There was nowhere better to test out the all new 2015 Nissan Murano than in northern California where the Nissan folks introduced a sexy redesigned model that includes not only a new interior, but an overall sleeker styling and better gas mileage too.
It's a five-passenger crossover as in generations before, but it's also a bit more luxurious than in days gone by with plenty of room since the 2015 is also a bit bigger than in 2014 as well. This new Murano is an easy ride too -- compare it to the competition; the Ford Edge, Lexus Rx 350, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Volkswagen Touareg.
The 2015 Nissan Murano comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum and from there you can choose either the front or all-wheel drive. On the S you get 18-inch alloy wheels, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and cruise control along with techno goodies like Bluetooth phone and audio connect, seven-inch touchscreen, rearview camera and six speakers with a CD player and satellite radio.
For upgrades to the S you can opt for a Navigation package with a larger touchscreen along with a navigation system and more audio input options.
On the SV model you get the Navigation package goodies along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, roof rails, fog lights, eight-way power-adjustable driver seat and four-way power front passenger seat as well as an add-on package with a panoramic sunroof and nine speakers.
For the SL there is a Bose audio system along with added comforts like heated outside mirrors and front seats, driver memory settings, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alerts, a rearview and 360-degree parking camera system as well as leather upholstery and ambient interior lighting.
If you go for the top of the trim level the Murano Platinum comes with everything offered on the three lower trims as well as the additional power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated and air-conditioned front seats and even heated rear seats too.
On the two higher end Murano trims there is also the option to add a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control and safety features like a forward collision warning and crash mitigation system.
Under the hood the 2015 Nissan Murano 3.5-liter V6 engine cranks out 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.
Safety is standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, front side, side curtain and driver knee airbags as well as an active front head restraint and the rearview camera. On the higher trims there are additional goodies that help eliminate blind spots and let you know when and where traffic or danger might be lurking. There is also a moving object feature that allows for the driver to be warned when people or objects are too near.
Indeed, the Nissan has upped its game in a lot of ways, which was all too clear when I took the turns and curves on the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California. A windswept day proved no match for the comfort inside the Murano either and take note of the new "Zero Gravity" seats that fit to the position of the body with a strong support for the lower and middle part of the back and even better, these seats are for all passengers not just the driver.
There is also a Nissan touchscreen interface called Nissan Connect with a navigation system and it works with a variety of apps too.
Plenty of room with 39.6 cubic feet behind the second row or if you lower the seats you get a good 69.9 cubic feet for hauling, which compares squarely with the competition.
It's a luxurious ride starting around $29,000, the turns are clean and smooth with the feel that this one can take the road easy enough with no fuss. Way back in 2003 when the Nissan Murano was introduced this vehicle was the first crossover SUV with room for five passengers, but still offering a sporty ride versus the hardcore ride of a truck, this same rules still applies today.