TEST DRIVE: Nissan's Murano Is The Reason Why SUVs Aren't Selling

Nissan Murano

Photo: Travis Okulski / Business Insider

While large SUVs are cars of the past, crossovers seem to be everywhere you look on the road.The crossover has filled a number of niches. It is simultaneously replacing the SUV, wagon, and the minivan as the go-to class of car for families and people who need extra space.

One such crossover you’ll see around is the Nissan Murano. The Murano has been a hit since it was first introduced in 2002 for the 2003 model year.

Since then, the market for the Murano has grown extensively and the redesigned car can be found on nearly every corner. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I recently spent a few days with a 2012 Murano LE Platinum.

At $44,440, my tester had bells and whistles like 20-inch wheels, navigation system, and rear seat entertainment for the little ones.

Nissan Murano

Photo: Travis Okulski / Business Insider

On the outside, the Murano is one car that definitely looks better leaving than coming. In my opinion, the front is a bit too busy with a chrome grill and projector beam headlights that have a jeweled appearance. There is just too much bling for my tastes, like a person who went a bit too overboard with the piercings.Around back, the Murano looks quite tasteful. The curves of the tailgate and the clear lenses on the lights actually look pretty nice.

There are no complaints at all on the interior. Materials are all pleasing to the touch and it’s just a nice place to be.

When I first drove the car, I wasn’t expecting it to drive anything like a Porsche 911. Unsurprisingly, I was very right. But that isn’t the intent. Instead, the ride was smooth and pleasant, kind of like what I imagine driving a very comfortable couch is like.

Nissan Murano

Photo: Travis Okulski / Business Insider

You sit up high, but it rides like a comfortable sedan. It made me realise why new car buyers love crossovers so much.The Murano’s 265 horsepower V6 was definitely adequate, but the downside is the transmission. Instead of a traditional automatic, is uses a CVT, which stands for continuously variable transmission. There are no set gears. Instead the car revs up and down in what feels like a single gear, much like a snowmobile.

Simply put, I’m not a fan. It’s good for fuel mileage, but that seems to be about it.

As a family hauler, the Murano will do a great job. It’s nice to be in for a long drive, the panoramic roof lets in a ton of light, and everything about the interior is top notch. If you need a car to take people and things places, the Murano, gearbox aside, is a fine choice.

How about something a lot faster >

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