The Nissan Murano, which became available in 2003, was, more than anything else, a very safe car to drive. With highly capacious passenger and cargo rooms, the Murano was hailed as the best premium mid-size SUV by AutoPacific in 2007, and four year prior, it was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award. Moreover, the model received the highest ratings in several impact categories from NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2010. If these were not enough for the car to nab the crossover SUV spotlight from other models, then perhaps we should wait more for what the model could provide in its releases after 2012.
2002 – 2007: Good handling, suspension, and features
Like other Nissan models, the Murano had a heart made of a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which could be controlled via a front-wheel drive or an optional all-wheel drive. Despite being a huge vehicle, the Murano was one of the few units in the segment that had a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which allowed for a better kinetic energy recovery and fuel economy. The unit could run in the city at 18 mpg and on the highway at 23 mpg. Handling was very effortless with the independent suspension used, and with an electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control as safety features, driving the unit was very blissful. In 2004, a satellite radio became available along with seat belt pretensioners, front torso side airbags, and curtain airbags for the front and rear seats. The units had bucket seats and backrest recliners for the split folding rear bench. Other features included a center console that could accommodate a laptop, a dual-zone climate control, a navigation system, xenon headlamps, power-adjustable pedals, and audio computer functions.
2009 – present: Standard safety features and more power for the upscale Muranos
In this generation, the Murano became more upscale. The S trim was added to the first-generation SL and LE trims. More powerful than the previous models, these units used a 3.5-liter VQ engine that yielded an additional 20 points of horsepower, making it 265. An Adaptive Shift Control was added for a better CVT. Despite lacking off-road features, the second-generation Muranos still had the best set of safety features: four-wheel disc brakes, anti-skid system, brake assist, electronic stability control, and curtain airbags for all sides. Also available were heated seats, a backseat DVD entertainment, and a navigation system. In 2011, the Murano had new front and rear fascias, new headlights and taillights, and a new graphite blue exterior color.