Archive for the ‘murano’ Tag

Old Versus New: The Nissan Murano

We asked the owner of a 2009 Nissan Murano to take a spin in the all-new 2015 version of the dramatically styled crossover SUV. Is newer always better?

While we’d all like to have a McLaren, Porsche, or Lamborghini parked in our garage, that pesky thing called “reality” forces us to buy cars that are reasonably priced, convenient to drive every day, and—if there are kids involved—friendly to the sticky-handed set. One of the most popular models for families around the world since it made its debut in 2003 is the Nissan Murano. Named after the islands in Venice known for producing beautiful blown glass, this mid-size crossover SUV has always stood apart from the pack thanks to its dramatic design, great ergonomics, and car-like handling.

My sister, Lucy, is the happy owner of a 2009 Murano. She likes the modern styling, the comfort, the utility—she has two kids—and the fact that it drives more like a car than a hulking SUV. (Don’t even ask her what she thinks about her husband’s Toyota Sienna minivan.) So when I got to test the latest version, which is totally new for 2015, I knew she was the one who could give the best assessment. The third generation of Nissan’s flagship crossover delivers even bolder styling, a more luxurious interior, and a standard 3.5-liter V6 that ups both power and efficiency. Check out what the folks from Nissan were trying to accomplish with the new Murano, followed by Lucy’s thoughts. (Thanks, sis!)

Exterior

“One of the central constructs for both the exterior and interior of the new Murano was to ‘elevate your experience,’ which is counterintuitive to the heaviness and chunkiness of the traditional sport utility vehicle,” says Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “This helped inspire the push for leading-edge aerodynamics and three key elements of our designs—the V-Motion front end, signature lighting, and the ‘floating’ roofline.”

Lucy immediately sees the difference: “I really like how it looks. This one is more modern than mine, more streamlined. It has more of an aquatic look, if that makes any sense. I especially like the dark panels on the sides in the back—even though it’s not a window, it looks like window as opposed to car. Very sleek.”

Interior

“Beyond the sense of elegant style and premium features, owners of the first two generations often tell us about the ‘effortlessness of Murano’—the great front view, the low instrument panel, the comfort and ease of operation. These are all things we kept and exaggerated in the new model,” says Nakamura.

“This is like the fancy version!” Lucy exclaims as she gets inside. “Does it have a USB? A charger? Yup! It’s got a familiar feel to it, but it seems more spacious. This sunroof is great; it expands all the way into the back. The kids don’t normally get the light back there. Yeah, this sunroof is awesome, there’s a lot more natural light. Wow, is this a top-down camera? I definitely don’t have one of those.”

“I have no complaints about my seats,” says Lucy as she takes her spot in the driver’s seat, “but this is more comfortable—the headrest and the back support feel a lot better. Mine doesn’t have leather on the dashboard, that I could take or leave. The cup holders look smaller and are in a different place, I think I like mine better…I prefer them horizontal, not vertical. Overall it’s totally familiar, but there are certain little nuances that are improved. Plus, it smells very nice.”

Driving

“With advanced, purposeful technology designed to help keep you safe and connected, along with its refined everyday driving experience, this all-new Murano adds the solid substance to go with its unmatched emotional style,” says Pierre Loing, vice president, Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.

“I love driving my Murano,” says Lucy. “It’s just big enough to feel like you’re not the smallest car on the road, but it doesn’t seem cumbersome. It’s a good size; it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a truck. The gear shift on this one is a little stiffer, and the steering definitely feels stiffer. I like it; it gives it that ‘premium-car’ feeling, very responsive. It’s got great visibility, which is also one of the things I really like about my car. The driving position is very similar…it doesn’t really feel like I’m driving a different car. Actually, it feels like I’m driving my car, but faster. This definitely has enough power to do what you need to do.”

Overall Impression

“I originally bought my Murano because I liked that it was bigger than a sedan but wasn’t as big as a minivan,” says Lucy. “I liked how it drove, I liked the style of it, the amenities, and, for the price, it just seemed like the right car. My kids like it too, because they feel like I’m not too far away from them. I have about 66,000 miles on mine, and I wasn’t thinking of getting a new car, but this new one really is great. It’s everything I like about my car, only better!”

