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Photos: 2009 Nissan Murano SL AWD

The 2009 Nissan Murano benefits from trickle down tech options available in Nissan's top models and seems to work best when fully optioned. Regardless of tech options, the Murano is a nimble urban navigator.

CNET Reviews staff

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The 2009 Nissan Murano has received a styling that is evolutionary over the outgoing model. The new Murano features new body lines that are more pronounced and muscular.
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The most obvious change is the new grill, which better integrates the headlamps into a single sculpted chrome element.
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The 2009 Murano comes with an optional all-wheel-drive (standard on LE models) that delivers 100 percent of power to the front under normal conditions, but can redistribute up to half of that power to the rear wheels under slippery conditions.
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The 2009 Murano features an attractive interior to match it's sleek exterior. This model is equipped with the Leather package and the Premium package, which adds a nine speaker and two subwoofer Bose Audio System and seven inch display.
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The old Murano's vertical taillights have been rotated into a horizontal configuration to mirror the headlamps. A power lift gate is available with the optional Technology package (standard on LE models).
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There's plenty of space in the back for hauling groceries. If the packages get too bulky, the second row seats fold flat to expand the cargo area to 64 cubic feet (which is actually less space than the outgoing model.)
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The 2009 Murano's leather wrapped steering wheel has controls for operation of the standard cruise control and audio system.
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Chrome bezels and electroluminescent numbers and markings bring a touch of style to a pretty basic layout of tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. Also of note is a neat center display that shows your average fuel economy and speed. Not visible in this picture is a light that tells you when the AWD system has been activated.
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Looking up you're greeted by the optional dual panel moonroof. The front pane is a standard sliding glass panel moon roof, while the second is fixed and cannot be opened.
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With the addition of the Premium package, the Murano gains a seven inch screen that displays information about fuel economy, climate control, and audio source.
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The default screen shows information about audio source above the climate control settings.
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The Premium package also includes XM satellite radio and 3 months of service.
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Under the Information menu, there is a fuel economy display that shows current and average fuel economy. Selecting the Fuel Economy Record button displays a graph of mpg over the last few trips. In this day of $4/gallon gas, this is a nice feature.
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In another menu, the audio settings can be selected. Basic bass, treble, fade and balance are joined by a speed sensitive volume option that increases the audio volume as your speed increases.
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Behind the center console and beneath a panel, you'll find the auxiliary input for the Bose audio system. They're not easily accessible from the driver's seat and require a 3.5mm jack to RCA Composite adapter for MP3 players.
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Hiding beneath the floating dash are the toggles for all-wheel-drive lock, which bypasses the computer and delivers equal power to all wheels in slick conditions, and the heated front seats.
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The 2009 Murano is powered by the same silky smooth 3.5-liter V-6 that motivates the Altima and Maxima. In this incarnation, it outputs 265 horsepower that's fed through Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
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Thanks to the CVT, the Murano gets a respectable 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway and meets ULEV emissions standards in the state of California.
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This little toggle in the trunk area lets you lower and raise the rear seats with the touch of a button.
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The Bose audio system adds nine speakers and two subwoofers. In the Murano's quiet cabin, the system sounds great across a wide range of music genres and volume levels.
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The continuously variable transmission keeps the engine in the sweet spot for power and economy. The lack of fixed gears means the ride is smooth without jerky shifting.

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