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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
“plenty of power”
“smooth, consistent and very strong”
“above average for its class”
Car and Driver
The 2009 Nissan Murano delivers better performance than it did in its last generation. It’s a sportier vehicle than Ford’s Edge, but not as darty and gutsy as Mazda’s CX-7.
The Murano’s engine is a familiar piece. It’s shared across Nissan’s big-car lineup. Edmunds.com says, “the 3.5-liter V6 provides plenty of power for almost all situations.” Car and Driver says, “The engine makes a subdued growl under hard acceleration, but the noise goes largely AWOL at part-throttle while cruising down the highway.”
CVTs use belts and pulleys to keep the engine operating in its optimum range, but are prone to a “rubberband” feeling and more engine noise. AutoWeek says the Murano’s CVT is a surprise. “Normally we bemoan CVTs, but Nissan's unit impresses with its fluid operation and adaptive shift control that does a good job of simulating stepped gears.” Automobile says, “power delivery is smooth, consistent, and very strong.” MyRide feels, though, that “even so, we longed for more deliberate response when the throttle was pinned to the floor, and would welcome a sport or manual-shift mode.”
Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds for the Murano--“above average for its class.”
Autoblog noted that it was “disappointed with the car's preliminary EPA numbers. Surely more than 18 mpg can be squeezed out of a CVT,” while MyRide observed fuel economy of “about 19 mpg.” The Murano is rated at 18/23 mpg, while Ford’s front-drive Edge gets 16/24 mpg and the Mazda CX-7, 17/23 mpg.
Automobile says the Murano “has decent body control, but it can feel a bit floaty.” But the brakes are “strong” and ride quality is “fine.” AutoWeek says, “Expressway runs are stable and quiet, while in-town motoring is comfortable and well dampened over rough goings,” and praises its braking and steering feel. Cars.com notes an improved ride in the backseat. ConsumerGuide says, “the ride is well controlled and is abrupt only on sharp potholes and badly broken pavement.”
TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven the Murano, and its performance is more than competitive. The Murano responds with free revs and loads of power. The CVT doesn't feel more like a rubber band than a gearbox, though it lacks the paddle shifters and preset gear ratios found on Nissan’s smaller Rogue.
As Car and Driver puts it, “It hardly drives as sportingly as the CX-7, but it feels much lighter on its feet than the Edge.”