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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy All,

Just to add another vehicle to the debate, (MDX vs Murano has been beaten to death) I thought I would mention the 4Runner. But before everyone has a fit, I do understand the vast difference in vehicle type between the truck based Runner and the Murano. But for me, the goal is to find the best new (Japanese) SUV on the market with a target price of ~ $30K US. So based strickly on personal preferences, my choice is down to Murano (SE, FWD, Popular Pkg) and 4Runner (Limited, V6)

I am used to and enjoy driving a truck (Explorer) but have been looking forward to a more performance based SUV (Murano)

After much anticipation, I was really disapointed with the look of the new 4Runner when it first came out. Its design seems dated next to Murano and the cladding is god awful ugly. But at least the Limited has a mono-color look and the boxy Runner has grown on me.

But while wating for the Murano here in Orlando, I stopped off and drove the Limited V8 a few weeks ago. Since the Runner was not a serious contender for me at the time, I only gave it a first over type of inspection. But what I saw was impressive.

The ride was very, very quite and smooth. The leather interior was very nice and the controls were well designed, even the strange rotary looking switch. I like the power rear window, power assisted hatch closing, and fit and finish of the vehicle. It does feel very truck like, but with sedan quality ride. So when the V6 Limited units arrive, I will take a much closer look.

I took my first test drive in the Murano today and I like what I have seen so far. I drove the SE AWD with Popular pkg. I was limited in the high traffic test drive area in terms of top speed and handling options. In D mode, the CVT kept the RPMs in the 2000 - 3000 range. After it got going, the enging pulled the vehicle well. When switched to S mode, the RPMs went to 4000 and stayed there (in my speed limited area). The next time I will do more experimentation with the D/S switch.

I looked at the visors to see if the cheapness factor was there as mentioned by others. They seemed fair in quality but I did not check the clips and I guess that is the issue. As best I could tell, handling was good and turing radius was fair but felt longer than the MDX I drove some time ago.

I thought the view through the rear view mirror looked restrictive, but it could have been the unusual shape of the mirror itself. I notices no issues with the visibility around the D pillar. I like the multi-position sunroof and control layout. I do not care for the shape of the shifter knob. (I know, I am picking a nit) but perhaps I can transplant a knob from the 350Z.

Overall a good first impression

Other Factors:

The Nissan dealership seemed ready to move the units he had on the lot. It being near the end of the month, Im sure he is feeling quota pressure. But I did not get the impression today that people were beating the doors down for the vehicle. I plan to string them out into Jan/Feb to hopefully get some price relief.

In this area, Costco offers a new care (now at $1500 over invoice, but expected to be at invoice soon) discount service. But in Florida, it does not seem to apply to Nissan. So the 4runner may have an edge in price. The V6 is around $1000 cheaper than the V8 engine.

I LOVE the charcoal leather interior of the Murano, wow it is sexy. But I have only seen white, gold and copper exterior colors.

In terms of performance, the edge will go to the Murano. I hope to see a good auto mag performance match-up with the Murano soon, but with the same HP and 1500 pounds lighter, the Murano should blow the doors of the Runner.

I Need to see drive both again and will add more data as I get it..

Take care
 

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Murano vs. 4Runner

No, you're not crazy. I'm in the same boat, comparing Murano to 4Runner. I own a '94 4Runner that has been an exceptional truck. I do a lot of backpacking in summer and cross-country skiing in winter from difficult to reach trail heads. I don't drive off cliffs or through rivers but I need to be able to drive down bad roads; and I mean real bad, steep dirt roads with huge pot holes. The 4Runner has fit the bill perfectly AND it has been exceptionally reliable. I would replace it with another 4Runner if I was single. I drove a 2003 4Runner several weeks ago, and found it to be an excellent rig.
But. My 15 yr. old son is 6'7'', my wife is 5'10", and I am 6'4''. We can't fit in our 4Runner any more. My choices are limited because of how tall we are. I am not going to buy a gas hog, but I do want 4 wheel drive with enough clearance to be able to bounce down a terrible road without worry that I'm going to lose my oil pan on a big rock.
I drove a Highlander and a Pilot. The Pilot seemed to be the one, until I saw a Murano. Then I drove an AWD Murano. Wow! It was far, far superior to the Pilot's ability to hold the road and accelerate.
Does any body out there have any idea how a Murano does in bad road(not off road) conditions?
 

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Well, considering I've taken rental cars offroading, I wouldn't be too worried about it... It's more a case of how well you drive and recognise potential road problems that could become vehicle problems.

If you are just talking bad roads, the Murano should be fine. You can lock it into AWD which will help. If you are talking about making roads, then that's a different story.

How does the ground clearance compare on the 4Runner? If it's about the same, then I wouldn't sweat it.... Might be worth looking to see if someone makes bash guards for the Murano, though...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I got the 4Runner

I was just checking back to see what's new. I took delivery of my 03 4Runner Limited about 3 weeks ago. I got the V6 2wd in Galatic Grey. For options I picked up the moonroof, JBL Sound system upgrade and the XREAS shock system.

Too bad about the height of your son not fitting into the 4Runner. My boy is "only" 6'3" and has plenty of head room in both front and back seats.

I drove both vehicles before making the final decision and found that I liked the ride height and truck-like feel of the Runner when compared to the Murano. Another factor was the CVT and how it felt during my test drives.

The Runner is solid as a rock and I think has about 1.9" more of ground clearence (7" for Murano vs 8.9" for 4Runner). So far, the fit and feel of everthing has been top notch on the Runner. I have a small regret in not getting the V8. But under the hood, the standard mounted engine (non-transversely mounted) allows for lots and lots of room to add on higher performance options later.

I do like both vehicles, but for real off roading, I know I can count on my Runner to take on the rough stuff..

Later
 

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Sounds like you made the right decision!

Glad to meet an SUV owner that actually uses it for what it was intended for!!! :wink:
 
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