In December 2002, Nissan Motors launched its mid-sized crossover SUV, the Nissan Murano. Nissan Murano was the first crossover SUV offered in United States and Canada. The early Muranos were designed at Nissan America situated in La Jolla, California. Nissan FF-L platform was used for the first generation Murano which was first featured in the first generation Altima. In 2004, the Murano went on sale in European market with only one version offered there.
Until September 2007, the Nissan Murano was the only crossover SUV available in United States by Nissan after which the new Nissan Rogue also shared the market. However, in Canada, the X-Trail was offered as a second car-based SUV since 2004. Although, Murano is placed in between the Xterra and Pathfinder depending on size, it is still offered at higher price than Pathfinder.
In 2003, the Murano was awarded with North American Truck of the Year award. AutoPacific ranked it as the best premium mid-sized SUV.
The name of vehicle is taken after a region of Venice, Italy popular for the hand blown glass production.
First Generation (2002–2007)
In 2002, the first generation Murano was launched by Nissan Motors. It was equipped with a 3.5-L V6 engine with an output of 245 bhp. The engine was used in several different Nissan’s models including: Altima, Maxima and Nissan 350Z, but for Murano it was specially tuned. The vehicle came standard with front-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive was available as an option. It featured the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). As for fuel economy, the first generation model rated at 18 mpg in city and 23 mpg on the highway.
To achieve improved handling and classy ride, Nissan used an independent suspension on all four wheels.
Second generation (2009–present)
In 2009, the second generation Murano was introduced. Nissan didn’t offer 2008 model year for Murano instead jumped to the second generation with 2009 model. The 2009 model was revealed by Nissan at the Los Angeles Auto Show held in November 2007. The second generation Murano officially went on sale in January 2008.
The second generation Murano is available in three trim levels including: base S, mid-grade SL, and the top of the range LE. The SE was dropped from the lineup. The S and SL are available with front wheel drive setup while the i4WD (Intelligent Four Wheel Drive) is available as an option. However, the LE trim is available with i4WD.
The S and SL trim come with aluminum interior accents, whereas LE features wood-tone trim. There are many additional features which are offered as an option or standard only on LE trim such as rain-sensing wipers, double-stitched leather seats, power rear lift gate, power fold-up rear seats, iPod integration, and a hard-drive based, touchscreen navigation system.
The current generation Murano uses the Nissan D platform found in the fourth generation Nissan Altima and 2009 Maxima. The second generation Murano is powered by a award winning 3.5-L VQ engine generating 265 hp (198 kW) which is 20 hp more than the first generation and torque of 248 lb-ft (336 Nm). The transmission offered is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) equipped with Adaptive Shift Control. It has an EPA fuel economy of 18 mpg in city and 23 mpg on the highway.
The car also offers some standard safety features common in all trims including 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake-assist, and EBD; electronic stability control; and front, side-, and side-curtain airbags. It has earned 4 stars on the frontal crash test from NHTSA and 5 star rating for side impacts.
The most recent 2011 model of Murano receives a number of different modifications and changes such as renewed front and rear fascias, new headlights and LED taillights, and new 18-inch wheels. As for interior, the 2011 model features a new white meter color (as opposed to red/orange), new center stack colors and additional equipment to various trim levels. A new exterior color is also introduced as Graphite Blue. The first convertible version called the Murano CrossCabriolet was revealed at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in 2010.