Since the introduction of the third-generation design for the last model year, the Nissan Murano has experienced record sales – up 30 percent through the first 11 months of calendar year 2015 – thanks to its concept car-like styling, premium interior and advanced, purposeful technology. For 2016, Murano remains virtually unchanged.
Like the original Murano, the latest version is a highly sculptural, highly emotional design – one that stands out in a field known more for uniformity and utility-based styling.
Working to capture the breathtaking spirit and artistry of the first Murano, the designers began by concentrating on the vehicle’s sculptural qualities. Breaking the usual order of sketching, computer renderings and then clay modeling, the Murano team started working with small three-dimensional clay forms – literally exploring organic shapes and volumes with mini desktop sculptures. The process helped narrow down a new Nissan design direction focused on lightness and efficiency.
A Lightness of Form
One of the central constructs for both the exterior and interior of this Murano was to “elevate your experience,” which is counterintuitive to the heaviness and chunkiness of the traditional sport utility vehicle. This helped inspire the push for leading-edge aerodynamic and three key elements of Nissan’s signature design language – the V-Motion front end, boomerang lighting and floating roofline.”
In keeping with the idea of futuristic travel, the designers sought to create a gravity-like power to pull viewers into the design visually, while defying gravity with a lightness of form through the use of glass and flowing lines. The prominent glass areas of the first-generation Murano were retained and expanded with the latest design, including the use of its jet-inspired roof and D-pillars that appear disconnected from the roof that help visually lighten the cabin. The result is a unique floating feeling that can be recognized from very far away.
Another key element is the continued refinement of the boomerang-style headlights and taillights, which were originally introduced on the Nissan 370Z. For use with Murano, distinctive signature lights were added, accentuating the boomerang, shapes, and were slimmed and pushed to extremes to look like they flow with the wind. The LED Signature lights, with their LED Daytime Running Light accents, are instantly recognizable at night. While becoming a Murano signature, they were an engineering challenge, requiring extensive tuning to refine the shape and light intensity.
The available LED headlights provide excellent efficiency and durability (versus halogen and xenon lights). The design of the standard LED taillights had to be balanced with the required crossover utility, with the final shape seamlessly integrated into the rear glass, conveying a high-tech quality.
Murano’s sculptural bodysides also created an engineering challenge, especially in the strong curvature of the rear fender stampings. While similar in dimensions to previous generation Muranos, the design is slightly lower, wider and longer, enhancing the aerodynamics while not compromising the desired crossover height and stance. The lower rocker panels offer a balance of aerodynamics and ruggedness.
Other critical details, such as the active grille shutter, fender lip moldings, rear bumper surfacing, rear tire deflectors and integrated rear spoiler help achieve a more than 16 percent improvement in overall aerodynamics (versus the previous generation design). The designers and engineers invested three times the normal wind tunnel testing of the Murano to get to its 0.31 coefficient of drag, on par with many sports cars.
A Premium Way to Travel
The exterior theme of futuristic travel and refined intensity continue throughout the Murano interior, starting the moment the doors are opened with its available advanced lighting system, open and comfortable feeling and use of premium materials.
Murano’s upscale “social lounge” interior creates an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. The instrument panel height is lower than previous Muranos. Centered between the outer wings is a large information and control center with an available 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control. Keeping with the idea of “beauty with simplicity,” the number of audio and navigation switches was reduced by 60 percent – from 25 to 10 – for a more user-friendly experience.
Adding to the driver’s sense of connectedness with security is Nissan’s Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display with a 7.0-inch high-resolution color display. Available audio systems include an advanced Bose® design with 11 speakers (including dual subwoofers), HD Radio® and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately). Also offered is NissanConnectSM with Navigation.
Nissan’s advanced Zero Gravity seats are standard for front and rear outboard occupants. The rear seats are a three-cushion design, a first for a Nissan vehicle. Climate-controlled seats (heating and cooling) are available in front, along with available Quick Comfort™ heated rear seats.
