New York Auto Show: 2015 Nissan Murano

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Nissan-Murano-2What is it?

The Nissan Murano enters its third generation as a radically restyled midsize SUV. Like the 2003 original, the Murano cuts an original shape that doesn’t resemble a thing on the road. While it looks big, the Murano is a traditional two-row SUV and smaller than the three-row Pathfinder. When we hear the phrase “boomerang lights” during a press conference, you know there’s something wild going on.

Why should you care?

SUVs, crossovers — nearly all of them look the same. But the Murano’s design is like ice cubes down the back. A V-shaped closed front grille and lots of obsessive detailing around the carved headlamps and open air intakes start the chills. The roof line gently curves and appears to “float” thanks to a blacked-out C-pillar behind the rear doors. Then, there’s still excitement out back with taillamps that connect the side’s arcing, incongruous lines that start with the headlamps and sweep all over the body. Inside, the show car had the whitest interior we’ve ever seen, including some kind of white grained trim that looks like illegal ivory.

Nissan has gone off the deep end here, just as it has with the Juke, Murano CrossCabriolet and Infiniti FX, and the effect is weirdly satisfying and stimulating. You normally don’t feel those things in this car segment. Technology is proudly on display, too, with Nissan’s AroundView camera system that can show a bird’s eye view of the car when parking, a tablet-like 8-inch touchscreen with apps, and forward collision alerts that Nissan claims can detect a pending collision two cars ahead.

Nissan-Murano-frontWhat’s not to like?

The 3.5-liter V6 doesn’t change a bit, and it really should have considering the 260-hp rating is not really on par with what Nissan itself is doing with smaller, direct-injection engines. As such, fuel economy (an EPA-estimated 18/24 for front-wheel drive 2014 Muranos) won’t change too much. And of course, the display model was loaded with everything, so that pretty bronze paint and two-tone alloy wheels will be extra.

When is it on sale?

Fall 2014.

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.