Oakville Drives: 2016 Murano Platinum AWD

2016 Murano Platinum AWD
Oakville Drives: 2016 Murano Platinum AWD

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R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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The Nissan Murano was first introduced in 2003 into the fairly new mid-sized crossover market. A second generation Murano followed for the 2009 model year and has now been replaced by the current third generation for the 2016 model year. Over a seven-day period, I drove this 2016 Nissan Murano a total of 1,236 kms. (16 hours in the driver’s seat).

Handling characteristics

The 2016 Nissan Murano is equipped with a 260 horsepower (240 lb-ft of torque) 3.5-liter V6 engine that provides more than adequate power for this vehicle. The transmission is Nissan’s Xtronic that I found to deliver both smooth and responsive gear changes. This combination of engine and transmission proved to work well for me in all of the various city and highway driving conditions that I put the vehicle through, including normal passing and traffic merge situations. The vehicle felt solid and stable over many of the commonly encountered driving conditions. The Murano has an excellent adaptive cruise control system that I very much enjoyed over the many hours on highway 401. Where it disappoints is during the more adventurous higher speed cornering, tighter highway curves and rapid acceleration situations. Steering response is a bit sluggish and body roll is quite noticeable, sending you a definite message to go slower. For rapid acceleration needs, you have to treat that pedal with serious determination and ignore the complaints of the engine and transmission. The all wheel drive Nissan Murano Platinum with the 20-inch wheels is very smooth on the highway but gets rough on Toronto’s terribly maintained roads.

Comfort

Steering Wheel

I also liked the steering wheel mounted controls – one of the few arrangements that I found to be intuitive and well designed for use.

As the driver, I found that the Nissan Murano provides a very comfortable ride, especially over long highway distances. What is quite noticeable is the comfort of the climate controlled powered 8-way driver’s seat and all around “zero gravity” seats giving excellent lower and mid back support for both driver and passengers. The driver also benefits from the power tilt/telescopic steering wheel (heated of course) with position memory. I also liked the steering wheel mounted controls – one of the few arrangements that I found to be intuitive and well designed for use. For the front passenger, the Murano Platinum provides a full climate controlled seat and the rear passengers in the 60/40 split seating receive heated seats with adjustable back tilt. The only complaint I received from my rear 6’6” passenger was that he did not have enough room for his feet to fit under the seat cushion of the front passenger. For ease of use, the Murano comes equipped with remote as well as push button start. The driver has a number of sensible visual display options that provide basic fuel, tire pressure, efficiency, and distance information as needed. In addition, the vehicle is equipped with a 7” color display, voice command for audio, phone and navigation; bluetooth phone connectivity; USB connection for ipod; Sirius satellite radio; and smartphone app integration. All of this combined with the Bose audio system with 9 speakers and dual subwoofers provides a full and entertaining environment. What sets the Murano apart from others is a more futuristic exterior styling, roofline and panoramic sunroof. Interior storage space includes 32.1 cubic feet behind the second row seats and 67.0 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. When equipped properly, the Murano is capable of pulling up to 1,500 pounds.

Nissan Canada

Model: 2016 Murano Platinum AWD
Engine: 3.5L 24-V, DOHC V6
Base Price: $43,998
Price as Tested: $45,893

Safety

This Murano comes equipped with stability and traction control, antilock (abs) 4-wheel brakes, and lots of airbags (driver and front passenger side airbags; curtain side-impact airbags both front and rear) and roll over sensor. For improved safety and visibility for parking, backing up and other “close” maneuvers, the higher level SL and Platinum trim levels include a 360-degree parking camera system that includes a moving-object detection feature. The 360-degree camera feature is excellent and very helpful to overcome the inability to see over the high front hood when pulling away from a parked position. As mentioned earlier, I especially liked the adaptive cruise control that is combined with a frontal collision mitigation system and emergency braking assist. For long stretches of highway driving, this is a must. As with many similar vehicles, blind spot warning comes standard.

Things to consider

2016-nissan-murano-premium-interior

Interior storage space includes 32.1 cubic feet behind the second row seats and 67.0 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The Nissan Murano is available in four trim levels and each is available in either front wheel or all wheel drive. My personal choice would be the AWD version for better stability and handling. During the week, I had opportunity to speak with three Murano owners to get their opinion. All were very happy with their Murano, especially styling and comfort, and really had no complaints. I agree with these owners. However, if you need more interior space or more pulling power, there are certainly other competitor options available in a similar price range. As always, you need to properly assess your needs and choose from there. For the couple or small family that enjoys a comfortable, upscale environment and decent storage capacity even on long trips, this Murano is a good choice.

Fuel consumption for this Murano Platinum is rated at 11.2 L/100 km city, 8.3 L/100 km hwy. After more than 1,236 kms and a week of driving in both city and highway conditions, I managed a very respectable 10.3L/100km.

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