2015 Nissan Murano: Escorts the Yugo to Pebble and Back
August 20, 2015
"Want to go to Pebble Beach in the Yugo?" asked fellow Edmunds editor Josh Sadlier. I'd never been to the Concours d'Elegance and figured it would be pretty fun to go in a car that was on the opposite end of the spectrum of the cars we were going to see. Plus, the Yugo was going to be entered in the 2015 Concours d'Lemons, which promised to have its own unique gems (more on that in a later post).
"Count me in!" I said.
Despite the Yugo making it from Idaho to California, we still wanted to be on the safe side and chose our long-term 2015 Nissan Murano as a chase car.
The Murano's 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space fit weekend bags for three people, a folding picnic chair, two large banners, a small box of postcards and a small folding table. We had to fold down the rear seats to make everything fit, but that was as easy as pulling two levers in the trunk area.
The plan was for one person to drive the Yugo, while two others took the Murano. This way only one person would have to suffer from the Yugo's lack of air-conditioning, as temperatures in California's north central valley went as high as 111 degrees.
I was lucky enough to ride in the Murano (thanks for taking one for the team, Josh) and its A/C and cooled seats kept us quite comfortable through the entire trip.
The Yugo's fuel gauge was also broken and we didn't want to drive it more than about 150 miles. We fueled up the Murano at the same time, which was why we have four tanks on record for the trip.
The best tank averaged 26.7 mpg, which set an all-time record for the car. The worst tank, at 23.3 mpg, occurred on the return trip. The average for the entire trip was 24.6 mpg. This is still short of the EPA estimated 28 mpg for the highway and slightly better than the 24 mpg for combined driving.
Driving the Murano and the Yugo back-to-back was an interesting experience. The Murano was quiet, easy to drive and slightly boring. I'm not a fan of continuously variable transmissions, but the CVTs that Nissan pairs with its V6s are the only ones I wouldn't mind owning.
Contrast that experience with the Yugo's, which requires all your senses to drive, is fun to toss around, and requires you to be aware of anything that might go wrong. It's a far more involving driving experience, but not one that I would want to make into an entire trip. In this case, boring and comfortable beats exciting, noisy and hot.
Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 12,065 miles