Other interior features include standard Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control and Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, along with available leather-appointed seating, heated steering wheel, steering wheel position memory, driver’s seat and outside mirror memory, power folding rear seats and Remote Engine Start* with Intelligent Climate Control.
Overhead, the available Power Panoramic Moonroof enhances the open, airy feeling. The moonroof has a 40 percent longer sliding length and 29 percent larger opening than the previous generation design.
Conversation between front and rear occupants is encouraged by Murano’s “communication alley” created by the wide, low center console. The console also includes a compartment for rear occupants’ smartphones. There is also an available USB port for the rear seats that allows for control of music and display, along with ample storage areas and compartments throughout the interior.
Murano’s cargo area provides ample storage space with the seats up. The rear cargo area, for example, accommodates four large suitcases, while the rear seats fold flat for greater cargo convenience. With the easy rear seat release and available power rear seat return, Murano converts from people hauler to cargo ship or back within seconds. All configurations can be done from the back, with no walking to each door.
Standard 3.5-liter V6 and an Extra Set of Eyes
The 2016 Murano is available with a standard 3.5-liter DOHC V6 rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Also standard is an advanced Xtronic transmission tuned for quick response and smoothness. The Xtronic holds the engine at the ideal rpm for the conditions at hand, offering responsive power for passing when needed and quiet efficient running at cruising speeds or around town, with the standard D-Step Logic adding the feel of a traditional stepped automatic.
Fuel economy has increased by approximately 20 percent (versus the previous generation Murano), due to the approximate 145-pound overall weight reduction, enhanced aerodynamics and engine/transmission efficiencies.
Like the previous generation, the 2016 Murano offers responsive handling and a comfortable ride through use of a 4-wheel independent suspension featuring a front strut/rear multi-link design. Also standard are 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Sporty 18-inch or 20-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels are also available. All Murano grades are offered in front-wheel drive or intuitive all-wheel drive.
The 2016 Murano also offers a suite of advanced features designed to help look out for the driver and passengers. Murano incorporates up to four cameras and three radar sensors to provide input to a range of available technologies, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), and Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC).
When backing out of a parking space, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system can help warn the driver about vehicles he or she may not see approaching from either side.
Parking a Murano is made easier with the available Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), which is designed to help reduce the normal complexity of parallel parking by giving an all-around view of the surrounding area from front, rear and side cameras. The system is not just for parallel parking, however, helping view the vehicle’s placement in pull-in spots, garages and against curbs.
The Moving Object Detection system helps the driver to detect moving objects such as vehicles, shopping carts or other large objects around the vehicle via an on-screen notification and warning chime.
Murano SL and Platinum models also offer standard Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system**, which helps alert the driver when drowsy or inattentive driving is detected. Studies have shown that drowsy driving is involved in as much as 21 percent of fatal car accidents (Automobile Association of America Study, Nov. 2014). The Driver Attention Alert system provides an audible and visual warning if the system judges that the driver may not be attentive (using analysis of steering inputs to detect changes in the driving behavior).
Every Murano includes as standard the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front-seat mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with a rollover sensor and a driver supplemental knee air bag.
A Range of Models, Assembled in America
The 2016 Nissan Murano is offered in four grade levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum. Each is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
From the well-equipped Murano S, the Murano SV grade adds navigation, 8-way driver/4-way front passenger power seats, 8.0-inch color monitor with multi-touch control, remote engine start, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, roof rails and more.
The Murano SL models adds leather-appointed seating, Bose® audio with 11 speakers including two subwoofers, Blind Spot Warning, Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, driver’s seat memory and much more.
The Platinum grade includes 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights, climate controlled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel with power tilt, telescoping and memory, and power-folding 2nd row seats.
The 2016 Murano is assembled in Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant, which is the most diverse facility by number of models in Nissan’s North American network. The Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant is the global source for Murano production, creating export opportunities to more than 100 markets. Murano is assembled on the same line as Xterra, Frontier, Titan and Armada.
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