You could say Nissan's on a roll. The Japanese based auto maker has been taking the kind of American cued styling challenges of late that have gotten some other auto brands smacked in the exhaust for being to a little too futuristic. If that bothers Nissan, it certainly doesn't show. In fact, the high-styled Murano crossover has been called a benchmark for other contenders -- among them as inspiration for Ford's new Edge. Even Murano's upscale cousin, the Infiniti FX, shows a similar kind of fearless styling.
For 2007, Murano adds a tire pressure monitor and includes available 225-watt, 7-speaker Bose audio, nav system and trip controls in a one-piece "floating" pod design. DVD entertainment and XM or Sirius satellite are options. (Most auto makers offer just one.)
Murano seems to have excelled in the seemingly impossible task of creating space and comfort in a svelt design that handles nimbly on the road -- a vehicle presumably to answer every wish. Its 240-hp 3.5L V6 is the same base engine as is in the 350-Z sports car, although the Xtronic continuously variable transmission is designed to smooth out sporty punch -- unless in the upmodel SE's manual shift mode. (By contrast, the luxe FX has a hunkier 275-hp 3.5L V6, an available 4.5L, 320-hp V8 plus "snow mode" function.)
Available amenities include adjustable pedals to ensure compatibility for height-challenged drivers, a lockable center console, RearView monitor, advanced airbags and leather trim and seating for four or five.
Murano comes in five models, with two- and all-wheel drive variants of the S and SL models and an AWD-only upscale SE. Best mileage is 20/25 (front drive) on premium fuel. A 21.7 gallon fuel tank adds driving range.
As with almost any crossover contender, what one pays depends on how much one wants to play. The base front-drive S version enters the pipeline at $27,750, while adding all-wheel-drive bumps it another $1,600 for starters.