“I totally love this car, I’d so buy one”, said Missi as she drove the Murano on a Starbucks run. We had just spent twenty of the last twenty-four hours driving from Indianapolis, to San Antonio, Texas. But first, we made a pit-stop in Dallas to pick-up a 2015 Murano Platinum AWD. The rest is, well — read on.
It was just back in February that we chose the all-new 2015 Nissan Murano as our favorite car of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, a “title” that originated mainly from its striking looks, specs, price, etc. Fast forward four months, and we finally had the chance to put the Murano through a thorough real-world test. In fact, so real, that we threw all of our family in it, packed the trunk to the roof, and drove nearly a thousand miles across traffic infested metropolises, charming small towns, and even some cows. All in scorching heat, typhoon-like storms, and just about anything else Texas could throw at us. (No cows were hurt in the making of this article. Actually, a turtle was rescued)
What is this Murano you speak of?
The Nissan Murano has established a reputation of combining fairly risqué design, along with everyday convenience and reliability since it first came to life in 2002. And the risqué part of the equation couldn’t be more palpable than in this 2015 model, just look at the thing — it’s mean!
A muscular hood, spaceship look alike headlights, rocket-thruster looking taillights, and a “floating” roof design, are all queues that make the Murano stand out from the competition. Now, I get what you are thinking, it sounds crazy, and shouty. Well… Shouty? Maybe, but in a good way. Crazy? No way Jose. Because let’s face it, who wants to drive a boring car? (If you answered Yes, click the X on the corner of your screen)
What about the interior?
Yes. I can picture an entire team at Nissan working overtime to develop their so called “Social Lounge” interior, which they claim “encourages communication between front and rear occupants”. Uhh… what? I can tell you that at no point did I feel more or less encouraged to communicate with my children, or at least not more than when driving other cars. But what I can tell you, is that they designed a heck of an interior. Comfortable, cooled and heated leather seats pamper the front passengers, while spacious, accommodating, and also heated leather wraps the back seat — a.k.a Kid Kingdom.
How does it drive?
Despite being just a foot shorter than a Chevy Tahoe (192-in. vs 204-in.), the Murano is extremely nimble and light on it’s feet. Actually, there was this specific moment while driving solo, that I flicked the front end into a right turn and gave it a generous amount of throttle right as I nailed the apex — in the rain. The Murano dove into the turn, kept its composure, and quickly propelled out in go-kart-like fashion. Nissan’s all-wheel drive, vehicle dynamic control, and traction control system, along with it’s fine tuned chassis made the Murano transmit feelings of confidence and capability.
As I mentioned before, we spent some serious time driving the Murano, and overall Missi and I were very pleased with its road composure. Although, I have to admit that I sort of “wanted” to hate the CVT (continuously variable transmission) based on previous experiences, but I was pleasantly surprised with its buttery smooth shifts, and lighting-quick revs. We’ve already established that the kids will be happy in the back seat, but now we know that Mom and Dad will also have a blast behind the wheel.
Is it safe?
Technology is a beautiful thing, but it’s even more beautiful when it’s used for something like passenger safety. The Murano employs high-tech safety features like Predictive Forward Collision warning, which detects when an object in front of you comes to a sudden stop. If it does, the Murano will warn you with a loud BEEP, and if you fail to react, the Forward Emergency Braking system could even apply the brakes for you if needed. Thankfully — none of those systems were tested by us. But, we did test the Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, which warned us when an object like a car or a bicycle crossed behind us, and of course, my favorite — Intelligent Cruise Control. Just set it, and forget it!
Unfortunately, some events are out of our control, and accidents do happen. Below are the 2015 Nissan Murano IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings.
In our original Murano article written in February, I raised the question of whether 260-horsepower were enough to properly carry the Murano, and I also wondered why Nissan skipped on features like steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Well, the Murano certainly isn’t short on power, and I can also tell you that not once did I go, HMM… I really wish I had paddle shifters. The Murano is simply a great overall package.
Missi and I get to drive and test a lot of cars, and although we don’t love all of them, we always sit back and try to understand the car and the purpose that it’s meant to fulfill. That being said, we’ve yet to walk away from a car that we’ve loved as much as we do the Murano, as we believe it contains the four basic requirements for a perfect buy — it looks good, it drives good, it’s safe, and it’s affordable. Thanks, Nissan.
- It meets our criteria for the “perfect buy”
- It drives as spirited as it looks
- Outstanding safety ratings
- Great build quality means it’s family-proof
The not so Great:
- Blind Spot Warning sensors kept glitching and working intermittently. (Not uncommon in pre-production test models like ours, but still something to look at.)
- Our navigation unit was very, very lost in downtown San Antonio.
- We wish it had a flip down mirror to check on the kids.
2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD
Starts at: $29,560 (S-FWD)
Price as tested: $43,745