When asked by clients shopping for new or used cars “What cars should I be looking at?” We always rattle off the list in order of preference. Toyota is the first word to come out of our mouths followed by Nissan and Mazda. Skoda, Citroen and Renault all hit the bottom of the list.
Unfortunately, with every manufacturer we recommend there is always a little footnote where the the few random cars made by that manufacturer are mentioned for their inability to meet the general standard set down by that manufacturer. The Murano is the high school drop out of the Nissan family, working a dead end job, three kids to different mothers and putting pay cheques up his nose.
The Murano was a result of a merged design deal between Nissan and Renault at a time when Nissan was dealing with some financial strains which threatened the manufacturer.
The Murano, at the time of release was one of the largest and heaviest vehicles using a new transmission design referred to as the CVT (continuously variable transmission) at the time of release this was a relatively new technology. As with most new technology in the automotive market, teething problems are inevitable and expensive. The CVT in the Murano was very quickly listed as an issue for these cars. The technology has improved over the years with other manufacturers using it, but in our opinion its yet to be perfected. Additionally the Murano is built and marketed as a suburban SUV but the CVT transmission makes it a poor choice of vehicle if your intending to tow. This is somewhat disappointing, as many families buying these vehicles as a family car intend to be using it for, camping, fishing and other such family holiday activities that require it to be used for towing.
Nissan at the time, seemed to only have one engine readily available for the cars they were manufacturing. The result is the V6 engine used is a VQ35DE, a three and a half litre fuel guzzling engine used (with some mild changes) in the Pathfinder, Maxima, Infiniti the 350Z and the V35 Skyline. This engine is also known for excessive oil consumption and some faults with the electric throttle control. A contact from the local Nissan dealership mentioned frequent faults surrounding the seals in the transfer unit failing, resulting in major oil leaks as well as expensive engine issues often requiring the engines cylinder heads to be removed ignorer to rectify.
In recent years Nissan has released a facelift model of the Murano. It went on sale in 2009 and Nissan has led the market to believe that the old issues that taunt the Murano are rectified. However we are skeptical of this as the newer models feature a revised version of the same CVT and the same 3.5Lt engine. At this stage we would have to advise our clients to not take the gamble. In coming years as the vehicles age Nissan may prove us wrong.