If you have been in the SUV market for a while, as I was, searching for just the right vehicle in a sea of others, the 2005 Nissan Murano is definitely worth a look. The Murano is attractive because it is what’s known as a “crossover” vehicle, meaning it shares the favorable properties of a car and an SUV. Some great benefits are a car-like ride and gas milage, coupled with the versatility and commanding position of an SUV. As with any other vehicle there are some gripes, although the list is short, that a prospective buyer may want to take into consideration before opting for the Murano.
The exterior of the Murano is wrapped in a gorgeous metallic sheet metal. Personally I went with the metallic pearl white color, but there are some others that are worth a look. Adding, or detracting to the package depending on the person, is the original head-turning, love-it-or-hate-it styling which resembles a tall, wide, sporty hatchback. Some of the most eye catching exterior features are the sexy yet bold looking chrome grille, the sleek and stylish lines, the monstrous and sporty looking 17 inch rims, and the great looking chrome tipped dual exhaust system. However, some folks may be able to do without the somewhat radical styling and fairly low ground clearance which detracts from the SUV impression.
When you hop into the drivers seat of the Murano, you are immediately taken by the svelte leather upholstery (if you opt for it) and the futuristic amenities on the dash. The clock, indicators for the dual climate control system, outside temperature, and other bits of information are all displayed on a funky yet savvy screen in the center of the dash. Although some of the interior materials have a cheap look and feel to them, the chrome accents and intuitive lay-out make up for it. Some dealer options that are worth a look for the interior include a multi-functional power sunroof, navigation system, rear view camera (like in the infinity fx), xm satellite radio, and some others. In my opinion the best feature of the Murano is what Nissan calls the “smart key system”. As long as you have the keys on your person, you can open the doors to access the vehicle, and even start it up without having to put the key in the ignition! I am very content with the features in my Murano, having opted for the leather interior and sunroof, if you are a techy you may want to go for some of the other optional gizmos. Accessibility to both front and rear seats is easy as pie, especially when compared to the Pathfinder, an example of a full blooded SUV which was my previous every day driver. The Murano also surpasses in rear seat room, which is generous, and includes rear vent ducts so passengers don’t have to freeze or fry as the seasons change. Average cargo capacity for a vehicle in this class rounds out the interior, but I had an easier time with the Pathfinder in that department.
Ok, now the best part of the Murano has to be the performance. This thing handles surprisingly well for a crossover, and becomes more fun to maneuver at higher speeds. The 245 horsepower six cylinder engine works exceptionally well when combined with the fierce 17 inch wheels, and effortless steering. You get almost no body roll in sharp turns until you rip them at about 40 mph! The brakes are forgiving when you pump them at high speeds, but when it comes to stopping distances you can tell it’s no Porsche. You have the option to fuel up with regular unleaded gasoline, but premium in recommended for optimum performance. Unless you plan to race it, I would not recommend gassing up with premium fuel because of the unrealistically high gas prices. Take it from me, although performance is slightly hindered the Murano does just fine with regular unleaded gas. Performance downfalls include the transmission and the heavy curb weight of the vehicle. When the Murano is pushed hard, you feel the engine thrust you backward into your seat with very crisp acceleration, but the transmission seems to be designed for smoothness and practicality instead of optimizing performance.
If you can look past the arguable styling, and favor the status and feel of an SUV, than I recommend the Murano. It may be true that you can’t casually ride over potholes or boast about off-roading, but you are compensated with better gas milage, accessability, and handling. If you aren’t interested in having all of the latest technological gizmos in your vehicle, which bump up the sticker price pretty quickly, the Murano is an exceptional value.