Recently, Nissan held the introductory press launch of its brand new flagship crossover Murano in Whistler, BC. Known for its world-class ski and golf facilities, this get-away location has everything for year-round activities. I remembering shooting one of my best golf games at the Whistler Golf Club, designed by golf legend, Arnold Palmer; what a great weekend. Lakeside chateaus, fine dining, and of course, home to the ski portion of the 2010 Winter Olympics – yes, this was the perfect venue for the Murano media launch. Media guests stayed at the Nita Lake Lodge, one of the Top 25 Hotels in Canada, nestled on the shores of a glacier-fed lake. With six brand new Murano’s parked front and center of the lodge VIP parking area, hotel guests wondered what was going on. And, as a surprise, Nissan Canada has asked us to bring along our “Need for Speed” mentality for a special media event. Okay, I was intrigued for sure.
The 2015 Nissan Murano Media Event actually began at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, located in downtown Vancouver. After a nice breakfast and meet-and-greet with fellow journalists, we went downstairs to the view the crossover. The Murano has always been on the forefront when it comes to design. Even the first two generations were great looking, contemporary vehicles; but owners were beginning to complain that styling, compared to some competitors, was becoming outdated. Nissan took people’s views seriously and came out with all new, flowing design that looks incredible.
At first glance, you can’t tell that it’s the same vehicle as it looks nothing like its predecessors. At the front, the V-Motion nose, complete with a chrome insert, is what first captures the eyes – LED lights, projector lamps and a great bumper design complete the look. On the sides, the beltline rises up quickly towards the rear and meets the sloping roofline, making for a very sporty look. It’s almost like a wave came along the sides and chiseled out the design. One element I really like is that the C & D pillars are blacked out, making the roof float over the SUV. At the rear, the boomerang design is carried into the taillights. Our Platinum edition came complete with the 20” tire and wheel package. Malcolm Gunn, my co-pilot, and I both agreed that this Nissan Murano was the best so far. Our sentiments were shared by the number of people who walked by and gave a thumbs-up.
If you thought the outside of the new Murano was nice, you’re in for a real treat once you step inside the Enhanced Premium Social Lounge for five. According to Nissan, the company is making the interior more of what you’re used to at home. For example, seat yourself in the NASA inspired Zero-Gravity leather seats and feel your troubles melt away. Now standard on the front and rear outboard positions, the Zero-Gravity seats have been engineered to eliminate the stress points; more on this later.
Malcolm and I were impressed with the fine-touch materials used throughout the vehicle. Another first, Nissan is making navigation standard on all Murano models – thanks, Nissan! The center console houses an 8” touch screen display through which you can control/adjust almost all vehicle, climate, telephone, and infotainment settings. You’d expect this type of luxury in the Infiniti brand and that’s exactly what Nissan reiterates: get a luxurious, elegant Infiniti interior in this Murano.
There was a slight drizzle when Malcolm and I pulled out of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and headed through downtown. Within a short time, we were on our way to Whistler. The luxury qualities of the new Murano become evident in its quiet interior and drive. The Murano utilizes an acoustic laminated windshield, acoustic absorbing roof trim, and plenty of sound-deadening technology in the hood, instrument panel, and floor areas to ensure easy front-to-rear passenger conversations. Travelling at 100 km/h, Malcolm and I discussed our childhoods without being distracted by exterior and engine noise. The drive along the scenic Sea-to-Sky highway becomes just that much better when you’re inside a quiet vehicle. We stopped at Squamish, and while sipping our lattes, wondered whether Whistler would have some snow, as Squamish was unseasonably bare. Being a ski fanatic, I was anxious to check snow conditions so that a ski trip could be planned for the near future. After coffee, we switched seats and I piloted the Murano. As some of you probably know, I’m not a CVT fan and prefer the gear system.
That being said, the Murano’s CVT system has to be one of the best; the transmission effortlessly glides through the appropriate drive ratios to ensure ultra-smooth acceleration and power delivery. The driver can manually shift via the console-mounted shifter, but I would have preferred paddle shifters instead. Power comes from the trusted 3.5-liter DOHC V-6, that puts out 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Handling of the Murano was good, and although it sacrifices some sportiness, passengers will enjoy the extra comfort. The electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion steering allowed us to feel pretty connected to the road, what you’d expect for this crossover. We arrived in Whistler and headed out the “Need for Speed” event. Before ending, I wanted to give kudos to Nissan for the Zero-Gravity seats – they are amazing! Built to eliminate fatigue by providing support from the pelvis to the chest areas, these are the seats you want to have when going on any long drive; I just wish they had built-in massagers.
Nissan is targeting the new Murano at the empty-nesters or a young couple or family. This stylish new crossover is sure to appeal to an audience who wants pizazz, refinement, and reliability. While we only had two days with the new Murano, we also got to have some fun with the new Pathfinder and Juke. Nissan promised us extended test drives in the very near future, and you’ll find those reviews in the upcoming issues. For now, we were thoroughly impressed by the new Murano.
In case you’re wondering what Nissan’s “Need for Speed” activity was all about, well, it was a blast for sure. Nissan Canada had booked media guests to go down the Olympic bobsled run. Our team hit a top-speed of about 145 km/h. What a rush!