The Nissan Murano has long been known for its bold art and design presentation, and for 2015 it gets even more gallery than ever before.
Forgive my liberal references to art and design, but how can you not look at the 2015 Murano and not put it in that context. Nissan has always pushed the envelope with this model, but this new one really takes it to a new level.
The most prominent collection of detail is the roof line which features what Nissan calls a floating roof, an element also now seen on the new 2016 Maxima sedan. Here a pronounced kick up at the rear quarter panel and a wrap-around glass look flow into an origami like rear hatch and spoiler
The combination is complex yet almost organic. This artistic bent continues down the flanks with boldly contoured lines and generous helpings of chrome that almost take us to the 1950’s era in how it’s used.
Its V-Motion grill up front is brash, framed by equally eye-catching projector beam headlamps with LED daytime running lights built into the mix. While some might call the entire thing outlandish, I think it all works pretty good, the best of the three generations.
Inside, Nissan created a cabin also attention getting. The combination of unique color and materials stand out in the mid-size crossover class, offering something well different from the rest. Our SL tester had the popular Mocha leather along with silver patterned trims.
The front seats which Nissan calls Zero Gravity are both power adjustable and heated, but not ventilated. They offered up plenty of adjustment range and a seating position which is more down in this vehicle than the feeling of being on it.
The dash layout has strong horizontal lines with attention to detail in material quality, finish variation and a good feel to its switchgear. The steering wheel offered manual tilt and telescope adjustments with plenty of controls for infotainment and instrument cluster features.
That instrument cluster has a traditional two-dial layout with a sizable 7-inch TFT center screen which can be custom set to display a wide variety of things from audio to navigation information to trip computer functions.
The center stack was well laid out too with the latest generation of Nissan’s touchscreen infotainment system and Bose Audio. It has some of the best menu layout and usability from the brand yet, all the expected wired and wireless connectivity options, and excellent sound.
With driving aids like blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and Nissan’s around view monitor, the fact that Murano’s design does offer up a lot of blind spots is almost forgotten. And one thing missing at this price I think is a sunroof.
The rear seats fold down pretty easily in a 60/40 split giving a near flat load floor and a pretty impressive cargo area. Under that cargo floor is a spare tire too, not a can of fix-a-flat like some competitors. And you’ll also find the sub-woofer for the Bose Audio system tucked in there too.
Under the hood is the familiar VQ-Series 3.5 liter DOHC V6 which here offers up a mid-class 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. A constantly variable transmission or CVT is the only option here as well.
It does run on regular fuel however and in our front-wheel drive tester has an EPA estimated 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. We achieved 23 mpg in our week with the Murano, with the AC on at all times.
The chassis of the Murano is also class average with a MacPherson strut suspension up front and a multi-link rear suspension out back. Electronic power steering and all the expected traction and stability controls come along for the ride as well.
When it comes to safety the 2015 Nissan Murano tops the class with an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating. This comes by way of good ratings on their full battery of tests including the brutal new small-overlap test. The availability of advanced crash prevention systems is also key to this rating.