The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
When the Nissan Murano was first introduced to South Africa in 2004, it was the first SUV to put its emphasis on the S - ie 'Sports' - part of the designation with distinctly coupé-like styling and surprising performance, even burdened as it was with a decidedly unsporty CVT transmission.
Now Nissan has revised its distinctive styling to make it even sportier, with a new grille made up of chunky chromed sections, a new, deeper bumper with a huge lower air-intake (that Nissan claims is aerodynamically 'cleaner' than the old one) and fashionable LED tail lights.
The updated Murano runs on more modern 18”, titanium-finish rims, and the cabin has had a style makeover to go with the latest in-car technology.
Product manager Nancy Reddy commented: “It's a more futuristic and more cohesive shape, while the cabin has more high-tech infotainment and luxury features as standard.”
MORE FLASH, SAME DASH
There's a new double-panel moon-roof with power retractable sun shades and tinted glass for UV protection, and a tilting front panel to let in fresh air.
The leather seats have new design patterns, while the centre console is now colour-coded, with a more luxurious finish. The instrumentation now has special white backlighting (Nissan calls it 'Fine Vision') that's designed to reduce driver fatigue on long drives and an 'intelligent' key means you can walk up to the car, get in and start it without taking the key out of your pocket.
Rear and side-view parking cameras are standard, as are power-operated seats, windows and mirrors, with the latter also heated to ensure that they are quickly cleared of view-obstructing frost and condensation even on the chilliest of mornings.
The tailgate is now also power-operated, and can be operated using buttons on the key, the dashboard or the tailgate itself.
Heatable front seats augment the dual-zone automatic climate control on cold mornings, and the rear seat-backs fold completely flat (power-operated, yet!) to extend the cargo area.
The new infotainment centre (one could hardly call it anything less) has a 40GB hard disk drive satnav system and a 9.3GB hard disk drive music server - all controlled via a touchscreen display, with Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, and DVD playback functionality - fed through an 11-speaker Bose sound system.
WHY NOT A 3.7?
Under the bonnet there's the same 191kW/336Nm, 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine which was originally borrowed the 350Z sports coupé - which begs the question: How come Nissan hasn't taken the opportunity to simplify its supply lines by giving the Murano the current 370Z engine?
The continuously variable transmission has been revised with more advanced shift control logic, while retaining the six-step (and we use that care carefully) 'manual' gearshift mode. The rest of the drive train is as before, with an 'intelligent' all-wheel drive system incorporating vehicle dynamic control and active brake limited slip.
The car-style, independent-all-round underpinnings have new, better-insulated upper shock-absorber mounts for an even smoother ride.
The revised-for-2012 Murano retails for R554 925, an increase of less than two percent on the outgoing model, including a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a five-year or 90 000km service plan.