Impressive, With a Controversial Design
We Like: Its smooth CVT, luxurious interior, striking exterior design.
We Don’t Like: The lack of selectable drive modes; it could drop a few pounds.
The Murano is one of those rare contenders that impressed every judge on a number of levels. Positive remarks filled our notebooks. “It does everything you want without much fuss at all,” wrote Ed Loh. In Frank Markus’ notes: “This is a very nice vehicle in spite of its homely (to my eyes) exterior.”
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other SUV of the Year contenders and finalists at the links below. Check out the SUV of the Year evaluation process HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.
What stood out? First, just look at it. Its design is evocative, controversial, futuristic. It’ll draw stares and start conversations everywhere it rolls. Its interior—particularly in Platinum guise—is the perfect pairing to such an extroverted physique. The space is decorated with plush leather and soft-touch materials alongside plastic trim pieces with patterns recalling bowling balls. Our backsides fell in love with the NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats. Our more utilitarian-minded folk enjoyed the second row’s power fold-up function.
“The interior is sort of a dream,” Jonny Lieberman said. “It’s all creamy with weird fake silver and gold plastic, which looks cool and spacey.” Noted Chris Clonts: “Nissan committed and created a really modern-feeling experience.”
Judges admired the cushy ride and near-silent cabin. Clonts labeled it “absolutely well-mannered.” Although long in the tooth, Nissan’s venerable 3.5-liter V-6 felt smooth and powerful. Its CVT’s fake shifts added to the driving experience, though gearshift paddles or a Sport mode would have been appreciated.
On twisty bits, the Murano’s heft hindered its overall composure. “It feels a little big and heavy, but it’s fun nonetheless to hustle,” Ron Kiino said, “like a Juke wearing 900 pounds of football padding.” Added Markus: “It seems to have less front-end bite and lateral grip than some other contenders. Stability control is working harder.”
The Murano’s looks are cutting-edge, it drives exceptionally well, and it provides ample room, comfort, and convenience. “It’s a solid, well-built, design-forward all-arounder,” Lieberman said. “There’s no glaring flaw unless you can’t stomach its looks.”
|2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD|
|Price As Tested||$43,955|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||3.5L/260-hp/240-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|Transmission||Continuously variable automatic|
|Length x Width x Height||192.8 x 75.4 x 66.6|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||4,048 lb (58/42%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||7.4 sec|
|Quarter Mile||15.6 sec @ 91.8 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||115 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||27.8 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||21/28/24 mpg|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||160/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 Emissions||0.82 lb/mile|
2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders:
- BMW X6
- Chevrolet Trax
- Fiat 500X
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Honda HR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Renegade
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Mazda CX-3