This past week I had the pleasure of test-driving a 2016 Nissan Murano, courtesy of the Nissan press fleet. In short, I loved the car. The Murano is a “crossover,” not a sedan and not quite an SUV, but with characteristics of both. On the sedan side, the Murano handles smoothly, has great quickness when you want it (thanks to a 3.5-liter V-6 engine), and has a “low to the road” feel, thanks in part to its suspension and aerodynamic lines. On the SUV side it has plenty of cargo space (almost 70 cubic feet) and enough height in the rear cargo area for a dog kennel or other large, boxy item.
You can hear my review on Outdoors Radio Show 1125.
The vehicle I drove was a Platinum model, with about all the bells and whistles you could ask for. You name it, this baby had it and then some: a back-up camera, of course, but also FOUR additional cameras, one on each door, that provided a bird’s-eye view on the dash screen. With the aid of these cameras, I was able to back up 50 feet along a curved gravel drive path from our driveway to our barn. The bird’s-eye screen showed me the ladder, scrap lumber, chicken feeder and compost bin that lined the gravel drive. I am happy to report that I did not hit any of them!
My wife and I drove it on a date during a rainstorm without a problem. The tires held the road, the LED headlights gave us a clear view of the route ahead, despite the downpour, and the back-up cameras really came in handy when we left the event and had to turn around in a school parking lot.
On another outing, I took it trout fishing and found plenty of room in the cargo area for my waders, wading shoes, several rods and several tackle packs and vests. Since I didn’t know how I wanted to fish, I just threw everything in the back and sorted it out when I got to the stream. (I even had the foresight to put a couple of empty feedbags under my gear to keep my wet waders and wading shoes from leaving a puddle on the nice, clean mat.) The rear cargo mats, BTW, are removable, revealing a rubber mat underneath the carpeted top mat. The power rear liftgate can be activated from the dash or using the keyless entry gizmo. That came in handy when loading the vehicle with my hands full of fishing gear.
If i weren’t spoiled enough by all those features, the Sirius XM radio and electronic navigation system really pushed it over the top. In the 200 or so miles I put on the vehicle, I kept switching back and forth from my usual WPR stations to “Fifties on Five,” with non-stop do-wop from my early years. I probably heard enough Buddy Holly and Elvis tunes to last me until I get to test-drive another model.
Did I mention the power moonroof? One touch opens or closes it, and it opens over both the front and rear seats to give backseat passengers a view of the sky.
The Murano also has two safety features I was not familiar with, but definitely appreciated: Forward Emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. I discovered the first of these features when I followed a car that was turning left on a rural highway a little closer than the Murano wanted me to. I felt the car braking by itself as I approached the turning vehicle, and only as I was passing it did I realize that Forward Emergency Braking had kicked in to slow me down. I did not get to test the second, but that’s just as well. I’m glad it was there in case I needed it.
This vehicle did not have a tow package, but the optional Class II hitch would have allowed me to tow my Crestliner 1750 Fish Hawk. If I get to test-drive another Murano, I’ll request one with that tow package just to see how it pulls my boat or utility trailer.
Another nice option I did not get to test is a 10 x 10 foot hatch tent that attaches to the open cargo door or stands alone, depending on your camping preference. That effectively turns the Murano into an RV that sleeps a whole family. Try that in your minivan!
With 28 mpg highway rating, the Murano has a cruising range of about 500 miles on a tankful of gas. I didn’t have it long enough to have to fill it up, but it was still well above half-full when the delivery/pick-up team came to retrieve it.
This was the most comfortable vehicle I have driven, and at price points ranging from $29,600 for the basic S model (which still has a lot of these neat features) to $42,000 for the Platinum Hybrid, the Murano is at the low end of prices for a new SUV. If you’re in the market for a new family vehicle or one that can do double duty, I’d take a serious look at the Nissan Murano.