuously variable transmission (CVT) across all trims for that generation.

Vastly improving fuel economy, but causing an excessive amount of engine noise, the Murano’s CVT functions as a gearless unit that employs pulleys and belts to help vary the transmission ratios. The endless variety of possible gear ratios helps the Nissan Murano run at the ideal rpm for whichever situation it encounters.

Offered at two trim levels in 2003, an SL (luxury) and SE (sport), the SL’s featured power seats with driver lumbar support, a seven-inch LCD screen, and full cabin climate control, while the sportier SE came with a sunroof, Bose stereo system, and DVD navigation capability.

Nissan Murano Features

For 2012, consumers get the choice of four different trim levels (S, SV, SL, and LE) of the midsize five-passenger SUV crossover Nissan Murano.

Starting with the base level S, drivers get keyless entry/ignition, climate control, cruise control, and a six-speaker stereo/CD unit, while one step up to the SV line adds a panoramic sunroof, power front seats, leather steering wheel with built-in dashboard controls, satellite radio, and Bluetooth. SL will get you rain-sensing wipers, heated front/rear seats, a nine-speaker Bose stereo unit, and voice-activated navigation system. Twenty-inch alloy wheels, wood trimmed interior, and real-time weather are the hallmarks of the high-end LE models.

With an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 18/24 mpg city/highway, the all-wheel drive 2012 Nissan Murano’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, zipping from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.

Across trims, all new Nissan Murano’s come with the standard safety features including front-seat side and curtain airbags, full-length side/curtain airbags, front seat head restraints, anti-lock brakes, and traction/stability control.

Nissan Murano Evolution

First-generation Nissan Murano’s lasted from 2003 until 2007. Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 245 hp engine, the Murano wouldn’t receive any powertrain boosts until the launch of its second generation in 2009; the line that continues today. There were minor updates to the Murano in 2006, which included LED tail lamps, turn lights, GPS, a slightly altered front-end ‘look’ and back-up camera.

In 2009, the Nissan engineers and designers gave the Murano trims its most significant make-over to-date. The engine horsepower output got notched up to 265, while its torque capability topped off at 248 lb-ft. An upgraded navigation system, noticeable improvements to the CVT upgraded to include programmed gears for a more automatic gearbox feel to its handling, a slight front-end grille facelift, a redesigned interior employing higher quality materials, and making all-wheel drive standard for the top-trim LE version were the standout changes for Nissan Murano generation number two.

In 2011, Nissan released the Cross Cabriolet, a convertible version of the Murano that made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show the previous year.

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