2009 Nissan Murano ST Review & Road Test
Has the new Murano shifted far enough to stay ahead?
- 2009 Nissan Murano ST Xtronic CVT, 3.5-litre V6, automatic, wagon - $45,990 (RRP)
- Metallic paint $495 (Fitted)
- by Matt Brogan
Not that there's any thing particularly wrong with that, I mean we all have different tastes when it comes to styling and appearance, and though I'm not personally excited by the Murano's looks, I can appreciate its modern-family appeal.
For my money though I can't help but think that although it's a completely new platform, and certainly a more modern looking car than the model it replaces, the styling is still largely familiar to that of its predecessor.
Evolutionary changes seem to be all the go at Nissan this year. The recently released Maxima - which coincidentally is based on the same platform as the Murano - is a prime example, and though these safe bets are good for retaining existing customers, I'm not convinced they will win the hearts and minds of newcomers to the brand. I guess time will tell.
Well, in all honesty, it's quite good. The vehicle itself is well put together, it's quiet on the open road and more importantly, very smooth to drive thanks to the partnership of Nissan's revised and highly acclaimed VQ35, 3.5-litre, V6 engine and Xtronic CVT transmission.
The two work together beautifully and whilst I'm not a particular fan of CVT technology, I will admit that Nissan have done a terrific job this time round.
The one possible exception to my new found CVT love lies within the transmission's programming that will almost always want to find the most economic ratio - even if you're requiring something else from the car at the time.
It's not a bad thing I guess, considering most buyer's needs, but its certainly noticeable when you're trying to iron out a hill or finish and overtaking manoeuvre.
Nissan claims the Murano should average 10.9 litres per 100km combined, though my week proved vastly different with Murano offering a hefty return of 13.6L/100km, almost three litres above the ADR claim.
It wasn't that I was lead footed either, in fact I drove rather economically, so let's just put this down to the car being very new and say the figures may sharpen up once the car is sufficiently run-in.
The strut front/mulit-link rear ride on offer is both capable and confident, but perhaps just a little stiff from a passenger stand point. The upshot to this however is very nimble handling assisted with positive reassurance from the all-wheel-driver system.
While we're on the subject of parking though, I did find the thick "A" pillar and small triangular "D" pillar window make visibility somewhat awkward in car parks with massive blind-spots causing excessive caution when reversing from 45-degree angle parks.
The remainder of the interior however is practical and quite enjoyable with the ST base model (as tested) offering much in the way of standard equipment, comfortable and supportive seating and easy-to-follow functionality.
Leather trim with electrically adjustable drivers seat, six-CD tuner, xenon headlamps, cruise control, LED tail lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels (with full size matching spare), keyless entry and push-button start, power windows, mirrors and dual zone climate control do tally a fair amount of kit when you consider a Murano ST comes in at sub-$50,000 on-road.
Storage too is more than adequate with the added bonus of all oddment compartments being covered with a lid - except it would seem the boot which sees a retractable blind costing extra.
Cargo capacity is however rather practical for a mid-sized family with the flat-floored boot offering 402-litres with the seats up. Flip down the 60:40 rear seats and the area more than doubles to offer 838-litres of space. Murano can also be optioned to tow up to 1500kg (braked).
On the safety front Murano offers six-airbags as standard, as well as the usual run of acronyms such as ABS, EBA, EBD, ESP and TSC, while ANCAP results are yet to be confirmed.
So while it's not vastly different the new Murano is certainly a very capable, confident and practical family SUV that is sure to provide you with years of pleasant motoring.
The Nissan Murano starts at $45,990 for the Murano ST (as tested) or from $55,890 for the range topping Murano Ti and is available now.
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