When Nissan introduced the Murano for 2003, we knew right away that it wasn’t your typical SUV.  It was sleek, it was swift, and it almost immediately began scooting out of showrooms. But time drives on and a second generation of Nissan’s artful crossover has arrived. So let’s find out what’s been done to the new Murano to raise our eyebrows even more.

For starters, the 2009 Murano is based on Nissan’s updated “D” platform, shared with the latest Altima.  A more rigid foundation, indeed.  But despite a claim of “all-new,” there’s little change in size from the previous model.  Overall length has stretched only 1-inch, and the 111.2-inch wheelbase is retained.

While clearly evolutionary in styling, the Murano crossover utility is more striking than ever, wrapped in even tauter bodywork. Lines are more curvaceous and fluid, moving organically from front to back.

The front-end includes an even more Cheshire Cat-like grille and available quad-cylinder High Intensity Discharge headlamp clusters.

And this SUV’s dynamic profile is punctuated by sculpted fender flares.  The redesigned back-end shows off a new rear glass shape, premium LED taillights, and dual chrome exhaust tips.

Four of the five models sport standard 18-inch wheels, while the top-of-the-line LE trim wears over-sized 20 inchers.

Step inside of this attractive package to find a modern and very upscale 5-seater cabin that would be at home in an Infiniti.  Nissan calls it a “Mobile Suite.”

The sweeping instrument panel has stylish metal-look trim, clear deep-set gauges, a centralized controller, and a bevy of standards such as dual-zone automatic climate control.

Seats provide greater support. 8-way power is standard on our mid-level SL with leather and heat optional. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel has controls for cruise and audio.

Order the Premium Package and that audio is a 9-speaker Bose system with six-disc changer and MP3 capability. A rear view camera is part of the package. 

Another high-end extra on our Murano is the new dual-panel moonroof while safety comes from six standard airbags.

The spacious rear seat offers a 60/40 split fold, with power assist for returning them upright.  Behind the second row there’s a handy underfloor flip-up cargo organizer.  Fold the seats down for a good-sized 64.5 cubic feet to work with, and SL trim includes a new power liftgate for easy access.

Push Button Start fires up Nissan’s latest 3.5-liter dual-cam V6, producing 265 horsepower - a gain of 20 - and 248 pound-feet of torque.

Energy channels through a smarter Continuously Variable Transmission, to either the front-wheel drive or our tester’s all-wheel drive system.  AWD unites with the Murano’s newly standard Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control systems to maximize all-weather road prowess.

On the track, our tester sprinted from 0 to 60 in 7.4 seconds, and raced through the quarter-mile in 15.7 seconds at 92 miles-per-hour.  It launched confidently, and felt powerful throughout the run. The CVT is super smooth and an excellent match for this engine’s delivery.

The Murano has a redesigned front-strut, rear multi-link independent suspension with thick stabilizer bars.

So, we were surprised when handling was not as well-balanced as we had expected.  The Murano felt quite large through the turns, and exhibited a good deal of body roll, and a definite under steer was present at all times.  Though the steering wheel felt very light and quick to the touch, response to driver inputs was a tad lethargic.

Stopping power comes from 4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and Brake Assist.  Halts were straight and fade-free, averaging a good 126 feet from 60 to 0.

Government Fuel Economy for the Murano is 18 city/23 highway, decent for a crossover of this size.  We achieved 21 miles-per-gallon on regular-grade gas.

With the Murano’s five models, comes a wide range of pricing.  The base S starts at $27,075, while our mid-level SL stickers for $28,625 before options. AWD on either of these adds $1,600.  The top-drawer LE, which comes in AWD only, rockets to a base price of $36,665.

The second-generation 2009 Nissan Murano is no doubt a sleeker, swifter, more sophisticated crossover than before.  But it is able to deliver these mindful improvements without compromising the essence of the original vehicle.  A smart approach that should keep current fans happy, while making a slew of new ones at the same time.



  • Engine: 3.5-Liter Dual-cam V6
  • Horsepower: 265
  • Torque: 248 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 7.4 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.7 Seconds @ 92 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 126 Feet
  • EPA: 18 MPG City/ 23 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 21 MPG