Nissan Murano SUV was ahead of its time in styling and didn’t sell as well as it deserved in this country. But time times have changed and these days many SUVs and crossovers have smoother lines that look quite swish.
Murano has stretch-out room for four adults. Three grownups in the back works fine if they aren’t overly broad in the beam. Four have stretch out space. As a real bonus the flat floor at the rear seats makes life easy for the person seated in the centre. Too often they have to sit with their legs splayed around a central tunnel, but not in the big Nissan.
The first Muranos arrived downunder in September 2005. The gained strong acceptance by experts and some potential buyers because they were powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine based on that in many upmarket Nissans. This gave plenty of performance and made Murano quicker, smoother and more refined than most others in this class with four-cylinder power.
The second-generation Murano, introduced here in January 2009, carried the same overall theme as the original shape. However, it sat on a new platform that gave it added rigidity and a quieter ride. Seating was even more spacious and the boot had significantly more volume. The 3.5 V6 was reworked to give it more power and torque. Its excellent smoothness continued to impress.
The second generation has an emphasis on a luxury look and feel, making it a complete move away from the sort-of sporty appearance of the first-generation.
Nissan was one of the pioneers in modern day CVT automatics. In the gen-two it has pre-selected ratios to give the driver a fair degree of manual control when the don’t agree with the computer’s decisions on the best ratios.
The European-based suspension system provides handling characteristics that are pleasant enough, but the Murano is certainly no sports wagon and may disappoint drivers who anticipate more from its sleek appearance.
Nissan has been in Australia since way back in the Datsun days of the 1960s so there are many well established dealers throughout the country. As is common these are mainly in metro areas, but the strong Nissan commercial vehicle range means there are quite a few in the bush and country towns.
Murano is a complex car and we feel that anything other than simple service items are best left to professional mechanics.
Servicing and maintenance that have been carried out according to the book can be a strong selling point.
Insurance premiums are usually in the same range as other standard SUVs, so charges are pretty reasonable. There’s isn’t a huge variation from company to company. While we say it pays to shop around, make sure you compare like for like. It’s also wise to have a long history with one insurer as this may stand you in good stead if there’s a marginal claim.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Make sure the engine starts easily and idles almost imperceptibly from the moment it’s running. Ideally this should be done after the engine is completely cold, overnight is best.
During your test drive check that the continuously variable transmission seems to be in the right ratio for the situation.
There were some reliability problems in early CVTs. See if this is recorded in the service records.
Look for oil leaks from engine, CVT and transfer-case joints.
Check the complete interior for signs of damage caused by bored kids.
Also look at the luggage area in case things have been sliding about causing damage.
Nissan sets different recommendations for standard and heavy-duty work. If you think a Murano has been used in very hot areas, or used for towing make sure it has been given the heavy-duty service program.
Expect to pay from $2000 to $5000 for a 2005 to 2009 Nissan Murano; $4000 to $7000 for a 2011 ST; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2013 ST; $9000 to $13,000 for a 2013 Ti; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2014 ST; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2014 Ti; and $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2016 Ti.
CAR BUYING TIP
If you’re serious about buying a vehicle tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive. If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them ‘selling” the car to you. Put bluntly, ask them to shut up…
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/