Realizing that most sport-utes never venture any further off-pavement than that pothole-riddled side road you take to drop the kids off at soccer practice, car manufacturers are now focused on crossover SUVs, which, as you probably know, emphasize a carlike ride, leaving off-road functionality but a vestige. Nissan's crossover entrant is the stylish Murano and it's marketed as an "urban SUV." Buyers seeking something more rugged have their choice of the five-passenger and seven-passenger Xterra.
The Nissan Murano, which gets its name from glass art made on islands near Venice, Italy, boasts a sleek exterior that features wraparound surface construction, a prominent stylized front grille and an upswept greenhouse that helps the Nissan SUV live up to it's stated
The Murano's spacious, cleanly styled interior provides seating for five. Aluminum trim graces the instrument panel, which features a monitor with integrated climate and audio controls. The Nissan Murano shares its platform with the Altima and Maxima sedans and, as such, boasts a four-wheel independent suspension. Handling characteristics are excellent, particularly for a utility vehicle. The Murano's sharp reflexes are complemented by Nissan's award-winning 3.5-liter V6, this time paired with a continuously variable transmissions (CVT). While the CVT has noticeable benefits on fuel economy, its sluggish response in traffic detracts from an otherwise enjoyable driving experience. Even so, the 2006 Nissan Murano has a lot to recommend it for anyone seeking a spacious and stylish transport through the urban maze.