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Nissan Murano Z51 (2009 onwards)

by John Ewing,reviewed June 2012

Murano was Nissan’s pitch to those looking for a premium ‘crossover’ vehicle – the all-wheel-drive, SUV-styled family wagon with pretensions to off road and sporting abilities.
It slotted in between old-fashioned but hard-core off-roader, Patrol, and their soft-roader X-Trail. Originally released in 2005, the second generation Z51 arrived early in 2009.

The new model’s striking looks were a clear evolution of the original model. Improvements continued under the skin with engine and suspension upgrades plus measures to make it smoother and quieter.

There were two specifications, the well equipped ST and the premium variant the Ti. The plethora of standard loot on the Ti included six airbags, antilock brakes brake assist, EBD, stability and traction control, leather trim, sunroof, navigation, climate control, Bose audio system, reversing camera, 18” alloys, power tailgate and steering column, heated power front seats, alarm and rain-sensing wipers.

Murano’s 3.5-litre V6, similar to the sporty 350Z, carries over from the earlier model with upgrades for enhanced performance and refinement. Performance isn’t bad, but over kg of SUV blunts even this sweet-revving six. The Xtronic CVT auto with six pre-set ratios for manual shifting is one of the better transmissions of this style. The Z51 is better than its predecessor but still likes a slurp of premium unleaded.

Murano uses Nissan’s All-Mode 4WD system that drives the front wheels and automatically shunts power to the rears also if slip is detected. It also has a lock mode for 50:50 torque split. There’s no low range. It’s really more of an all-road wagon than off-road warrior.

Road manners are above class average, but understeer prevails and the steering needs more road feel. The interior offers handy space but there’s no seven seat version. Thick ‘A’ pillars that obstruct vision and a foot operated park brake are annoyances. Towing, a popular chore for SUVs, is rated to 1500kg maximum.

We couldn’t dig any real dirt on Murano’s reliability. But check for careful scheduled servicing, especially engine oil and coolant to avoid expensive problems. Also check ‘below the waterline’ for damage due to overly adventurous excursions off-road.

Under the pump

Murano (Z51) will use between 8.6 litres and 14.9 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.

Price range

For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.

Competitors

Lexus RX350 2006 - 2009

Replacement for RX330. 3.5-litre V6 mated to five-speed auto. Very refined. Loaded with equipment. Luxury soft-roader - opulence but not much off-road skill. No seven-seater. Higher price when new means older models closer to Z51 Murano used prices.

Mazda CX9 2009 - 2011

3.7-litre V6 with six-speed auto and all-wheel-drive. Impressive vehicle but a bit thirsty. Seven seats. 2000kg maximum towing. Well finished. More all-roader than off-roader.

Ford SY II Territory 2009 - 2011

Popular and easy to drive. Plenty of torque from 4.0-litre Falcon straight six. Five or seven seats. 2300kg maximum towing mass. AWDs get six-speed auto, RWD with four-speed auto. Fuel economy not a strong point, with RWD slightly better.
Nissan Murano Z51 2009 onwards

Car Details

Vehicle make Nissan
Vehicle model Murano Z51
Year 2009
Current price range $ - $
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.