2015 Nissan Murano: Active But Lazy Cruise Control
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on November 17, 2015
Every year, Edmunds editors attend a driving school to refresh our reflexes and keep our insurance guys happy. It's a fun day out of the office, but requires that we drive to a racetrack in a desert about an hour-and-a-half north of our offices. I opted to take our 2015 Nissan Murano for the round-trip.
What better than a cushy crossover loaded with effort-eradicating electronics to cover the distance?
With lane-departure aids and active cruise control, which regulate your lane position and the distance between you and a leading car, the amount of driver attention required to keep the car on the road can be irresponsibly small. Even as these systems improve with developing technology, I like to maintain a level of vigilance, even if just hovering a foot over a pedal in case the system behaves unexpectedly.
While in active cruise control mode, when a lead vehicle leaves the lane, your car will accelerate to the maximum set speed. When this occurs in the Murano, it's at a painfully lethargic pace. If the Murano didn't have 260 horsepower at its disposal, I might attribute this response to a power deficit. Instead, I'm guessing it's tuned for fuel economy.
As speed increases, the Murano's CVT is able to gradually decrease the transmission gear size or ratio to keep engine speed low. With cruise control calling the shots, it feels like you're accelerating uphill, in 6th gear. And if you're someone who likes to keep the flow of traffic moving at a diplomatic pace when the road slug lets you by, your haste of action is critical.
My idea of setting the cruise control to an aggressively high limit of 90 mph (see photo) had no effect on the Murano's sense of urgency to close the gap from 55 mph. Having to press the accelerator once in a while is really not a big deal, but it illustrates the complexity of tuning an autonomous function just right.
Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor