2015 Nissan Murano: Transmission Deserves Praise
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on September 1, 2015
The seats in our 2015 Nissan Murano are phenomenal. This really can't be understated.
Like Mark experienced awhile ago, I contended with a minor medical malady recently, one that left behind a tender incision on my lower back, held together by a bunch of stitches and carefully considered back movement. I was thankful I had the Murano for several days as the wound healed. I could always find a comfortable position. There's this sensation of being reposed slightly aloft, perhaps the "NASA-inspired" zero-gravity effect that Nissan took pains to tout in its Murano marketing.
Whatever it is, it works.
But you've already heard from others about the seats. I'm just joining the chorus. What I'm actually here to praise is the Murano's continuously variable transmission, that scourge of powertrain technology that is the bane of anyone with a driving pulse.
The Murano's CVT is excellent.
Nissan calls its CVT technology "Xtronic" and says the Xtronic control unit can determine optimal power delivery by processing more than 1,000 different shift patterns based on throttle position and vehicle speed. It also accounts for other conditions, including gradient load or high-G cornering (the latter scenario aided by a shift logic that holds rpm for swifter corner exits).
I haven't thrown the Murano into corners at high speed, so maybe the high-G shift logic works, maybe it doesn't. But I can say that the Xtronic's high-stress urban traffic shift pattern, such as it is, might make this my favorite transmission in our fleet. When this assembly of cable-and-pulleys is spun up and humming, it makes seamless, short, and fairly quiet work of gaps in traffic.
From 20 to 70 mph, the Murano slingshots with zero hesitation. You find you need to suppress the urge to be that guy and start overtaking everything in sight. More practically, the 260-hp V6/CVT combination just makes it easy to keep pace with traffic with pleasant precision. You can be that good traffic citizen you wish everyone else would be by not opening unreasonable gaps due to a lazy or indecisive transmission. You can always maintain a safe following distance, anticipate closing speeds, and discourage that driver in the next lane who's been eyeballing the narrow space between your bumper and the car ahead.
Even wooding it from a standstill, this CVT acts fast and does a good job getting the hefty Murano up to speed. It doesn't sound delightful doing it, but it's not offensive either.
We all pretty much liked the V6/CVT in our former long-term Quest, finding that CVTs tend to work best with robust engine power upstream (contrasted with our generally unflattering feeling about our former four cylinder-powered long-term Rogue). The Murano has more of that Quest flavor. I'll be driving it more often, back injury or not.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 13,133 miles.