The Road Ahead : June July 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 56 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2012 MURANO WAS NISSAN'S pitch to those looking for a premium 'crossover' vehicle -- the all-wheel-drive, SUV- styled family wagon with pretensions to off road and sporting abilities. It slotted in between old-fashioned but hard-core off-roader, Patrol, and their soft-roader X-Trail. Originally released in 2005, the second generation Z51 arrived early in 2009. The new model's striking looks were a clear evolution of the original model. Improvements continued under the skin with engine and suspension upgrades, plus measures to make it smoother and quieter. There were two specifications, the well equipped ST and the premium variant, the Ti. The plethora of standard loot on the Ti included six airbags, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability and traction control, leather trim, sunroof, navigation, climate control, Bose audio system, reversing camera, 18" alloys, powered tailgate and steering column, heated power front seats, alarm and rain- sensing wipers. Murano's 3.5-litre V6, similar to the sporty 350Z, carries over from the earlier model with upgrades for enhanced performance and refinement. Performance isn't bad, but more than 1800 kg of SUV blunts even this sweet- revving six. The Xtronic CVT auto, with six pre-set ratios for manual shifting, is one of the better transmissions of this style. The Z51 is better than its predecessor, but still likes a slurp of premium unleaded. Murano uses Nissan's All-Mode 4WD system that drives the front wheels and automatically shunts power to the rears also if slip is detected. It also has a lock mode for 50:50 torque split. There's no low range. It's really more of an all-road wagon, than off-road warrior. Road manners are above class average, but understeer prevails and the steering needs more road feel. The interior offers handy space, but there's no seven seat version. Thick 'A' pillars that obstruct vision and a foot operated park brake are annoyances. Towing, a popular chore for SUVs, is rated to 1500 kg maximum. We couldn't dig any real dirt on Murano's reliability. But check for careful scheduled servicing, especially engine oil and coolant to avoid expensive problems. Also check 'below the waterline' for damage due to overly adventurous excursions off-road. UNDER THE PUMP Murano (Z51) will use between 8.6 litres and 14.9 litres of fuel every 100 km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE From $34,300 to $54,000, depending on year and model. NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). REVIEW JOHN EWING MOTORING USED CAR REVIEW nissan murano (z51), 2009 onwards COMPETITIORS LEXUS RX350, 2006-2009 Replacement for RX330. 3.5-litre V6 mated to five-speed auto. Very refined. Loaded with equipment. Luxury soft-roader. Opulence, but not much off-road skill. No seven-seater. Higher price when new means older models closer to Z51 Murano used prices. MAZDA CX-9, 2009-2011 3.7-litre V6 with six-speed auto and all-wheel-drive. Impressive vehicle, but a bit thirsty. Seven seats. 2000 kg maximum towing. Well finished. More all-roader than off-roader. FORD SY II TERRITORY, 2009-2011 Popular and easy to drive. Plenty of torque from 4.0-litre Falcon straight-six. Five or seven seats. 2300 kg maximum towing mass. AWDs get six-speed auto, RWD with four-speed auto. Fuel economy not a strong point, with RWD slightly better.
April May 2012
August 1st 2012