2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD review: It’s new, different and radical

2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD

2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD

Consider: For 2015, Nissan gave Murano a completely new and very radically different shape. Nissan has been on leading edge of crossover design, one of the first makers to create an SUV-type vehicle on a car-based chassis that didn’t look like an SUV. Where the Toyota mimicked the traditional truck-like styling for Toyota Highlander for a vehicle that was really an automobile platform (adopted for that “car-like ride”), Nissan said the heck with that and gave us the 2003 Nissan Murano, all curves and shapes the SUV buyer hadn’t seen before.

And it worked. By the time the second generation Nissan Murano appeared six year later, imitators were becoming common. But the Nissan Murano had moved on, with a sharper prow and a more tapered roof.

2015 Nissan Murano Platinum interior

The interior of the 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum is organic and luxurious. (click to enlarge)

Time marches on, and for 2015, the Nissan Murano has some of the most dramatic styling on any crossover this side of a, well, Infiniti. If you can’t beat big brother, join him.

The Nissan Murano keeps pace with the rest of Nissan lineup with the V-shaped grille, the boomerang headlights (LED optional) and taillights (LED standard), with LED running lights framing the front lamps, and the distinctive floating roof. It looks like a Nissan Z, at least if a Nissan Z was a crossover. And for a crossover, just one pew over from an SUV, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s not just visual aerodynamics, although the shapes do look like something from a designer’s dream doodle book. Nissan claims a 0.31 drag coefficient, which if you’ve been following along, that’s where most cars were a few years ago (and many still are today). For SUV/crossover aerodynamics, it’s in the holy cow bracket. Nissan claims details including lower rocker panels, active grille shutter, fender lip moldings, rear bumper surfacing, rear tire deflectors and integrated rear spoiler helped create a more than 16 percent improvement in overall aerodynamics compared to the its predecessor.

2015 Nissan Murano Platinum cargo area

The 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum’s cargo area has a flat floor when the rear seatbacks are folded. (click to enlarge)

The interior shapes are, like the exterior, organic. They’re grown, not manufactured. The colors in our test 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD are an improbable not-if-you-have-kids cream with dark gray accents along the upper edges. The angels are in the details. Highly styled, the multi-level dash has striated inserts on the dash, doors, center console and armrest. En vogue piano black frames the multi-information screen on the centerstack, eight inch size on our tester.

Under the trick floating—that word again—hood over the instrument panel are widely set classic speedometer and tachometer—not a virtual representation yet—with a seven-inch full color display in between, large enough for crisply lettered multiple data to be shown at the same time. For example, the trip computer can show average speed and gas mileage, plus time and miles driven, all at the same time. There’s no need to scroll through multiple screens.

The multi-information display on the center stack, an eight-inch color touch screen on our test Murano Platinum with navigation, is easy to operate without pulling out the owner’s manual, and to make it easier for the driver, the number of “hard buttons” around the screens perimeter has been reduced. One button retained that we wish every screen had is one for switching between daylight/night display. The Murano’s headlights can be on for rainy bright conditions without dimming the display to where it’s hard to see.

2015 Nissan Murano taillight

The 2015 Nissan Murano taillight has a Nissan Z-like boomarang shape. (click to enlarge)

Simplification does not mean, however, going without apps. Everyone needs apps. So not only can you stream music wirelessly, the Murano can be locked remotely or started (and cooled and heated) using an app on your mobile phone.

Proximity key keyless entry with pushbutton start is standard on all trim levels of the Murano, as is dual-zone temperature control. If you really want to turn your tunes over to the kids—how can they listen to that, right?—higher trim levels have a rear USB port for remote control of the audio system.

For the Platinum trim level, heated front and rear seats are standard, as is that winter delight for the driver, a heated steering wheel (speaking of which, check the organic shape of the wheel).

2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD

The 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD has a standard rear liftgate-top spoiler. (click to enlarge)

You don’t get that on the base trim Murano S which, with front-wheel drive, lists for $29,560. With $885 delivery charge, the bottom line comes to $30,445. It’s available with all-wheel drive, of course, for $31,160. Unlike some makers who save all the good stuff for the top models, the Murano S has an optional navigation system package available for $860, along with remote start at $330, and autodimming rearview mirror at $315. At which point one should consider moving up to a Murano SV or Murano SL, each with increasing standard equipment and price, and in front- and all-wheel drive.