Nissan’s popular five-seat Murano wagon is still available in the usual four-door wagon and two-door drop-top CrossCabriolet; an all-new Murano arrives for the 2015 model year.
Both variants use the 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 combined with continuously variable transmissions.
Who would have thought that Nissan would become the everyday leader in advanced safety technology? For 2013, the latest of its “Safety Shield” technologies were added to the top-end Murano, including blind-spot and lane-departure warnings. Also added was “moving-object detection” that, using the various cameras hidden around the car’s body, highlights people, pets or objects moving while the driver is attempting to park. However, the system is exclusively for the hardtop Murano, not the two-door convertible version labeled the CrossCabriolet. This bit of automotive whimsy is decidedly different, but seems ideally suited for beach-loving southern Californians or Floridians who are able to drop the top on their vehicles for much of the year. The CrossCabriolet isn’t cheap, though; at about 43 grand, it costs about $8,000 more than the most expensive Murano wagon. However along with its power-operated soft top, you get standard all-wheel-drive (optional for the wagon), leather-covered interior with wood trim, navigation system, unique 20-inch wheels and other niceties. Both Muranos employ the 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 connected to Nissan’s second-generation continuously variable transmission (CVT) that was designed to be smoother and quicker to respond to driver commands than the original. We’ve tried it and this transmission really works as advertised. The Murano wagon’s available all-wheel-drive system is quick to react in moving the power around when traction is dicey. All models come with climate and cruise control, six-speaker audio systems and assorted power accessories. Moving up the price pyramid adds fog lights, power telescopic steering wheel, leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, four-way power passenger seat and a split-folding 60/40 rear seat. Loaded versions feature power liftgates, heated front seats and outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, 20-inch wheels (18-inchers are standard), premium 11-speaker sound systems, seven-inch information display/rear-view monitor and dual-panel moonroofs with second-row fixed skylights.
Base price (incl. destination): $29,400; $42,900 (CrossCabriolet, 2013)
Type: Four-door wagon, two-door convertible
Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V6 (265)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive (opt. on wagon, std. on convertible)
Transmission: Continuously variable
MPG (city/hwy): 18/23 (FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; rear-seat side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 4,010