Sabtu, 19 April 2014

NY Show 2014 Highlights: 2015 Nissan Murano

Nissan’s “Innovation that Excites” marketing tagline often falls a bit flat—we’re still searching for any excitement or innovation in the Versa or Sentra, for example—but in the case of the 2015 Murano, it’s right on the money. Whether or not you think the Murano is attractive, its design certainly couldn’t be called derivative or boring. This is a design that busts the mid-size crossover segment wide open like the Kool-Aid man bursting through a wall. Heck, we think the design of the production crossover looks even more expressive than that of the Resonance concept on which it is based, which doesn’t happen often. 

The 2015 Murano’s look might seem extreme, but the nameplate has a history of envelope-pushing design dating back to the first-generation model introduced for 2003. With its high-style-on-a-budget mission statement, the Murano’s long been positioned as the semi-luxurious choice in the mid-size crossover segment, straddling the line between mainstream offerings such as the Ford Edge, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander, and edgier entries like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50. Without a drop of irony, Nissan calls the two-row, five-passenger Murano its “flagship crossover,” essentially relegating the larger three-row Pathfinder to pedestrian family hauler duty. 

Relative to today’s soft-edged Murano, the 2015 model exhibits a far more aggressive countenance. The Murano’s V-shaped front end, boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights, and robust fender sculpturing carry over nearly verbatim from the sporty Resonance concept. Most surprisingly, the show car’s rear quarter panel “hump” that reaches for the corner of the roof panel survived the design’s evolution to production. A cleverly placed blackout trim piece covers each D-pillar and gives the impression of a floating roof supported by a thin wand of glass extending from the front windows on back. 

Nissan added 2.5 inches of length and 1.3 inches of width, and also shaved some height to make the 2015 Murano appear lower and wider, and it pays off. This is an athletic-looking design, especially in profile, and we like the crossover’s aggressive stance. It stands apart from the crowd—which is no small feat in the typically milquetoast mid-size crossover arena. And the amped-up style doesn’t come at the expense of passenger space, which is roughly equivalent to that of the previous generation. Rear legroom increases by 2.4 inches, while headroom, hip room, and shoulder room don’t change appreciably. 

We’re fairly certain, however, that the interior’s minor dimensional tweaks will garner less attention than the exterior. Nissan calls the cabin’s appearance “lounge-like,” but we think it’s more womb-like. Every surface is rounded and conveys a warm, enveloping feeling—especially cuddly when the light-hued Cashmere color scheme is specified. 

Underneath the Murano’s designer duds lies a fairly run-of-the-mill chassis. Nissan again utilizes a front strut, rear multi-link independent suspension setup, and front-drive is standard with all-wheel drive remaining optional. Every Murano is powered by a carry-over 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, and Nissan’s JATCO-supplied Xtronic CVT is the only transmission choice. While the V-6 should be sufficient, we’re a bit disappointed Nissan didn’t squeeze more power out of it; 260 ponies isn’t a lot of output for a 3.5-liter, especially in the face of similarly powerful—but more efficient, at least to the EPA—turbo fours from competitors. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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