Nissan Murano (2015) set for New York Motor Show debutTue, 15 Apr 2014
There’s a new, third-generation 2015 Nissan Murano on the way. It makes its debut at the 2014 New York Motor Show, with Nissan UK not ruling out a return for the big SUV.
The Nissan Murano always felt as if it was the right car in the wrong country. Introduced to the UK in 2005, the first-generation Murano had already enjoyed two successful years in the US, so Nissan UK had every reason to believe it would do well over here.
Only it didn’t. The combination of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and a lack of badge appeal meant that the Murano was always going to struggle against the likes of the BMW X5, the Volkswagen Touareg and the Lexus RX350.
The second-generation model of 2008 at least added a 2.5-litre diesel option, but by then, the sector had grown even further and the Nissan badge still failed to set the pulses racing. In 2011, the Nissan Murano was quietly dropped from sale in the UK, by which time some 2,700 cars had found loving homes.
New 2015 Nissan Murano to make its debut in New York
The design, while far from pretty, gets better the more you look at it
To say the 2015 Nissan Murano is the best-looking Murano to date wouldn’t be saying much, but there’s much to admire about the new car. Not least because it has taken many styling cues from the striking Nissan Resonance concept of 2013.
The old Nissan Murano always had the look of a vehicle at odds with the rest of the range, but the 2015 car will slot neatly alongside the new Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail. It’s quite obviously the halo model of Nissan’s SUV range.
Cohesive new look for 2015 Nissan Murano
Hallmarks include the Nissan corporate grille, the boomerang-style headlights and taillights, the sculpted haunches and the D-pillar, designed to give the roof a floating feel.
The overall effect is a design that, while far from pretty, gets better the more you look at it. It’s an altogether more cohesive look than before, with a wider and lower stance. It helps to disguise what remains a very large SUV.
This new look has contributed to a 16% improvement in aerodynamics over the previous-generation Morano, with a 0.31 coefficient of drag comparable to the 0.30 figure of the Nissan 370Z.
Nissan Murano’s 'upscale social lounge interior'
But it’s the interior space where the Nissan Murano is likely to impress the most. Nissan calls it “the upscale social lounge interior”, which - while sounding terribly naff - actually means the passengers are given just as much attention as the driver.
The Nissan Murano features a much-simplified dashboard, with the number of audio and navigation switches reduced by 60%
So, the rear seat occupants can look forward to smartphone compartments, a USB port, a huge amount of legroom and multiple storage compartments. The Murano also promises one of “the largest moon-roofs in the segment”, with a 40% longer sliding length and a 29% larger opening than the second-generation car.
The rear seats are of a three-cushion design - a first for Nissan - while all seats take advantage of Nissan’s Nasa-inspired Zero Gravity technology, maintaining maximum support from the hips to the back.
New, much-simplified dashboard for Murano
As is the current trend, the Nissan Murano also features a much-simplified dashboard, with the number of audio and navigation switches reduced by 60%, from 25 to 10. In a quote that demonstrates common-sense thinking, Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s senior vice-president, chief creative officer, design and brand management, said:
“We’ve learned from personal electronics that consumers aren’t always looking for devices that do more, they just want it done better.
“People rarely read the directions for their smartphone because they know intuitively how to operate them. We believe vehicles should behave the same way.”
Generous standard specification for new Murano
Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission will be fitted as standard, with Nissan claiming a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over the old car
Options include climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, Bose audio system with 11 speakers, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and satellite navigation.
New Murano to be 20% more efficient than before
The 2015 Nissan Murano will be available from launch with a 3.5-litre V6 engine, good for 260hp and 240lb ft of torque. Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission will be fitted as standard, with Nissan claiming a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over the old car.
As before, the Nissan Murano will be available in both two- and four-wheel-drive guise, with a host of safety features fitted as standard.
Four grades of Murano will be available on the Mississippi-built Murano, which goes on sale later this year. It will be unveiled at the 2014 New York Motor Show this week.
A diesel option would be required in the UK, but with the Qashqai selling well and the new X-Trail positioned as a seven-seat crossover, Nissan UK could be tempted to bring the larger, five-seat sibling to these shores. We'll bring you more news when we get it.
On Bing: see pictures of the Nissan Murano
Find out how much a used Nissan Murano costs on Auto Trader
Read a Nissan review on MSN Cars
By Andrew Brady, Motoring Research