Best of both worlds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am


The Nissan Murano was first launched in North America as a 'crossover', combining the size and ruggedness of a sports utility vehicle and the manoeuvrability and comfort of a saloon car. First launched in Hong Kong in October 2008, the Murano has 'established a strong following' here, according to Nissan dealer Honest Motors. The latest versions comprise the Murano Green (HK$369,800) on 18-inch wheels, and the Murano 3.5 (HK$568,800) on 20-inch wheels that are 'quicker and more economical' and 'more refined to drive', it adds.

The Japanese marque has given the latest Murano a more understated grille and bumper design 'in keeping with European tastes' , wider fog lamp mountings to create extra 'road presence', and new rear triangular LED combination lights like those on the popular Nissan Qashqai. The Murano has a plusher cabin, a boot that extends from 402 litres to 838 litres and entertainment electronics such as an 800MB Music Box, alongside iPod/iPhone, USB and Aux-in connections for MP3 players.

The models also have new, more efficient engines that comply with Euro 5 emissions standards. The 2.5-litre Murano Green is designated an Environmentally Friendly Private car in Hong Kong and the only SUV of such status in town to be eligible for a 45 per cent reduction in first registration tax, the dealer says. Its 170-horsepower QR25DE engine is linked to an Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission and has proven economical in Japanese tests, where it travelled for 11.5km on a litre of petrol.

Such a performance is the equivalent fuel cost of 'only HK$1.56/km' based on the fuel cost of HK$17.15 per litre, Honest says.

The Murano 3.5's VQ series engine has Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control, belts 260 horsepower at 6,000rpm and is reputed to be a smooth drive, thanks to an Xtronic CVT M-6, with a six-speed manual shift mode and an Adaptive Shift Control function that adjusts the timing of gear shifts to suit the driver's personal driving style. In Japanese tests, the Murano 3.5 engine ran for 9.3km per litre of petrol, 'challenging other SUV and sedans with similar engine displacement', Honest says.

Both cars have top safety ratings in the United States and are sold with a five-year warranty in Hong Kong.