Or, as Loing puts it, “Murano resets the standard in class once again.”

Read more at: http://www.scout.com/story/1554398-old-versus-new-the-nissan-murano

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2016 Nissan Maxima Video Preview

For the past decade, the Nissan Maxima has been having an identity crisis. Originally it was Nissan’s family sedan, then it became its so-called “four-door sports car.” Today it shares most of its running gear with the less expensive Altima.

So how does the Maxima move forward? It’s all about style.

Nissan says the new Maxima looks like nothing else on the road today, and we have to agree. It’s dramatically styled along the lines of the Murano crossover. The distinctive profile looks edgy and exciting, and the floating-roof design is about as far from the Altima as you can get.

Inside the Maxima has a driver-focused cockpit with a center stack canted towards the driver. The interior makes big strides over the current car, with a padded console and genuine stitching on the instrument panel, doors, and console. There’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and some models features Alcantara suede trim. Heavily bolstered sports seats are standard.

The new Maxima’s loaded with standard tech including standard navigation, an eight-inch color touchscreen, and a seven-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display within the instrument cluster.

Powering the Maxima is a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. There’s a new Drive Mode Selector with Sport and Normal modes to adjust throttle response, transmission tuning, and steering feel. A new SR model ups the performance ante with a stiffer suspension setup.

On a more practical front, Nissan estimates the Maxima will have EPA ratings of 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city. Safety gear will include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, intelligent cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. A surround-view camera system is an option.

The Maxima hits showrooms this summer starting from about $33,000.

Read more at: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1097567_2016-nissan-maxima-video-preview?fbfanpage

The 2015 Nissan Murano goes head-to-head with the Ford Edge

If you decide that you want a stylish, roomy mid-size utility vehicle—one that drives like a car—and you don’t need a third row, or any rugged pretense, then the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano are two of the better picks on the market. And if you narrow your priorities to vehicles that look conceived for adults—not just as rolling cribs and diaper bins—then the Murano and Edge stand atop an even smaller list.

Both models are indeed stylish, mature, and sophisticated, but in very different ways. The Murano wears an especially bold face, with the new corporate ‘V-motion’ grille and boomerang headlights and taillights that frame some especially handsome contouring. Inside, the Murano has a swoopy, V-shaped design that’s equally radical, and distinct trims verge away from the woodgrain, piano-black plastic, and excessive brightwork that’s so common in premium interiors. The Edge, on the other side, looks sporty and athletic, with its contours and details feeling carefully calculated to fit right in with Ford’s existing lineup. On the inside, the Ford hits all the right cues for sporty and premium, although we think the Murano’s distinct look inside and out gives it a solid advantage in styling.

Performance-wise, these two models are polar opposites as well. While the Ford Edge now relies mostly on turbocharged, so-called EcoBoost engines and six-speed automatic transmissions—a non-turbo V-6 is there as more of a token offering—the Murano goes a more traditional route underhood, with a naturally aspirated V-6 the sole engine for the lineup. In the Murano, it’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that does its job in keeping engine revs under control while all you notice is plenty of acceleration on tap when you need it—with little of the rubber-band responses that plagued former CVTs. On the other hand, you’re much more aware of the powertrain in the Edge, as it has crisp, well-coordinated shifts. And hold on before you think you’re getting a much more fuel-efficient vehicle with the EcoBoost Edge; it’s a virtual tie against the V-6 Murano.

Ride and handling is very different between these two, with the Edge offering a rather firm but muted feel—more in line with German luxury crossovers, really—while the Murano has an equally quiet yet more plush ride that makes it a closer counterpoint to the Lexus RX. The Edge has a serious edge in handling, we think, as its precise steering and well-tuned suspension allow it to feel like a lower vehicle than it is when the road gets twisty. But considering the Murano’s strong, unobtrusive powertrain, we give the Edge only a slight edge here.

One note: The Ford Edge is offered in a performance-oriented Edge Sport model, which adds a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V-6, making 315 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. With suspension and steering changes that bring a firmer, more communicated, plus serious appearance changes on the outside—most notably, brightwork replaced with a blacked-out look.

