The Nissan Murano is a mid-size crossover SUV first introduced by Nissan in December 2002 and sold as a 2003 model. Nissan ventilated the Murano as its first crossover SUV for the United States and Canada. Initially designed at Nissan America in La Jolla, California, the first generation Murano was based on the Nissan FF-L platform first used by the third generation Altima. The European version of the Murano began sales in 2004 and is available only in one version.
The Murano was Nissan's only crossover SUV in the U.S. until September 2007 when the new 2008 Nissan Qashqai went on sale. In Canada the X-Trail had been on sale as Nissan's second car-based SUV since 2004 as a 2005 model; it was replaced by the new 2008 Nissan Rogue in late 2007. The Murano is sized between the Xterra and the Pathfinder, but is priced slightly higher than the Nissan Pathfinder.
The Murano was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2003. It was also named the best premium mid-size SUV by AutoPacific.
First generation (2002–2007)
The first generation Nissan Murano was powered by a 3.5 litre 245 bhp V6 engine, also used in several other Nissan models like the Altima, Maxima, and Nissan 350Z, but specifically tuned for use in the Murano. Available with standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) and optional all-wheel-drive (AWD), the Nissan Murano is one of the largest vehicles utilising a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy was rated at 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway (same mpg FWD and AWD on the new EPA specifications).
An independent suspension on all four wheels was used for class-leading ride and handling.
2005–2008 Nissan Murano
A full set of airbags, steel reinforced cabin, and head restraints were safety features designed to protect the interior while VDC, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist were mechanical safety features. VDC includes a form of traction control embedded into the car's onboard computer and is designed to provide 'joy' to drive.
The Murano received a crash test rating of 5-stars in all categories from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For the 2006 model year in North America, the Murano received some updates in the form of LED tailamps and turn signals, standard color information screen, available back-up camera, GPS and a restyled front end with some minor trim updates.
Nissan skipped the 2008 model year with the introduction of the next generation Murano – as a 2009 model. The 2009 Murano made its public debut at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show in November and sales began in early January 2008.
The revised exterior styling bears an increased family resemblance to the Nissan Qashqai, while still maintaining distinctly Murano cues with its aggressive front fascia and rear quarter windows. The interior has also been completely redesigned, with the use of a more traditional instrument cluster and notably higher-quality materials.
The 2009 Murano is offered in three trim levels: the base S, the mid-grade SL, and the top of the line LE. The performance-oriented SE model is no longer available. The S and SL are offered with standard FWD, with optional iAWD (Intelligent All Wheel Drive) available. The LE trim is iAWD only.
New features, some of them optional or available only on the LE grade, include rain-sensing wipers, double-stitched leather seats, power rear lift gate, power fold-up rear seats, iPod integration, and a hard-drive based, touchscreen navigation system. The S and SL feature aluminum interior accents, while the LE sports wood-tone trim. Like the first-generation model, there is no third-row seat.
The Murano is now based on the Nissan D platform shared with the fourth generation Nissan Altima and the new 2009 Nissan Maxima. Nissan has given the 2009 Murano a revised version of the award-winning 3.5L VQ engine rated at 265 horsepower (198 kW), an increase of 20 over the previous model. Torque is rated at 248 ft·lbf (336 N·m). The engine is mated to a revised Continuously Variable Transmission with Adaptive Shift Control. EPA fuel economy is rated at 18 city / 23 highway.
2003 Nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award.
2007 Motorist Choice best premium mid-size SUV by AutoPacific.
2010 Murano received the highest ratings in the front-, side-, and rear-impact evaluations performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
2010 Murano Received NHTSA's Highest Government Side-Impact Safety Rating (five stars).