2009 Nissan Murano | road test

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 by

A car’s looks are always subjective. Although there may often be a consensus that a particular vehicle is strikingly handsome, or hideously ugly, there is always a range of opinions, from love to hate.

When the original Murano was unveiled in 2002, it heralded the design direction for plenty of models since. Some were unconvinced by the then-rather radical styling, but I liked it. It was different, dynamic. It stood out.

Now the new Murano is here, and the design once again stands out. Personally, I think the new-look, bulky chrome grille does it no favours at all, but in conversation with friends and colleagues, once again it’s clear that there are plenty that like it. For me, the position of the lights in relation to the grille is all wrong – it looks like a cross between a Subaru Tribeca and a BMW 6 Series, melded into one and stuck on the face of an otherwise rather svelte looking vehicle. Still, you be the judge.

2009 Nissan MuranoOf course, once inside you don’t have to look at the thing, so it’s a relief to find that the inside looks fine. Nothing wildly exciting, but it’s a inoffensive design that’s well built and the quality of materials is an improvement over the previous Murano.

There are three trim levels of Murano available. We tried the top-of-the-range LE, which comes with lots of leather, lots of metal effect plastic and even some real metal dotted about the cabin. The Bose sound system is a good one with plenty of bass via a subwoofer in the boot, and the whole car feels luxurious – not Bentley luxurious, but not far off Infiniti levels of comfort.

There’s plenty of room inside for five people, and a moderately spacious boot. There are bigger available, and the rear seats don’t fold down flat, which is a shame – and expected these days. The boot comes with an electric tailgate – one of numerous gadgets on the well-stocked LE. Electric front seats and electrically operated steering column are included, as is a nice easy-to-use satellite navigation system, which a lot of other manufacturers could do well to take a look at. The sat nav screen also serves as the viewfinder for the rear view camera, which is very useful if you find reversing or parking a bit of a challenge.

2009 Nissan MuranoPower comes from Nissan’s ever-popular 3.5-litre V6, attached to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This does away with traditional automatically swapped cogs in favour of a belt-driven system that doesn’t have gears as such. It just gives the maximum available oomph when you hit the accelerator. Although there is a manual mode that gives the impression of gears, such a features seems a bit pointless. The CVT is perfectly acceptable though. This latest version been tweaked for more sportiness, although the Murano is not really sporty. 256bhp is a decent amount, but this is an SUV and consequently weighs too much for real thrills. It handles well considering its bulk, but try and push it and you’ll be a guest at a festival of tyre-squeal. The quality of ride might be on the harsh side for some. I liked being able to feel the bumps in the road and it never felt crashy to me, but a couple of passengers remarked that they expected a softer experience.



2009 Nissan MuranoThe Murano is available with a part-time 4×4 system that will push 50% of the power to the rear wheels if needed. But this is no off-roader – think gravel driveway rather than dune-basher.

Safety features include six airbags, ABS and electronic stability control.

It’s not bad, this new Murano. But it’s problem is that it’s not that great either, and for the price of the top-spec LE – 162,000 – you’re veering close to Audi Q5 and Land Rover LR3 territory, which are still very much a rung higher up the prestige ladder.

Click here to view the full 2009 image gallery.

2009 Nissan Murano

Price (AED): 140,000-162,000

Engine (litres): 3.5 V6

Max power (bhp): 256

Max torque (Nm): 336

Driven wheels: Part time four-wheel drive

Trim levels: S, SL, LE

Standard Safety Features: Electronic Stability Control, ABS, Nissan Advanced Safety System (dual stage front airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags)




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