Inside is where the Edge and Murano compare most easily in an A-to-B sense. While the two feel (and are) a virtual tie when it comes to cargo space, versatility, and general usability, we have to give the Edge demerits here for its flat, unsupportive seats. The Murano’s back seats especially shame those in the Edge, with their excellent contouring in outboard positions, while in the Ford the frame of the Vista Roof can interfere with headroom for taller occupants.

Full crash-test results aren’t yet available for either of these recently redesigned models. Both of these models save some of their best active-safety technology—like Predictive Forward Collision Warning on the Pathfinder, or Lane Keep Assist and inflatable rear seatbelts on the Edge—for option packages on top-of-the-line models.

Feature-wise, both of these models are presented with a sort of two-pronged approach: with tantalizing value-oriented base models that offer an interesting alternative to smaller, more mass-market models, as well as fully-kitted-out top-trim models that match up against luxury-brand models in all but the badge. At the base level, the base Murano S comes with a bit more than the Edge—with dual-zone climate control and a decent apps-compatible infotainment system standard—but at the top end we’ll call the Edge the winner in the features race by a slight bit, as it can be equipped with things like an Active Park Assist system that will let the Edge park itself, even into a perpendicular spot, as you manage the accelerator and brake pedals.

Who’s the winner here? The Edge only has it if you place more weight on handling, and a more European feel (especially with the Edge Sport), or if you really must have the edge on technology features. Otherwise it’s the Murano, as its like-no-other styling, plush ride, confident performance, and very comfortable seating add up to something that’s quite compelling.

As read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1097256_nissan-murano-vs-ford-edge-compare-cars

2015 Nissan Murano: First Drive

As we’re getting acquainted with the 2015 Nissan Murano for the first time, it’s eye-opening to note all that this mid-size crossover doesn’t have: There are no multiple drive modes here, no variable steering assist settings, and no steering-wheel shift paddles, no low range or towing mode either.

This is a vehicle that’s easy to figure out. You get in, and the driving interface is what most people are used to, yet with just the right gloss, gleam, blanketing, and buffeting.

And yet on the outside, it’s gloriously complex. It’s as much a rolling sculpture as some sports cars, and you’re turning heads, every step of the way. The Murano really is that good-looking—and something refreshingly different next to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

That aside, for the moment, the 2015 Nissan Murano feels like it was cleverly reverse-engineered to be exactly what it needed to be—stylish, comfortable, quiet transportation for empty-nesters, with plenty of capability to bring friends along.

There’s a lot more than a grain of truth to that. The second-generation Murano, which made its debut in 2009, never lived up to the sales numbers of the first-gen model—although in all fairness, the recession may have been more to blame.

Nevertheless, Nissan reached out to existing owners of the Murano and asked them what they wanted a future Murano to be. From that, “Provocative, Premium, Optimistic,” was the theme used to sum up the feedback. Owners wanted, above all, a vehicle that was visually striking yet sophisticated.

Straightforward in its mission, stunning in its presentation

And they sure did get it with the 2015 Nissan Murano. What makes this one of the most noteworthy new vehicles of the year from an otherwise straightforward, predictable template is the absolutely stunning exterior of this crossover.

In profile, in stance, and in the exterior details, the Murano follows very closely in the steps of the Resonance Concept that was shown at the Detroit Auto Show less than two years ago. And we can actually say we like the production car better, for its synergies in some of the design details, in the ‘boomerang’ design of the headlights and taillights, the ‘V-motion’ grille and hood sculpting, and in how the arched flare above its front wheelwell is echoed over the rear wheels, where the beltline pinches upward toward the ‘floating’ roofline in one of the most distinctive design cues.

The overall result is a vehicle that plays a multitude of visual tricks—appearing lower and far more sport-wagon-like than its predecessor. It’s unlike any other crossover, whether with a luxury badge or a mainstream one.

Murano owners wanted a vehicle that was even more daring in appearance, without giving up comfort. And they wanted even more refinement and features inside—with an interior that they could happily use to take other couples out on a date, or for a weekend-afternoon trip to Wine Country, for instance.

‘Jet Age’ interior inspiration—and no woodgrain, thank you

So Nissan reached out for something new, and sculpted the interior after the early jet age of the 1960s, “when travelers were pampered with luxury and flew with style,” elucidated Ken Lee, the senior creative manager with Nissan Design America, where the Murano was designed.

