POSTED: Monday, March 1, 2010 - 2:43pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 10:40am
The Nissan Murano has always struck me as a bit of an odd duck in the crossover sport utility category. It is curvier than most of the competition, even though this basic shape goes back to 2003.
And because of the rounded form, it looks smaller somehow. But parking it next to a last generation Grand Cherokee the other day showed me, this truck is bigger than you think.
And of course, it isn’t a true truck in the traditional sense of the word. This is a car-based vehicle, in this case the wonderful Nissan Altima. Just remove the sleek sedan body and snap on a curvy little trucklet, and voila! You have a contender.
The advantage of that over a traditional truck with its body bolted to a solid ladder frame is fewer rattles and squeaks, and a ride that is, well, it’s like a very tall car, not a rounded PeterBilt.
Inside, the Murano shines, with an interior redone for 2009 and carried over this year. The folks at Nissan have done a nice job of making a 7-year-old design look fresh. It does help if the original was pretty far out there to begin with. By the time it’s replaced, it will no doubt look perfectly normal.
Power, as in the Altima and a bunch of other Nissans, comes from the bulletproof 3.5-liter V6 with 265-horsepower this year. That will take the Murano to 60 in 6.9 seconds, and with the continuously variable transmission, shifts are smooth…primarily because there aren’t any shifts. That helps give you mileage of around 20 in town and a bit more on the highway.