Announced: 2011 Nissan Murano

Ever since it’s introduction in 2002 as a 2003 model, Nissan’s Murano has had polarizing looks… you either love it, or hate it.  For 2011, the automaker has given its biggest crossover a makeover of sorts.  While its engine is the same and the underpinnings haven’t been touched, the body and interior have seen a working over, and I like what they’ve done.  Plenty of details and pictures after the jump.

The Nissan Murano has always been arguably less attractive than its stablemate, the Infiniti FX45, but with this slight redesign, I think Nissan has pushed the Murano’s looks a tad higher than before.  Extra sculpting here and there make the Murano look smaller, while its dimensions remain roughly the same.  The whole design is more organic, far less pieced together like the previous generation’s front grille.  Graphite Blue is the only new color for the 2011 Murano, and the LE models get a different wood trim than before.

Inside the new Murano is an interesting story.  Center console controls are cribbed from the Maxima.  Instead of the Maxima’s red gauge lighting, however, the Murano has blue lighting which lends itself to a calmer environment.  As a whole, the new interior is decidedly up-class from its current iteration.  The lack of any manual mode on the transmission is an interesting omission, seeing as how Nissan seems to portray itself as having more fun-to-drive vehicles than its competitors.  Other changes on the inside continue the proliferation of the Bose 9-speaker stereo with iPod and USB connectivity, BlueTooth audio and “Music Box” music storage.

Two new models, the SV FWD and SV AWD show up, spreading Nissan’s “S/SV” trim designations further, as they are currently seen on the Leaf, Maxima and Rogue.  That brings the total number of models up to eight.  I think eight models is about 4 or 5 too high for the Murano, but sales will tell the story, and you can bet that if 2011’s sales dictate fewer models, that Nissan will make it happen for 2012.

Nissan continues to power the Murano with its corporate 3.5-liter V6, dubbed the “VQ” series, as well as its “Xtronic” CVT, as is seen in the Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Rogue, et al.  It’s also continuing the AWD setup for 2011, naturally.  So no matter what trim level of Murano you buy, you’ll be getting their highly regarded V6 for power.

Prices have not been announced for the 2011 Murano yet, but expect to see them here on Road Reality when they’re made known.

by John Suit

Source: Nissan

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