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2006 Nissan Murano Test Drive Review

Picture of 2006 Nissan Murano

The Nissan Murano provides a refined 5-passenger cabin, standard V6 power, and impressive road manners.

7.8 /10
Overall Score

The Nissan Murano is a comfortable, versatile crossover designed for everyday driving. While other SUVs try to cram in as many seats as possible, the Murano focuses on providing plenty of cabin space for just five occupants. The Murano has standard V6 power, plenty of high-tech features, and luxury-car ride quality. If you don’t need to haul around the entire soccer team, check out the Nissan Murano.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

The Murano stands out with a futuristic design for the grille and headlights. For 2006, Nissan has added LED turn signals and tail lamps to the exterior. It has also made some very modest changes to the lower front fascia. Inside, the Murano’s styling is not as bold, but it's just as contemporary. The materials and fit-and-finish are above what's expected from a non-luxury brand.

Trims for the Murano are S, SL, and SE. The base S trim comes very well-equipped and provides 18-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, and power one-touch up/down power windows. The SL provides fog lights, and added brushed aluminum accent panels on the bumpers. Inside, the SL adds steering-wheel audio controls and a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The SE has a further accented look, including unique alloy wheels and special lower bumper designs.

Performance

8/ 10

The Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. It routes 245 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels (FWD) or available all-wheel drive (AWD). This output is managed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is a unique variation on the automatic transmission and lacks conventional “gears.” Instead, it’s always searching for the most efficient ratio combination, and that detracts from performance. Luckily, the V6 engine offers plenty of punch, and acceleration is still strong.

The Murano has a comfortable ride, and the wide stance of the vehicle allows it to corner confidently. The SE trim has a sport-tuned suspension. Technically, it improves cornering, but the harsh ride weighs out the upside in performance. In all, the standard V6 engine and wide stance ensure the Murano drives and handles more like a sport sedan than an SUV.

Form and Function

7/ 10

The Murano provides a total of 81.6 cubic feet of cargo space when the 60/40 split-fold backseat is folded down. With the rear seats up, the Murano has 32.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The rear seats themselves are clever in that they can recline. This complements the ample head- and legroom provided in the second row, making the Murano an ideal road trip car, even with adults in the backseat.

In fact, every seat in the Murano is comfortable, especially the front bucket seats. The doors and center console provide helpful cubbies for all your gear.

Tech Level

8/ 10

For 2006, the Murano receives a standard color touchscreen in the center console. This previously optional feature opens up all sorts of options, including the new-for-2006 backup camera. It also allows for the operation of the base stereo, which is an AM/FM unit with a CD player. The Murano is also available with an upgraded stereo with a subwoofer, as well as satellite radio and a navigation system. Buyers can also select the available backseat entertainment setup, which features a 7-inch screen that drops down from the ceiling.

Safety

8/ 10

The Murano provides dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags. The Murano also features a rollover sensor and active head restraints. Other safety features include 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, brake assist, and brake force distribution.

For 2006, a backup camera is available on the Murano. It is an option for the S trim but comes standard on the SL and SE. Other optional safety features include traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The Murano also performed well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) front- and side-impact tests, scoring five stars in each. It managed four stars in the NHTSA rollover test.

Cost-Effectiveness

7/ 10

The more fuel-efficient version of the Murano is the FWD variant. It returns 18 mpg city, 23 highway, 20 combined. Selecting AWD has a minimal penalty to fuel economy, returning 17 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined.

The 2006 Nissan Murano starts at $27,150 for a FWD S trim. Adding AWD brings the price to $28,750. An SL trim starts at $28,650, and the SE starts at $29,600. A range-topping AWD SE trim starts at $31,200. Given its niche placement, it’s hard to judge the value of the Murano. It offers things that other SUVs don’t and lacks some features of those vehicles as well. For what it is, the Murano offers incredible comfort and driving manners and provides an upscale experience.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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2006 Nissan Murano Top Comparisons

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Nissan Murano Questions

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