Nissan Muruno - premium quality but thirsty

Iain Dooley checks out Nissan's premium-level SUV, the well-equipped Murano.Engines - This year has just seen the introduction of a diesel version, but you'll be seeing nothing but the petrol 3.

Iain Dooley checks out Nissan's premium-level SUV, the well-equipped Murano.

Engines - This year has just seen the introduction of a diesel version, but you'll be seeing nothing but the petrol 3.5-litre V6 on the forecourts for some time. It's a solid, refined performer but just make sure you budget for its predictable thirst.


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Exterior - This isn't your usual Nissan - even by the firm's current bold standards. Originally pitched at the SUV-heavy American market, that's the reason for the flashy grille and streamlined stance. It won't worry a Discovery but it does outshine a Lexus.

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Interior - Forget any thoughts of a basic, Micra-like interior. The Murano's high-class cabin has more in common with something expensive and German. The plush, leather-trimmed ambience and ample space puts it in the same league as a conventional executive saloon.

Driving - Despite its size, the Murano is an agile performer. The beefy V6 engine is part of that, but the car's ride and handling package also ensures that you don't feel like a rowing boat in a storm when tackling corners.

Ownership - The obvious issue will be fuel economy; a big petrol-powered SUV is never going to rival a Prius. That said, driven gently and the Murano won't be like running a Bentley. As for the rest of the car, being a Nissan should mean trouble-free ownership thanks to a long tradition of building in reliability and durability.

What to look for - With many sport utility vehicless used as urban runabouts, make sure there's evidence of clean, fresh oil and coolant. Brakes that feel like they've not been abused and an auto gearbox that doesn't hesitate should inspire confidence. Damage to the cabin trim should have you looking elsewhere, a tow bar should have you asking questions and a full service history is essential.

Model history - 2005, Nissan launches its premium-grade sports utility vehicle. Sole engine option was 3.5-litre petrol motor connected to an auto gearbox. 2010 sees the launch of diesel variant. Highlights include generous levels of standard kit and all-wheel drive for added driveability.

Reasons to buy - Good value second time around, pleasing to the eye, refined, well equipped, rarity value.

Reasons to beware - Thirsty petrol model, badge snobs will prefer a European alternative, diesel has only just been launched.

Pick of the range - Murano V6 CVT.

What to pay - 2005 05 �10,025; 2006 06 �11,800; 2007 07 �13,950; 2008 08 �17,050; 2009 09 �22,125. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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