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I've read a lot of reviews of the MO, and most speak of their preference for the ride characteristics of the Murano SL, instead of the SE, siting the harsh ride of the SE. For those out there that have experienced both, especially those who own SE's, please describe your RIDE! Thanks!
 

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Tested both. Loved SE handling, however my wife preferred SL ride quality. You will definitely feel every road joint in SE. For some it is OK. I would say you need to test them both on various road surfaces and decide for yourself. I am still undecided. I kind of miss the handling of SE.
 

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Could one add larger sway bars, and/or strut brace to a SL to improve it's handling without taking away from it's nice ride?
 

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Kris is dead nuts on. Drive both and judge for yourself.

Dmako, In theory yes although I don't know where you would put the strut braces. Sway bars don't make as big a difference on ride comfort as the shocks and springs. Really if you want the softest ride and best performance on all conditions and loads, you need an active suspension system. Some of the aftermarket setups are adjustable so you can tune based on your scenario. It's really a matter of personal preference.

I like stiff suspensions. In my 83 Dodge 4WD PU I can drive over a penny and call it heads or tails. My SE MO is way softer than that and softer than my '97 Jeep Cherokee, but the stiffest is by far the 350Z which is way stiffer than the 280Zs. Sway performance is led by the 350, then the 280s then the MO then the Jeep and the PU is dead last. I did drive an SL and all I noticed was sway. But I didn't drive it very long. For long trips though, I'd say my fathers Buick roadmaster is by far the best choice. It's like riding on a cloud. It has the dynaglide or whatever it's called active suspension. But it sways pretty badly. The active suspension has limits.
 

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I decided to buy the SE.I did test drive a SL for 24 hours and a couple of factors made up my mind.I deffintely love the handling cornering and stabuility of the SE and i don't feel its too roady a feel
Its tighter than the SL,and responds more to road conditions and bumps but i don't think its "harsh" as I have heard some say.
I also prefer the 6 spoke alloys,I saw a blue SE slowly rolling to a stop light one afternoon and i was sold on the look of the alloys.
I have yet to zip thru a corner at any speed where i heard the slightest squeal or where i didnt feel totally solid and in control.

Pewter/latte/awd/se 05/03 build
tire pressure 32psi
 

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moderne,

congratulations! In retrospect I think I would go for SE as well. Too late now. I love SL anyway!:)
 

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I wanted an SL, but got the SE instead

The dealer couldn't find an SL with the color combo and options I wanted and the closest was an SE identically equipped.

Initially I wanted the SL because of the softer ride. After driving the SE, I thought I could tolerate the ride just fine. But I found out that the tires were inflated to 48 PSI!!! I lowered them to 35 PSI and found that the ride was pretty pleasant. It's still a little harsher than the SL, but not as bad as I first feared. (I know that 33 PSi is what the manufacturer recommends, but I went with 35 PSI because I can'ts top cornering with the MO!!!) :D

Bob K.

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2003 Murano SE AWD, Glacier Pearl/Cafe Latte, all options except chrome wheels and tow hitch
 

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I took both

to the only place around here where they have a concrete road with expansion joints. This is a common road in the NE, but not down here.
And the roads are so good down here, I literally could not tell the difference on a "bumpy" road.
I had to drive back and forth a couple of times to find the "worst" speed (About 48MPH it turned out).

The car was HORRID on expansion strips. It set up an oscillation and the bounced all over the road.

The suspension has little compliance. And yes, you can have compliance and handle well.
So the only thing the car can do is bounce in the air.

And that was the SL!
The SE was worse.

Neither is a beauty queen under those conditions.

I didn't really care, since I won't be driving on those kind of roads, but at least I had discerned a diffeerence.
I would not buy an SE to drive on those roads.
But I'm not sure I would buy an SL either!
There are other SUVs that drive much better on poor roads but they are seriously ugly. They also do not have the power of a Murano. Tough call maybe. If I had to traverse the old concrete/expansion roads, I might seriously consider something besides an SUV.
I don't like cars that rattle my teeth, and I have a built in rejection for Ugly cars.

I also looked at test reports (NOT driving impressions) and noticed that in C&D the SL achieved a steady state cornering force of .81
Now that is not good cornering, guys, in the overall scheme of things!
But it's great for an SUV!
And with these very mundane tires, it is almost unbelieveable.
And that was an SL, too.
It is my considered opinion that the difference in handling in these two vehilcles will always be determined by the drivers, not the vehicle.

So to be perfectly frank, it was more or less an economic decision for me.
I saw nothing about an SE that I wouuld pay for.
I even prefer a 5 spoke wheel with 5 lug wheels, although that was a nit.
In point of fact I would have bought either wheel.

It was all so unimportant that if they had had an SE that had an option or color I wanted, I would have bought that.
If they didn't have an SL I would have bought an SE.
If I went out to buy an SE and found an SL that was right, I would buy that.
Oh, that's right.......I did.

It's a personal decision. Just thought I would share with you the length I went to, to discover SOME difference in "handling" between them.

:1:

Homer
 

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Hey Kris,I dont think u can go wrong this car is just a great ride regardless
The prevailing wisdom has been in articles and posts I have read that the SL is a smoother ride,so for me it was a combination of esthetics and sport handling.Another factor for me was haveing my last lease a lexus Rx300 i think maybe i had my fill of smooth for a while lol.
Enjoy the ride!

