The 2009 Nissan Murano looks like its predecessor in many ways, but it
has more creases and folds than the original Murano. It's a more modern
look, but not necessarily better. Nissan calls the interior a "mobile
suite." It's intended to be modern and warm, with ambient lighting and
When Nissan introduced
the Murano in 2003, there wasn't anything else quite like it. Aside from
being one of the first mid-size crossovers, the Murano was shaped like
an egg and drove more like a roller skate than an SUV. It was a winning
formula that proved to be ahead of its time as fewer people wanted to
drive traditional SUVs and more people said, "I want to drive an
egg-shaped roller skate!"
Today virtually every
car company makes something like the Murano. Some of them are oval
skateboards while others are bulbous wind-up toys, but they all fulfill
the same basic mission, offering SUV-like space in a fun-to-drive
Now that the Murano has
lost its near monopoly status, what is Nissan to do? The answer comes in
the 2009 Murano, a complete redesign of this segment-busting crossover
that has a new body, new interior and new focus on technology.
Like a lot of
carmakers, Nissan is trying to move the Murano upscale to compete with
entry-level luxury SUVs and position itself above its new competitors.
Yes, it has more eye candy, like a rear-view camera, a continuously
variable transmission, push button ignition and an LCD screen for
controlling it all.
It also has a new, more
luxurious driving feel. Like the new Nissan Altima platform on which
it's based, the Murano has been softened compared to the previous
generation to give it a smoother ride. Now it's like roller skates on a
cotton candy sidewalk, still fun but also more comfortable than before.
Performance is above
average for a crossover, mainly because of its nimble handling but also
because of the instant response of its 3.5-liter engine that makes 265
And what about the egg
shape? The new Murano still looks similar to the old one, but the round
edges have been hardened with gentle creases and folds. I don't think it
looks any better than the old one and is certainly less distinctive than
the previous generation, but other people may disagree. I do think it's
lost some of its love-it-or-hate-it personality.
Inside, Nissan created
a look it calls a "mobile suite" that's meant to be warm and modern.
Ambient lighting, nice aluminum-look trim and a curved instrument panel
make it a more inviting place than the old Murano, although fit and
finish aren't quite up to the luxury standards Nissan seems to be
The 2009 Murano starts
at $26,330, not a bad price for its combination of style, performance
and practicality. Some of the high-end versions can get expensive,
though, topping out around $36,000 for an all-wheel-drive LE model. A
navigation system adds $1,850, and a DVD player costs $1,600.
Overall, the new Murano
is a step up from the old one. As more people jump on the
egg-shaped-roller-skate bandwagon, the Murano can still hold its own.
What was tested?
The 2009 Nissan Murano SL AWD with a base price of $29,480. Options on
the test car: The Premium package at $1,000. Price as tested including
the $745 destination charge: $31,245.
Why avoid it? It
looks different from the old Murano, but not necessarily better.
Why buy it? It's
as practical as an SUV but a lot more fun to drive. It's more luxurious
than the old Murano.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Crossover Review provided by
Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Nissan Home Page
Column Name: Rounded
crossover adds luxury to stay competitive
Topic: The 2009 Nissan
Word Count: 665
Photo Caption: The
2009 Nissan Murano
Photo Credits: Nissan
Murano Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 02
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2009 Nissan Murano
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2009 Nissan Murano