HAS the Murano turned over a new leaf? Since its launch back in 2005, the big Nissan SUV hasn’t felt at home in the UK. While rival manufacturers have increased sales by offering efficient diesels, the Murano has soldiered on with a thirsty 3.5-litre V6 petrol, saddled with an unrefined CVT box. As a result, it’s been hard to like.
But this 187bhp 2.5-litre diesel changes that. Hooked up to a slick six-speed automatic, it’s fast yet economical. And it’s quiet, too. Ignore the quoted 0-62mph time of 10.5 seconds, because with 450Nm of torque there’s plenty of shove for overtaking, while it’s easy to return 35mpg too – some 10mpg up on the petrol version, even if it lags behind the smaller 2.0-litre diesels of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, which return more than 40mpg.
The new six-speed automatic gearbox is a huge improvement as well, offering a fine blend of responsiveness and refinement. What’s more, the whole drivetrain is very relaxing on the motorway.
In fact, relaxing is a good way to describe the rest of the driving experience. Nissan’s ALL MODE 4x4 system gives the flagship SUV solid stability in wet weather, while the ride is smooth, the handling tidy and the steering accurate, if rather numb. Plus, with decent soundproofing, the Murano insulates occupants from the outside world, even if it’s not particularly fun to drive.
Inside and out, Nissan has done a good job updating the Murano’s appearance. It still looks distinctive, but the new grille is far easier on the eye than the previous model’s rather garish affair, while the cabin is classy, with soft leather for the supportive seats.
Priced at £37,795, the Murano is not cheap, but you do get a lot of equipment – an 11-speaker Bose audio system, sat-nav with a seven-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and two parking cameras – one for the side and one for the rear – as standard.
All in all, the Murano may not be challenging for class honours, but it’s a better car than ever before.
* Price: £37,795
* Engine: 2.5-litre turbodiesel, 187bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
* Top speed: 122mph
* 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
* Economy/CO2: 35.3mpg/210g/km
* Equipment: Leather trim, colour screen with sat-nav, parking camera, Bose stereo, Bluetooth, alloy wheels
* On sale: Now