Pewter/latte/awd se
 

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Hi moderne,

i have put more than 6k miles on my SL now. I am pretty happy. Very good cruiser - drove down to Orlando and up north to Indiana. Easy drive. No problems at highway speeds, easy in cities and unbelievable smooth in mountains. The CVT does wonders.

Enjoy your Murano!:29:
 

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I went from a 97 Maxima which was modified with progressive springs and adjustable struts, sway and strut bars all around, so going to an SE Murano was like going from a car with no suspension to a cloud cruiser. I thought for an SUV the Murano is a bit firm, but its still very comfortable, and unless you are hitting expansion joints all day, I don't see why you would choose the SL over the SE unless you like the 5-spoke wheels better.

From what I have read in all the auto reviews, it seems there is little difference between the ride in the SL vs SE.
 

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also the ride seems harsher in the back then compared to the front driver and front passenger seats..
anyone else feel the difference?
 

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I'll have to ask some of the folk I drive to lunch from Work.. They're a lot more likely to make the front passenger to rear comparison than I am... It would take a mighty big crowbar to pry me out of the driver seat if my MO was in MOtion.. :D
 

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I have read on threads here and on freshalloy.com that some dealers unfortunately neglected to deflate tire pressure from the shipping and transport inflation of as much as 55psi down to correct pressure of 33psi which certainly could account for some of the "harse" ride experienced by potential buyers of either the SE or the SL. Tire pressure coupled with road condition and personal preference really are determining factors.
I also read articles and reviews stateing the SL and the SE were very similar in feel.But the fact remains the suspension is definitely tuned differently,and i was interested in getting as close to a sports car performance as i could while maintaining the utility and cargo space i require in a vehicle.I think the AWD SE Murano fits that bill .

Pewter/Latte/AWD/SE 05/03 build /32psi

:2:
 

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Re: I took both

hfelknor said:
to the only place around here where they have a concrete road with expansion joints. This is a common road in the NE, but not down here.
And the roads are so good down here, I literally could not tell the difference on a "bumpy" road.
I had to drive back and forth a couple of times to find the "worst" speed (About 48MPH it turned out).

The car was HORRID on expansion strips. It set up an oscillation and the bounced all over the road.

The suspension has little compliance. And yes, you can have compliance and handle well.
So the only thing the car can do is bounce in the air.

And that was the SL!
The SE was worse.

Same with the Z BTW, just not 48mph, forget the worst speed.

The problem is that every single fixed suspension system will naturally oscillate at some frequency of bumps at some bump height at some speed. The trick is shifting something to get it out of the region you normally drive...which is also different depending on the person. In the Z forums, there were lots of complaints about bouncing and porpoising on concrete expansion joint roads.
 

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Every system, be it electrical, be mechanical has a natural or resonance frequency. The same applies to suspension. It means that when you drive at a certain speed on certain roads you excite this resonant frequency. The trick is to pass this speed/frequency quickly. This is a well-known phenomena and there is nothing unusual about it.

Solution – do not drive with that critical speed.
:5:
 

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Right. Do not drive at that speed.

But DO test a car at that speed.


Homer
 

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What for? It you did it with a trubine ...no I will not even think what would happen!
 

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Yep, your both dead nuts on Kris and Homer.

BLUF: Drive it and see what you think for yourself.

I will say though, there is plenty of aftermarket gear for the Z. Haven't seen any for the MO. So, that has to be part of the equation too. Make sure you test drive both the SL and the SE and decide for yourself before you buy.

On one hand I can see where Nissan missed the mark on both the MO and the Z, on the other hand, it's really a matter of personal preference. I've made 2 1200 mile round trips from Bama to OH10 in the MO and I am pleased. If anything, I wish the SE were stiffer. I've made that same trip countless times in my other stiff suspensioned vehicles and once in the Z and once in my fathers cushy roadmaster. It's a trade-off. Cushy ride versus stiff ride.

You have to be carefull about saying stiff suspension though. There are two "stiffs". One is sway and body roll/flex in corners and the other is bumps and dips. The way I think of it, stiff sway is determined mostly by body flex and sway bars and bump stiffness is determined mostly by shocks and springs. Tires affect both but mostly bump stiffness.

And when you talk about this stuff from a controls perspective, there is a plethora of terms. There is the natural resonant frequency, rise and fall times, overdamped, underdamped, critically damped, high frequency and low frequency response. And I'm sure I missed a few. And shocks historically have had a non-linear vertical velocity. Then there is the capacity determined by the piston and valve sizes. But I digress...

The reason you want a stiff ride is for road feedback. The reason you want a cushy ride is for comfort. The two are mutually exclusive to a great degree, but not totally. I do believe the shocks on the Z don't have enough capacity. I like the stiff ride but it shouldn't bounce. The same may be true of the MO, but I don't think so.

You also have to consider towing. All of these responses are also determined by weight. There is the weight of the stuff you cram inside the vehicle and then there is the tongue weight of something you are towing. I'm sure there will be a difference between the SE and the SL in ride quality when towing at max capacity tongue weight. Without thinking about this long and hard, extra mass of a laden SE towing max tongue weight would probably shift the response closer to an unladen SL.

Anyhow, great discussion.
 
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