Nissan Murano Performance
The 2007 Nissan Murano receives very good reviews for performance based on its enjoyable sedan-like ride, smooth handling and excellent braking capabilities. Reviewers praise the 3.5-liter engine, which Kelley Blue Book calls "one of the best V6 engines in the industry." However, some feel engine power is suppressed by the Murano's gearless transmission.
Acceleration and Power
Under the hood, the 2007 Nissan Murano packs a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which Kelley Blue Book calls "one of the best V6 engines in the industry." Also featured in the Nissan Altima sedan, it pumps out 245 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque. Edmunds praises, "As in the Altima, thrust is plentiful and smooth throughout the rev range. With a polished exhaust note and refined operation, the VQ-series engine has proven to be one of the best performers in any vehicle it's called on to motivate." Cars.com sums up consensus on performance, saying "The Murano performs with splendid passion."
According to the EPA, the engine is rated for 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway for the front-wheel drive, and 17/23 for the all-wheel drive. Recommended fuel is premium unleaded. Reviewers have mixed opinions on the gas mileage. NewCars.com concludes that "With respect to gas mileage, the Nissan Murano is somewhat better than the average midsize SUV, but not by much."
Paired with the V6 is an Xtronic Continuously Variable valve timing control Transmission (CVT), which doesn't include individual gear ratios, meaning the engine remains at a fairly constant speed under acceleration. The transmission maintains any speed changes continuously, resulting in what should be a smooth ride for the driver, who feels no gear shifts. The Murano's CVT has three ranges: D for normal driving, S for sportier acceleration and L for the lowest range.
Reviewers have mixed feelings about the transmission, which they say delivers a smooth ride and better fuel economy but falls short in other areas. Popular Mechanics comments, "With an engine that represents one of the highest outputs going through a CVT of any vehicle on the market, the Murano is a pleasure to drive and is plenty powerful." On the other hand, Edmunds says the transmission was "by far the biggest [problem]." The reviewer continues, "We found the CVT interfered too much with the wonderful performance of its 245-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. Despite having the most ponies in the test, the confused wind-up of the CVT made the Murano feel sluggish at takeoff." MSN says "the overall transmission operation is quite smooth," but as the notes that "as with other CVTs, what you gain in smoothness you lose in acceleration."
Handling and Braking
The majority of reviewers are very pleased with the Murano's carlike handling, which Cars.com says is the SUV's "prime attribute." The reviewer continues, "This SUV stays impressively flat through curves. There's little body motion or roll even in quick turns, and the Murano feels solid. Ride quality is pleasing as the standard suspension cushions quite a bit of roughness."
The 2007 Murano features a power rack-and-pinion steering system and a four-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars on the front and rear--another design similar to the Nissan Altima sedan. Edmunds says the suspension "provided great road feel and precise handling" but also notes it was "perhaps too tight in the city, especially when we encountered the infamous New York potholes." Edmunds also feels the steering made the Murano a blast to drive, commenting that it offered "excellent feel, response and tracking. We could feel the road beneath our seats and through our hands and the Murano did exactly what we told it to." But a few reviewers point out a flaw. Notes Forbes: "The Murano has really ponderous steering at slow speeds, so you have to work hard to park the car. You get used to this, but a variable-speed steering system would alleviate this annoyance."
Reviewers praise the 2007 Murano's excellent four-wheel vented, anti-lock disc brakes. This may be due in large part to the Murano's integrated brake assist, a feature that helps ensure maximum braking force in a panic stop, as well as electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), which distributes the braking force between the front and rear wheels.
Forbes notes that drivers who frequently pass through neighborhoods will find the Murano's braking power helpful. "What's even more impressive (and responsible) is that Nissan was smart enough to give the Murano great brakes ..." the reviewer says. "We think that's really important; a lot of SUVs today get honkin' engines, but if a kid chases a ball into the road there's no way you can stop in time to avoid him. It's not all about going fast, after all." The sums up the positive consensus, praising, "With four-wheel, vented disc brakes at the Murano's widely spaced four corners, the vehicle stopped on a dime."
The Murano S and SL come standard with front-wheel drive, while the pricier SE model comes standard with all-wheel drive--which bumps the base price up a few thousand dollars. AWD is also available as an option on the S and SL models. The system is able to distribute up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels when it senses that the front wheels are losing traction. Edmunds drove both the FWD and AWD models and found little difference between the two, "although the AWD model did have a slight advantage in surefootedness around corners ... We've previously found that front-wheel-drive vehicles equipped with a good set of winter tires are almost as effective as AWD models in proving to be adroit at handling slick, ice-covered roads, so it's a matter of preference and about $1,600 if you choose the latter." Another Edmunds reviewer recommends "that you keep the Murano on the pavement most of the time."
In fact, many reviewers point out that the Murano is mainly designed for driving on roads, especially since it lacks low-range gearing for off-roading. But for sticky situations in foul weather, the AWD comes in handy, as U.S. News' reviewer Rick Newman found out. "The Murano rose to theoccasion ..." he says. "With the system on, I did a few unscientific tests by plowing into snow drifts and seeking out steep, slippery spots, and not once did the Murano get stuck or even take much notice of the snow."
A Tow Package is available as an individual option on all Murano models. The Class II receiver tow hitch accommodates a variety of trailers up to a 3,500-pound towing capacity. However, reviewers note that the V6 engine's 240 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque -- though quite powerful on the highway--don't make towing the Murano's strong suit.
S and SL FWD or AWD
Includes a 3.5-liter double overhead cam 24-valve V6 engine that outputs 240 hp at 5,800 rpm, and 244 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. This is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and a front- or all-wheel drivetrain. Also features front independent strut suspension, rear multilink independent suspension, engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist.
Includes the same engine and transmission setup at the S and SL models, but also adds a six-speed manual mode to the transmission and a sport-tuned suspension with firmer springs and firmer struts/shock absorbers.
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