Nissan Murano (2008) review

Published:15 April 2008

Nissan Murano (2008) review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5

Nissan’s Murano is an odd thing. Since late 2004 only around 1000 of them have made it to the UK each year, but for all its scarcity it was something you wouldn't forget when you did see one. A big showy chrome grille and a lusty V6 engine borrowed from the 350Z meant the Murano was never going to appeal to everyone (there has never been a diesel), but it wasn’t without its fans. And those fans will no doubt be pleased to hear there’s a new one on the way.

So when does the new Nissan Murano arrive?

The official line is that UK dealers will have Muranos to sell late in 2008. It’s hardly surprising that Nissan isn’t in a huge rush to get the new Murano over here. The company is doing very nicely indeed out of selling it in the USA, where the big 3.5-litre 261bhp V6 petrol engine is less of an issue.

Whether it’s worth the wait is entirely down to how you like your SUVs. The Murano is a bit leftfield for many - and those new looks may well divide opinion (some at CAR worry they've destroyed a desirable car with that 'distinctive' new nose).

But can the new car match the old car's slick drive?

Click 'Next' below to read the rest of our Nissan Murano first drive

So the new Nissan Murano is more suited to the USA then?

There’s no denying that the Murano feels like it’s been built with the wide open spaces of America in mind. The V6 is smooth and is still mated to a rev-holding CVT transmission and there will be neither manual transmission nor a diesel engine.

The gearbox is Nissan’s second-generation Xtronic CVT, and it helps that V6 return decent economy for a big petrol-powered four-wheel-drive: think in the region of 23-26mpg on the official combined cycle. Not great in a derv-obsessed market, but not a complete disaster.

Suspension of disbelief

On the long, straight, corner-free roads of America the soft suspension is angled to comfort, but on the twisty roads of the UK we suspect it would be too wallowy. So like its predecessor the new Murano will have its suspension tuned to suit our winding roads and pot-marked surfaces - it's a bit premature to judge the ride and handling just yet, then.

It’s unlikely that the tweaks will have much of an effect on the steering though, which - while weighty - doesn’t offer much in the way of communication.

Click 'Next' below to read the rest of our Nissan Murano first drive

Not so sporty after all then?

Nope, but it's not without appeal. The Murano is a good-looking thing to these eyes, and a lot more distinctive than its predecessor in the metal than photos give it credit for. It’s matured a little, inside and out.

The interior loses the hard plastics and rather bolt-on look to the instrumentation for a far more pleasing, cohesively styled facia constructed of vastly improved materials.

It’s comfy and spacious in there, while standard equipment should also be super-sized. Nissan’s interior people are very good at cubby storage, and just try not to repeatedly press the button for the neat pop-up shopping bag holder in the boot.

Verdict  

The Murano always was an unusual choice, and it’s more of the same with the new one. Nissan has concentrated on improving it where necessary and leaving the other bits well alone. So it’s more refined, better equipped – the UK will get two trim levels, the entry model costing around £2000 less and doing without premium kit like Bose audio – and quicker.

However, with fresh competition like Mazda’s CX-7, the Murano is no longer on its own. And with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions becoming bigger buying imperatives by the week, many might find the Murano a bit too excessive.

Specs

Price when new: £32,000
On sale in the UK: Late 2008
Engine: 3498cc V6 petrol, 261bhp @ 6000rpm, 248lb ft @ 4200rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance: 7.2secs 0-62mph (est), 116mph (limited)
Weight / material: 1878kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4785/1882/1729

Rivals

Photo Gallery

  • Nissan Murano rear three-quarter
  • Nissan Murano interior
  • Nissan Murano roof
  • Nissan Murano front three-quarter
  • Nissan Murano boot
Comments