The Nissan Murano is a near-luxury mid-size crossover SUV manufactured by Nissan Motors which began retail sales in the 2003 model year, originally as the top-of-the-line SUV, which was larger than the Pathfinder, but the Armada took over from the Murano as the top SUV in the Nissan lineup for 2004. Designed at Nissan Design America in La Jolla, California, it is based on the Nissan FF-L platform used by the Maxima and the third-generation Altima. The Murano is currently slotted between the compact Xterra and mid-size Pathfinder models, since the Pathfinder surpassed the Murano in size for the 2005 model year. Currently, it is the only Nissan crossover SUV sold in the United States, where it became Nissan's best-selling SUV, knocking the Pathfinder off the top spot.
The Murano was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2003. It was also named the best premium midsize SUV by AutoPacific. The vehicle itself is notable for being one of the largest vehicles available with a continuously variable transmission. Most luxuries expected in a car are standard kit in the Murano. The engine, a 3.5L 245-hp V6, comes straight out of the Nissan 350Z and is specially tuned for the Murano. The "All-Mode 4x4 with ESP+" is a form of traction control embedded into the car's onboard computer and is designed to provide 'joy' to drive. The car is available with 4-wheel drive and has 4-wheel independent suspension. A luxury feature of the car is a rear-view camera in addition to a rear-view mirror. A full set of airbags, steel reinforced cabin, and head restraints are safety features designed to protect the interior whilst ESP, ABS, EBD and brake assist are mechanical safety features.