In short, we love the result. The wraparound look doesn’t limit interior space, and there are plenty of fresh details. For instance, there’s no woodgrain anywhere inside—no fake woodgrain either. Instead, there’s a brushed-metal style trim used for the interior beltline and door and console inserts; but even better, we’d choose the light-colored material that looks a bit like Mid Century Modern linoleum.

All the while, there’s a simple layout to the interior. Nissan has reduced the number of physical buttons from 25 down to 10, but used them where they make sense—like for the climate control—and there’s a straightforward infotainment system that responds well to navigation and infotainment needs.

In California’s Napa Valley region, during the #rainpocalypse this past week, we piloted several different front- and all-wheel drive versions of the Murano, finding it confident and surefooted—and perhaps more notably, finding the interior sublimely quiet and isolated from the gales and pouring rain.

Familiar goods under the hood

The Murano doesn’t have anything groundbreaking under the hood, but its familiar 3.5-liter V-6, making 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, feels quick, smooth, and relatively responsive with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is essentially a version of what’s used in the Pathfinder.

The Murano also doesn’t have the issue that affects a lot of its other CVT-equipped vehicles—sluggishness at lower speeds when you need a quick burst of power. Thanks to plentiful low-rev torque from this engine, it gathers speed quickly as the CVT lowers the ratio. And if you accelerate at more than half throttle (but not quite full throttle) you’ll find the transmission now follows some pronounced ‘gears’ along the way—as part of a so-called ‘D-step’ strategy.

The way the Murano rides and handles is very carlike, and much like that of a large sedan—albeit maybe with a little more body lean. The electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion steering has a good, relaxed feel on center, and it loads up nicely. One thing to keep in mind is that models with the 18-inch wheels handle just as well as those with the 20-inch wheels—except for a slight bit more precision in quick transitions. With the larger wheels, you do introduce more road harshness as well.

Composed ride, comfortable seats, conversation alley

In any case, the ride is composed and very comfortable. So is the seating, which has been conceived to be just as accommodating to those in back as in front. The so-called Zero Gravity design—for more back support—not only applies to the front seats but to the outboard seats in back. And while the front seats didn’t entirely win us over, those back seats we’d venture to say are best-in-class.

With a wide center console and those impressive seats, Nissan terms the middle area of the vehicle conversation alley; considering the quiet interior, you should have no problem catching up with back-seat passengers while cruising along.

Thanks to reduced weight and improved aerodynamics, the Murano is about 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the outgoing model, Nissan says. That leads to new EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 28 highway for the entire model line—and our 24-mpg average over a mix of road conditions suggests you might see about that or better in real-world driving.

The Murano has always fit into a different place in the market than most of Nissan’s other vehicles. Like the Maxima, it’s more of a gateway to luxury-brand models; and in its best-equipped models, it’s a full-fledged luxury vehicle in all but the badge.

Top-of-the-line Platinum breaks into luxury territory

This year that’s underscored with the introduction of a new, top-of-the-line Platinum model that adds things like ventilated front seats, heated back seats, LED headlamps, and power-folding rear seatbacks. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert is included, and on the Platinum and the next-highest SL you can opt for a Tech Package that adds Blind Spot Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.

How does the Murano add up for value? That’s one we’re still pondering. In all, the top Murano SL and Platinum models feel like true rivals to the Lexus RX 350 or Acura MDX. But at about $46k for a loaded Platinum they’re not priced much higher.

We tend to think that the Murano S and SV models, with their low-to-mid-30s price tags, offer the strongest value of the lineup. That’s where you can actually stop focusing on what the Murano doesn’t have and instead relish what it does have: stunning good looks, an ease about the driving experience, and a true four-adult interior that might just remind you how much fun road-tripping can be.

As read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1095800_2015-nissan-murano-first-drive

First look: 2015 Nissan Murano keeps concept car lines

Third-gen crossover will have 20 percent better mpg, tuned CVT, lower drag

When Nissan introduced the production version of the third-generation Murano at the New York auto show this year, the crowds were somewhere between surprised and shocked that the undulatory exterior and wacky roof pillars of the concept hadn’t been dulled down in production trim the way most concepts are. The wavy forms down the side and the sloping roof were still there, no doubt terrifying the metal stamping machines at the beast’s Canton, Miss. production plant.

