serious offroading is probably not a good idea in the Murano, especially when compared to the 4 runner. I think the idea of offroading in the Murano might pertain to driving over a curb and parking on a parking lot island at Fry's electronics beacuse there are no other spaces open (obviously I am speaking from experience..lol). But as far as offroading I saw a car and driver tv episode on the Murano where they did some light offroading and I don't recall exactly what they said but they didn't give it very high marks in the dirt. They did love iton the streets though..if this helps ya
The Murano is not an offroad vehicle. It does not have the ground clearance for it, nor does it have dedicated low range gearing. It is important to remember that the Murano is a crossover, not a full out sport utility vehicle. As such, think of it as an all weather Altima/Maxima wagon. Ok that sounds bad, but in reality thats what all crossovers are - the modern "station wagon" versions of popular sedans.
I tend to agree with Ed and Eric on this. The MO was not intended to play mountain goat or for Baja racing. Besides, I could not see throwing that much money into something that looks and rides that good just to take it to the woods and booger it up.
To me the attraction of the AWD is its ability to perform in nasty weather where you need to be sure-footed in snow/sleet conditions and possibly need to take to the shoulder to get around tangles of sheetmetal where some noobs in their urban assault vehicles tried to drive on ice as if it were dry pavement.
I won't repeat what others have said here... they've said it better than I could But I will say that the Murano is too classy to get all muddy and nicked up by off-roading. Mine has road salt all over it right now and it looks bad enough... I can't keep it clean! And I've stopped trying until the winter is over. Pfeh.
(will never understand why people spend $60k to take a Toureg off road)
I have done some VERY MILD offroading in mine. I'm talking about dirt roads with occasional <8" holes, and a bit of grassy hill. The kind of stuff you don't need AWD for. I was very careful not to bump the undercarraige. And absolutely NO MUD!
Remember it is an URBAN SUV. And that's what most people actually need. My son has had a Jeep Wrangler for 4 years and he has had it off road a total of three times (two of those were really great fun at Cape Hatteras), but off road capability is not necessary for most of us. If off-road is important to you, you may need a different truck.
Well let's get the confusion cleared straight away. The Murano is a Nissan Altima based crossover (see: car-based SUV) meant to be driven on the street. The designers and engineers behind the Murano did not by any means design the Murano to do even mild off roading, but rather to be a sporty car-based SUV which gives the feel, power and economy of a car with the higher seating position, better leg room, cargo space and AWD of an SUV. If you are even tempted in the least bit or have lined up numerous off road activities for your next vehicle, opt out of buying the Murano and into a Pathfinder or something similar. Even a Grand Cherokee (despite the fact that it lacks on-road manners) would be a better suit for you than the Murano.