Nissan's recent history is for the most part a success story, and part of that success comes from designing one set of parts into a platform and then stretching that platform's length, width, and strength to do other jobs under other kinds of vehicles. Nissan does this better than most manufacturers, and has done it successfully once again with the 2009 Murano, using basically the same kit of parts that goes under the Altima coupe and sedan for a much larger, heavier, and more complex crossover SUV. The Nissan Murano is named after two different luxury items from two very different parts of the world, Murano art glass from Italy and Murano pearls from Japan, which is a good thing, considering it's sold in more than 130 countries.
The outgoing Murano has been one of the most successful models in Nissan's recent history, with sales rising every year since its introduction in 2003, and a loyalty rate upwards of 30 percent. With sales up more than 70 percent, they've stopped production on the original Murano and given us this brand new second-generation version to consider.
The 2009 Nissan Murano is several steps more radically styled that the original. There are many more curves in the body sheetmetal, a much bigger, shinier grille with a less-busy air intake under it, very large, bold, seven-element headlamps, and a completely new rear-end design, more horizontal than vertical, with dual exhaust ports under the bumper.
Murano models come with 18-inch wheels, with 20-inch wheels standard on the top LE model and optional on the others. Once you get beyond the grille and the headlamps, the only chrome on the curvy new body shell is the door handles. This design strategy lets the body and the paint do all the talking. The new body is almost two counts better in aerodynamic performance than the previous version, improved from 0.37 to 0.39 Cd. The more slippery design should mean better highway mileage and less wind noise.
The flexible, stretchable platform underneath the new Nissan Murano has been reinforced from front to rear, and fitted with several additional bumper beams and crossmembers, for the heavier duty cycles a crossover sport ute encounters, so it's now roughly 150 percent stiffer than the old truck. This is meaningful not only in terms of crash safety and survival, but also in terms of long-term durability and reliability for those buyers who aren't going to be back in the market for six or eight years. Things like doors and hoods and hinges will stay where they are put because the frame is strong to start with.
The redesigned 2009 Murano retails for some $1,500 less than comparably equipped 2007 models.