When the Murano debuted in 2003, hip and trendy crossovers were still a relatively new paradigm. Fast forward to 2012, and numerous other stylish crossovers merit cross-shopping with the Nissan. The Murano, however, is an agreeable choice for buyers who want a sensible mid-size SUV with a dose of style. All the exterior creases and angles make for a pleasing design, even if the masculine styling is starting to look dated after eight years on the market. A wide chrome-and-mesh grille and triangular headlights make a smart impression from the front, with rounded-triangle taillights and a roof spoiler that accentuates the Murano's rear. Passenger and luggage space are surprisingly generous, and thanks to a 2009 redesign, the quality of the interior materials has been improved. The seats are especially plush and comfortable. The dashboard layout is simple in both design and usability. There is plenty of room for carrying bulky items when the rear seats are folded, although the lift-over height is relatively high. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine and the continuously variable transmission provide smooth, powerful acceleration while returning decent fuel economy. Both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations are available. Tech options like touch-screen navigation and a Bose sound system are easy to use; a DVD player with screens mounted in the front-seat headrests also is available. Even though it's one of the oldest vehicles in its segment, the Murano still feels like a fresh, smart crossover.
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