The all-new 2003 Nissan Murano, with its dramatic exterior and interior styling and advanced drivetrain -- including the first North American standard application of Nissan's Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) -- went on sale in December 2002 as a 2003 model.
Developed, designed and engineered specifically for the North American market, Murano was conceived as an exciting alternative to the growing number of look-alike crossover SUVs coming to market. Key differentiators include Murano's sculpted exterior and interior styling, progressive acceleration and handling, high perceived safety and security, comfort that pampers the driver and passengers and advanced technology features that are easy to use.
"As Nissan's first entry into the crossover SUV segment, our objective was to develop a vehicle that truly stands out in the class in terms of styling, performance, comfort, convenience and technology - offering unmatched levels of both fun and functionality," said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division.
The Nissan Murano is named after the elegantly sculpted glass art that comes from the islands near Venice. "Murano glass is considered a leader in both cutting edge design and glass making technologies," said Kirrane. "In many ways, the Nissan Murano mirrors this spirit of innovation in areas such as its styling, Xtronic CVT and unique storage solutions."
Sculpted Exterior Design
The new Nissan Murano's unique, modern design is made possible, in part, by the use of Nissan's new FF-L (front engine, front-drive) platform, which it shares elements with the award-winning 2002 Altima. The FF-L platform pushes the wheels out to the corners, allowing a long wheelbase and wide stance within a manageable overall length. Along with the platform's inherent handling and performance advantages, it allows greater packaging and styling flexibility.
The exterior, guided by a "sculpture in motion" theme, offers a new wraparound surface construction, an architectural front grille and a sporty upswept shaped D-pillar that blends with the rounded rear cargo door to project a very three-dimensional feel. It features "SUV strength" below the beltline and sport sedan-like openness above.
The lightweight rear cargo door, constructed from advanced composite plastics reinforced by steel, is not only easy to open and close but further enhances the Nissan Murano's sculpted appearance. Advanced, vertical stack headlights are offered with available xenon bulbs. Standard 18-inch wheels and tires contribute to the contemporary, high quality exterior appearance.
Aerodynamic body enhancements include use of an under engine body cover, front and rear tire deflectors and rear spoiler.
Murano is offered in a choice of eight dynamic exterior colors: Deep Bordeaux, Sunlit Copper, Luminous Gold, Glacier Pearl, Sheer Silver, Super Black, Polished Pewter, and Midnight Blue.
An Inviting, Highly Functional Interior
As a reflection of the active lifestyles of the target Nissan Murano buyers, the interior has been designed to provide an abundance of storage and cargo capacity, "first class seating" for two couples (but can comfortably fit five passengers), and ample, flexible luggage space.
The interior, highly integrated with the exterior styling, reflects Murano's clean, dynamic overall design. The seats are specially designed to provide ample roominess and comfort. The driver's seat offers a wide range of adjustability (including a standard 8-way seat adjuster), along with adjustable throttle and brake pedals and a tilt steering wheel.
The split fold-down rear seat includes a reclining feature and a remote flip-down function, so the seats can be released from the rear cargo area. Other interior amenities include standard dual zone climate controls and rear air conditioning vents located on the pillars.
The instrument panel includes aluminum trim, an available 7-speaker Bose audio system and a standard information monitor, with HVAC, audio, trip control and navigation system (optional) controls integrated into its one-piece ?floating? design.
The combination of long wheelbase, wide stance and compact rear multi-link suspension design helps create a rear cargo area that offers exceptional room and utility. The Nissan Murano's highly functional storage systems include a two-tiered lockable center console storage box with room to hold a laptop computer or purse and door pockets with flip-out function. Additional storage areas include a tray and two bins under the cargo floor and spaces in the center console for cell phones, sunglasses, coins, cups and bottles.
The Murano comes with many standard safety features such as dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors, front seat side-impact supplemental air bags and front and rear seat curtain side-impact supplemental air bags. Front and rear crumple zones help dissipate the crash energy away from the passenger compartment. Also standard are seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, LATCH child seat anchors and tether system and front seat active head restraints.
The Murano interior is offered in a selection of three colors, Cabernet, Charcoal and Cafe Latte, and in cloth or with leather-appointed seats.
The 2003 Nissan Murano comes in AWD for enhanced all-weather performance and is also available in front-wheel drive. All models come equipped with a standard 245-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine, derived from the award-winning engine used in the 2002 Altima and Maxima sedans.
The Nissan Murano also advances the technology boundaries in the crossover SUV class with the first North American application of Nissan's Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Unlike conventional stepped gear automatics, the new Xtronic CVT operates as essentially "one gear" through use of a belt and two pulleys.
By infinitely varying the working diameters of the two pulleys, the transmission eliminates the "steps" between gears, resulting in a smoother, more efficient operation by keeping the engine in its optimum power range under a variety of driving and load conditions. This benefit is especially apparent in long uphill drives where the traditional hunting for the proper gear is virtually eliminated.
Other available performance features include Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which helps improve vehicle stability by controlling brake pressure and engine torque automatically in understeer, oversteer or slippery road surface conditions, Traction Control System (TCS) and a tire pressure monitor system (included in the Dynamic Control Package).
Responsive handling and a comfortable ride are provided by the Nissan Murano's standard 4-wheel independent suspension, which includes an advanced multi-link rear suspension, cradle-type front subframe and high-stiffness stabilizer bars. The braking system includes 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).
A Choice of Models and Packages
The 2003 Nissan Murano is available in four well-equipped models and several equipment packages. Every Murano comes fully equipped with the 245-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, Xtronic CVT, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, EBD and BA, 4-wheel independent suspension, power rack-and-pinion steering and a standard 21.7 gallon fuel tank for an exceptional driving range between refueling. Also standard are 18-inch alloy wheels, 8-way adjustable power driver's seat, reclining rear seat backs, dual zone automatic temperature control, AM/FM/CD audio system, power windows with auto up/down feature on front windows, keyless remote entry system, large center console and much more.
The Murano SE AWD and SE 2WD models adds a sport-tuned suspension with firmer front/rear springs and struts and shock absorbers, unique 6-spoke sporty alloy wheels, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with manual headlamp levelizer and dark silver lower bumpers.
Optional equipment packages include a SL Premium Package with roof rails, adjustable pedals and Bose audio system, cargo cover and cargo net; SL Leather Package offering leather-appointed seats and simulated leather door inserts, HID headlights with manual levelizer, driver's seat memory system (seat, adjustable pedals and outside mirrors), 4-way adjustable power passenger's seat; SE Popular Package which includes leather-appointed seats, driver's seat memory system (seat, adjustable pedals and outside mirrors), 4-way adjustable power passenger's seat, sunroof and the contents from the SL Premium Package; Cold Package with heated front seats and outside mirrors; and Dynamic Control Package which includes Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control system and tire pressure monitor system. Other options include sunroof (SL), chrome wheels (SL, late availability) and navigation system.