Nissan proudly advertises the Murano as the on-road SUV, highlighting the vehicle's carlike refinement, but our 2010 Nissan Murano S, with all-wheel drive and a locking differential, showed us that it has some off-road chops, as well.
With its smooth body lines and an almost space-age shape, the Murano looks nothing like the macho truck-based SUVs. Instead, it lead the way for a whole slew of crossovers, such as the Chevy Traverse and Ford Edge. But it retains SUV dimensions, with seating for five and ample cargo space, along with a high-riding position.
When we got into our test vehicle, we noted standard Nissan elements, such as the keyless entry and start system. But the screen in the middle of the dashboard lacked the interface controls we were used to, and, after firing up the engine, ugly orange lettering came to life on the display showing climate control and audio information.
Clearly, this screen was not an LCD, which meant no navigation system. Checking the car, we saw that Nissan had dropped off a Murano in S trim, the lowest possible, and that there are no tech options available at this trim level. None. Worse yet, the S trim doesn't come with a Bluetooth phone system or even satellite radio, leaving us with an MP3-compatible six-CD changer and an auxiliary input.
The S trim's lack of tech left us with only the driving experience to evaluate, and none of our usual exploration of navigation, phone, and audio systems. … Read more