2009 Nissan Murano Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
FAST FACTS
  • Revised 3.5-liter V-6 engine

  • Second-generation Xtronic CVT transmission

  • Front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD)

  • Offered in five well-equipped models

  • Safety features include six standard air bags

  • All Nissan Murano models meet ULEV emission standards

  • Available January 2008

Introduction

Launched as a 2004 model, the first-generation Nissan Murano arrived at dealerships in 2003: a 5-passenger car-based crossover SUV. It offered a blend of style, luxury, and sporty road-based driving dynamics not found in the Nissan Pathfinder or Nissan Xterra, the two other small SUVs sharing the same showroom floor. Consumers warmed to the Murano and it quickly became a best seller in its segment. For 2009, Nissan launches an all-new Murano on an updated platform with a revised engine and transmission. According to Nissan, the new Murano continues to combine modern design, dynamic performance, business-class interior and overall refinement.

Model LineupFive models comprise the 2009 Nissan Murano lineup: S 2WD, SL 2WD, S AWD, SL AWD, and LE AWD. All Murano models feature the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine and Xtronic CVT transmission. The Nissan Murano S models are equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels; halogen headlamps with LED taillights; 6-way manual driver's seat and a 4-way manual passenger's seat. Power windows, power door locks, and remote keyless entry are also standard. Nissan Murano SL models add rear privacy glass; front fog lamps; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; leather-wrapped steering wheel; 8-way power driver's seat; and 60/40 fold-flat rear seat back with power return. All top-of-the-line Nissan Murano LE models feature standard AWD; 20-inch wheels; rain-sensing wipers; HID headlamps; and an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system with XM satellite radio and iPod connector.

The Nissan Murano S models may be upgraded with the Convenience package including privacy glass, roof rails, tonneau cover, and anti-theft alarm. The Premium package for Nissan Murano SL models includes a Bose premium audio system, XM satellite radio, RearView monitor, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, and more. The Leather package, available on the SL models, adds leather-appointed seating surfaces; heated front seats with driver-side power lumbar support; and a 4-way power passenger seat. The Technology package, also for SL models, adds a power rear liftgate; Intelligent Key with push button ignition; auto on/off bi-functional HID headlamps; rain-sensing front wipers; heated outside mirrors; and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Other available packages on the SL and LE models include the Moonroof package with a large power sliding glass moonroof and second-row skylight; the Navigation package with a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive; and the Nissan DVD Mobile Entertainment System with a 9-inch roof-mounted LCD screen.

Hardware

The all-new 2009 Nissan Murano is powered by a revised version of Nissan's award-winning VQ-series 24-valve, 3.5-liter powerplant. The engine is rated at 265 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. The Murano has always offered a CVT (continuously variable transmission), and the new model is no exception. This second-generation Xtronic CVT is equipped with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) for sporty response and smoothness. It features an advanced, sport-tuned controller with adaptive logic that adjusts the transmission for performance or comfort driving conditions automatically. Front-wheel drive is the standard driveline, with an advanced AWD with yaw moment control optional on S and SL models (AWD is standard on the LE model). The AWD system works in conjunction with the electronic stability control, yaw sensors, wheel slip sensors, and steering angle sensors to adjust to road conditions in less than one-tenth of a second.

The 2009 Murano rides on Nissan's "D" platform (shared with the Nissan Altima). It was specially designed to provide increased stiffness for better suspension control, and to reduce the levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) within the passenger cabin. The suspension is fully independent, with an extensive use of aluminum components to reduce sprung mass (improving ride and handling). The Murano's shock absorbers feature a new dual flow path design for improved responsiveness and reduced ride harshness, according to Nissan. The steering has also been updated with a new twin-orifice speed-sensitive power steering system that provides a direct steering feel and increased driver confidence under different driving conditions, Nissan says. Four-wheel disc brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), and an electronic Traction Control System (TCS) are standard features on all Murano models for 2009.

Safety

Every 2009 Nissan Murano features six standard air bags, including driver and front passenger dual-stage front and side-impact supplemental air bags. These are designed to work with the three-point front seat belts with standard pre-tensioners. In addition, a roof-mounted curtain side-impact/rollover supplemental air bag is designed to protect all outboard passengers in both rows of seating. Front seats include active head restraints engineered to protect occupants from whiplash-type injuries. Anti-lock brakes and a tire-pressure-monitoring system are also standard on the 2009 Murano.

Technology

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the 2009 Murano is Nissan's unique Xtronic CVT with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). Compared to a standard automatic transmission with a predetermined fixed number of gears and ratios, a CVT offers a nearly seamless number of possible gear ratios, which according to Nissan allows the engine to run more efficiently and offers more power under varied driving conditions. CVT transmissions also eliminate much of the "hunting" found with traditional transmissions, Nissan says, as they operate through acceleration and braking cycles. Nissan has been using CVT transmissions in production models since 1992. The company's latest design is found in the Xtronic CVT. It is designed to quickly bring the engine up to an efficient speed under acceleration, giving the driver better response to pedal inputs. Unlike a standard CVT, which abruptly raises engine speeds before leveling off, Xtronic CVT raises the engine speed naturally with vehicle acceleration to enhance drivability.

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