By Hafriz Shah
While the dramatic-looking Infiniti FX will soon render all other SUVs old-fashioned when it’s launched here, let’s first take a look back at Nissan’s previous head-turner – the original Murano.
When it was first introduced, the svelte yet commanding look of the Murano stood in stark contrast next to its rivals’ sober and upright appearances. Being such a revolutionary piece of design, it naturally took a while to set off yet when it did, designers of rival companies were left scrambling to come up with their own copy of it.
Built on Nissan’s ultra-versatile FF-L platform (shared with the first generation of the Teana), it inherited very car-like driving dynamics that, coupled with strong and punchy engines, meant that it appealed to a wide range of prospective buyers, both women and men.
In most regions, only the detuned 3.5-litre V6 from the 350Z was offered but Malaysia, with such a strong parallel import presence, has also had the lower-powered 2.5-litre 4-cylinder variant that was more for the Japanese domestic market. With just 170 bhp and 245 Nm of torque, the lesser variant may be rather slow off the line compared to the smooth yet gutsyV6, but factor in the extra costs of maintenance, fuel economy, and road tax and it becomes the logical choice.
It’s comparatively more affordable to buy too, with early examples going for a little bit over RM120,000. Privately-imported cars typically have spec levels that vary from unit to unit so expect to spend quite some time to find one to suit your needs.
In general, however, Muranos are rather well equipped with leather upholstery, premium sound system, a full set of airbags, 18-inch rims, and many more desirable amenities. However, you should beware of poorly-installed aftermarket parts such as reverse cameras/satellite navigation and xenon-lights though as they may not run well with the car’s electronics.And also note that the maps are often Japanese maps which can’t be changed as the software is only for the domestic market.
On the maintenance front, new owners need not worry of extraordinarily high servicing bills as the engine is also used in the X-Trail, making parts easily attainable at reasonable costs.
The Murano’s interior is well built and should be in near-pristine condition. Visible wear marks may highlight a tough life so tread carefully when choosing.
The Murano’s novelty factor may have rubbed off through the years but its appeal as a well-sorted and practical premium SUV certainly hasn’t. Now that it can be bought for less than what you’d pay for a new X-Trail, it’s almost a no-brainer to opt for one of these instead.
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