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I just discovered the Murano 2 days ago and purchased it tonight. My wife and I decided about 4 weeks ago on a Honda Pilot and I thought we'd wait until January. A few days ago I decided to stop by the Nissan dealership and check out the Murano. Absolutely no comparison. The Pilot is a great vehicle, but I want something that has tight handling. The MDX is too expensive so we didn't consider that. I had really liked the Pilot for the flat folding seats and the 91 cubic feet of cargo space. The Murano offers 81 cubic feet of cargo space and flat folding seats as well. The Pilot and the Murano only differed by $1800 but the Murano feels more luxurious and I really like the 18" wheels. I realize the plain paper wrapping of Hondas has been working for them, but I wanted something that stands out and is different than the typical boxy SUV.
 

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FYI regarding Escape:

I had test driven the Vue, Escape, Tribute, Pilot and Murano before deciding on the latter. Initially I was considering just the first 3 because of size and pricing. The Vue's interior quality of materials was below average in my opinion. It also handle the worst of the 3. Next I drove an Escape and felt is was adequate but nothing special. Then I drove the Tribute. World of difference in handling. Don't let the Ford salesperson fool you into thinking they're the same vehicle. The suspensions are completely different and the Tribute handles very tight. The Tribute was my favorite of the small SUVs.
 
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