Visit a Nissan showroom and the name Murano graces a distinctively styled cross-over vehicle that is anything but breakable.
Like all Nissan off-roaders, it is as tough as old boots, despite its trendy good looks.
Murano is named after the elegantly sculpted glass art that comes from Murano Island and brings a fresh approach to the medium SUV segment.
This all-wheel drive cross-over vehicle features stand-out styling, seating for five and excellent performance and handling dynamics.
Murano is built on Nissans FF-L platform and features an exceptionally long wheelbase with its large 18-inch alloy wheels pushed out to the corners to give the vehicle a very large footprint with short front and rear overhangs.
It is powered by a DOHC 3.5-litre V6 engine generating 172kW of power at 6000rpm and 318Nm of torque at 3600rpm.
It is mated to a six-speed Xtronic continuously variable transmission with M-Mode, which provides smooth and responsive acceleration and good fuel economy.
Drive is fed electronically through an all-wheel drive set-up based on Nissans All-Mode 4x4 system fitted to the X-Trail and Pathfinder.
In most conditions the system runs in front-wheel drive, switching automatically to all-wheel drive when there is a loss of traction.
It can be locked into 4WD for extra traction via a console switch.
Its underpinnings include a fully independent multi-link suspension and speed-sensitive power steering and it sits on six-spoke 18x7.5JJ alloy wheels shod with 225/65R18 tyres.
Safety gear includes driver and front passenger airbags, curtain airbags and front side-impact airbags, active front head rests, ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist.
Murano is available in ST and Ti variants and priced from $51,990.
ST includes Xenon headlamps with washers, dual exhaust, integrated rear spoiler, six-stacker CD, steering wheel audio controls, climate control air conditioning, cruise control, leather steering wheel and gear shift, power windows and a cargo blind.
Ti adds leather seats, heated front seats, electric sunroof, rear parking sensors and roof rails.
Murano does not pretend to be a rugged off-roader or serious four-wheel driver but it is more than capable of tackling some pretty rugged terrain.
It handles well, the ride is nice and comfortable, the cabin is quiet and the brakes are right on the ball.
The CVT stepless transmission offers an infinite number of gear ratios and it also has M Mode, a sequential manual override operated by a central gear selector should the driver want to manually play with the six speeds on offer.
Inside, Murano has reclining rear seats with a 60-40 split and the rear seatbacks can be lowered flat from the luggage area via a single lever.
Inside, storage includes deep, flip-out door pockets and a double-deck lockable centre console that will house a laptop computer.
There is underfloor storage in the cargo area but only a space-saver spare wheel.
Access to the cargo area is via a lightweight tailgate made from advanced composite plastics with steel reinforcement, making it easy to open.