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Nissan Murano

The trendy yet sensible crossover.

Nearly every automaker has launched a stylish crossover that merits cross-shopping with the Nissan. Even though it’s nearly a decade old, the Murano remains an agreeable choice for buyers who want a sensible mid-size SUV with a dose of style. All the exterior creases and angles make for a pleasing design, even if the styling is starting to look dated. A wide chrome-and-mesh grille and triangular headlights make a smart impression from the front, with rounded-triangle taillights and a roof spoiler that accentuate the Murano’s rear. Passenger and luggage space are generous, and thanks to a 2009 redesign, the quality of the interior materials has improved. The dashboard layout is simple in both design and usability. There is plenty of room for carrying bulky items when the rear seats are folded, although the lift-over height is relatively high. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine and the continuously variable transmission provide smooth, powerful acceleration while returning decent fuel economy. Both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations are available. Tech options such as touch-screen navigation and a Bose sound system are easy to use; a DVD player with screens mounted in the front-seat headrests is available. This may be one of the oldest vehicles in its segment, but the Murano still feels like a fresh, smart crossover.

COMPETITORS

Ford Edge

Honda CR-V

Mazda CX-5

Toyota Venza

new for 2013

The LE with the Platinum Edition Package and the SL with the Navigation Package gain moving-object detection and blind-spot and lane-departure warning. A new Value Package for the SV bundles a power liftgate, a Bose audio system, and navigation. All SV models now have an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the HomeLink garage door opener. Midnight garnet and gun metallic join the color palette.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

MPG

CITY 18

HWY 23

PRO

Dramatic styling

Soft, relaxing ride

Smooth and refined CVT

CON

No third-row seats available

Engine loud under load

Base Price Range: $30,500–$41,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: S, SV, SL, LE

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 3.5L V-6, 260 hp, 240 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: (with/without sunroof) 104.8/108.6 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 3500 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 31.6/64.0 cu ft

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