Fun 2 Drive Ratio

It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, and I headed out to test-drive the latest renditions from Asia, Europe and the good old USA. A few days before, I had caught a glimpse of the Nissan Murano on Dale Mabry. I had been anticipating its arrival for months. So, naturally, my first stop was Courtesy Nissan near Raymond James Stadium. I met with Sales Consultant Dennis Norton, who gladly showed me the Murano.

This “urban SUV” immediately captured my attention. It has an intriguing, futuristic appearance that earlier pictures had failed to convey. But this vehicle’s strength is beyond its attractive looks. It was immediately apparent that everything about this SUV was well thought out. From adjustable headlights (you can actually change the lateral projection of the beams) and pedals, to back seats that recline far enough to take a nap, to the cavernous center console that is large enough to hold a laptop. Every moment I spent with the Murano was amazing. It is equipped with a 245hp, 3.5-liter engine that produces 246 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is standard on all models.

This transmission, although not a new concept, is shiftless, so there are never gears to grind, and the engine is always at peak efficiency, saving gasoline and wear. During the test drive, Dennis told me to tap him when I feel a gear shift, but as I barreled down the road, I felt nothing but silky smooth acceleration with a gusty exhaust note. The Murano is one of only two vehicles available with the CVT so far. The other is an Audi sedan. It is obvious that Nissan intended this SUV to be better than its competition in all categories.

It has sexy looks, a well-planned and executed interior, and presents a very nice package. No other SUV in the same size and price range offers a similar combination of beauty and innovation. Priced at $30,000 to $35,000 it seems pricey, but for what you get it is actually a bargain. It is not meant to replace the Pathfinder, despite the price similarity. Rather, it is meant for the uncompromising individual who desires a vehicle that is a cut above the rest in every way. I wondered why the Murano wasn’t badged an Infiniti, which one can easily mistake it for. Then I realized that the Murano also serves as a preview for the Infiniti FX 45, an ultra modern SUV that is about five years ahead of its time. More information about the Murano is available at

Contact Andrew Popoola at