But that exterior contributes as much to the vehicle’s significant improvements as anything else. When it arrives in showrooms in December the Murano will be 130 pounds lighter, 20 percent more fuel efficient and its cd will have dropped by .06 to 0.31. All of those improvements are interrelated.

Nissan said it was able to lower the curb weight through design efficiencies and with the selective use of high-strength steel, particularly in areas beefed up for better side-impact protection. While no 2015 specifictions were released, if you knock off 130 pounds from the current Murano’s heft you get curb weights for the 2015 model that will range from 3693 to 4025 pounds. That’s less than V6-powered competitors like the Ford Edge and Toyota Venza but a little more than four-cylinder competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Escape.

Turns out that sculpted exterior is functional, too. While the basic shape and proportions haven’t changed compared to the Resonance concept that debuted at the 2013 Detroit show, the surface of it has, up to an inch and a half here and there as needed for better laminar airflow. The new head- and taillights, as extreme as the rest of the shapes, help reduce drag, as well. The production model spent three times the number of hours in the wind tunnel compared to the 2014 Murano. That’s what it takes to get from 0.37 to 0.31 cd.

The standard Xtronic CVT transmission – the only one that will be offered – is more efficient, with reduced internal friction, Nissan says. As with the four-cylinder Altima and Rogue, the 2015 Murano CVT will get D-Step Shift logic to provide the illusion that it is a traditional automatic transmission. Faking shifts appears to reassure customers that there is nothing wrong with their trannies, and gives enthusiast drivers something to do going around corners. The D-Step shift algorithms come next to the Versa, Versa Note, Sentra, Altima V6, Pathfinder and Quest. It seems like there’s no going away from CVTs at Nissan.

All the above increases the 2015 Murano’s fuel economy from 20 EPA combined in the current vehicle to an estimated 24 in the coming ride.

That will be with virtually the same 260-hp, 240-lb-ft 3.5-liter V6 engine as before. That front- or all wheel-drive powertrain will provide 0-60 acceleration “in the sixes,” according to Nissan, though specific times have not been released.

Product planners described the new Murano’s interior as “premium social lounge” meant to “enhance the togetherness of front and rear passengers.”

“This is for the older empty nester couple and their friends,” explained senior product planning manager Scott Pak.

The Rogue is for young couples with one kid, the Pathfinder’s for families with two children, and when the kids finally leave the parents get a Murano.  The lounge aspect of that interior will be centered on what Nissan calls its “zero-gravity” seats. These feature three layers of urethane, grippy side bolsters and three (as opposed to the normal two) points of contact and support for your kiester. The front seats can be ordered as climate controlled meaning heating and cooling is available.

What used to be known as the instrument cluster but which is now known as the “drive assist display” is a seven-inch reconfigurable full-color screen. Over on the center console is an eight-inch capacity touch NAV display that helps reduce the number of so-called hard buttons from 25 to 10. It includes the popular pinch and swipe gestures that the kids love so much on their phones.

Safety features include: blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert, moving object detection, forward emergency braking and forward collision warning. Lane departure warning was not included in the new Murano’s options because Nissan said customers were not wanting it as much. (That’s corporatespeak for, “It drove people crazy!”)

Behind the second row of seats there is 7.8 more cubic feet of cargo space, a huge leap in capacity, especially considering that the new Murano is only 2.5 inches longer than the current one.

So that’s what we learned after we spent a day at Nissan’s Arizona proving grounds with a production prototype. Okay, we learned more than that but we can’t tell you. Driving impressions are under embargo till sometime around December. So despite having negotiated the high-speed oval, various rough-road surfaces and the really fun road course with whoop-dee-doos, expansion joints, frost heaves and manhole covers scattered at all the apexes, we can’t tell you whether the coming Murano crossover is really fun to drive or whether it blows. Sorry.

Look for more info in a few months.

– See more at: http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/2015-nissan-murano-updates#sthash.MeXpVZsF.dpuf