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Nissan's 2015 Murano: The anti-bedroom slipper

Nissan's Murano was one of the first crossovers when it arrived in 2003. Except for the tragic misfire of the weird looking Murano CrossCabriolet, the Murano has sold well for Nissan. Now the third generation is here -- sans soft-top -- and the reviews are starting to come in. Here are a few snippets:

"Nissan's two-decades-old VQ engine drives the wheels through a continuously variable transmission, just like every Murano to come before. Displacement remains at 3.5 liters, as does the Murano's 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. While we retain a fondness for the naturally aspirated VQ, in this era of ubiquitous turbocharging and rampant power escalation, 260 horses no longer seems like a lot. It is enough, however, to adequately motivate the Murano, at least for those drivers looking to simply get from A to B. The transmission remains the weak link for enthusiasts, although the Xtronic CVT now has a manual shift mode that imitates a conventional automatic. We might find this more rewarding if the Murano offered shift paddles instead of requiring the driver to tug at the console-mounted shifter." -- Car and Driver

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"The retuned CVT, combined with a healthy weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements -- the new Murano boasts a relatively slippery 0.31 drag coefficient -- results in vastly improved fuel economy. The 2014 Murano (with the same 3.5-liter V6) was good for just 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg highway in FWD guise. But the 2015 model ups those numbers to 21/28 mpg city/highway -- and that's for both front- and all-wheel-drive models, despite AWD adding 130 pounds of heft. Good stuff." -- Autoblog

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"Just as it did with the original, Nissan is taking some risks with the new Murano's styling. Bold and futuristic, the 2015 Murano's sporty and swoopy lines are highlighted by a "floating" roof that creates the illusion that the rear roof section is supported only by glass. Along with prominent chrome accents and distinctive winged headlights, the Murano brings a welcome dose of style to a class of vehicle that is still at its core about practicality.

There is still plenty of practicality in the new Murano, though. It's a little bigger than last year's model, and the added space provides more room for passengers and their cargo. Nissan's "Zero Gravity" seats also make their debut on the 2015 Murano. They provide great support for reduced fatigue on long drives, and in the Murano you get them not just for front occupants, but rear (outboard) passengers as well. All occupants are surrounded by quality materials and the latest in technology and safety features. Nissan's three-row Pathfinder might offer more room for a similar price, but the Murano is certainly nicer.

Nissan has softened the Murano's suspension tuning this year, biasing this crossover more for comfort than has been the case in the past. While the new Murano isn't as much fun to drive as before, the ride quality is certainly smooth and quiet." -- Edmunds.com

ARTICLE: 2015 Nissan Murano SUV Review

"Once we settled into the 2015 Murano's plush cabin, all thoughts of the busy exterior disappeared. The clean, simple interior design follows a more conservative path and manages to feel rich and luxurious without the complexity that pervades many other luxury cars these days. We were immediately comfortable in the supple, Zero Gravity seats, and the various buttons and controls on the center stack have a high-quality feel. A nice horizontal trim piece (either faux aluminum or wood, depending on the interior color) elegantly wraps around the top of the dashboard, and rear-seat passengers enjoy plenty of room along with amenities such as air vents and a USB port. Surprisingly, the swoopy rear end doesn't compromise cargo space much, either, as this crossover offers 39.6 cubic feet of space behind the back seats, 7.8 cubic feet more than the last Murano." -- Automobile

ARTICLE: 2015 Nissan Murano Review

"This latest Murano has a convincingly premium ambience, about on a par with a Lexus RX but costing a few grand less than that car. Other contemporary two-row SUVs competing against the Murano would include the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Edge. The aggressively futuristic exterior styling is perhaps the first thing you'll notice with the Murano. Love it or hate it, at least you'll find it easier to locate this Murano in a parking lot than most other SUVs, which usually resemble jelly beans or bedroom slippers. Nissan's venerable but still potent 260-hp, 3.5-liter V6 carries over; it's mated to a reworked CVT. Acceleration feels athletic and smooth. When it comes to handling agility, you won't mistake the Murano for a Porsche Macan, but the steering is responsive and delivers adequate heft, and the car changes direction without undue body lean. The ride is pretty solid, too. It's not dead-flat calm: road ripples create little vertical jolts, but the suspension catches and represses those motions well. The up-level 20-inch wheels on the Platinum probably transmit more road texture than the stock 18-inchers on lower trims." -- Consumer Reports

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You can reach at autonews@crain.com. -- Follow on Twitter
Tags: Murano

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