I bought the SL because I wanted a more comfortable instead of a more sporty ride. I came from a very cushy SUV and did not want to give up the comfortable ride. SL is plenty tight and sporty for me. It was still a big change from my prior vehicle.
After living "The Simple Life" in my 2WD Xterra XE for a couple of years, I wanted all the luxury I could get my hands on. It was either a fully loaded SL AWD with nav and sunroof or a minimal FX, RX, or MDX and comfort/luxury is WAYYYY more important to me than labels.
Went for the SE as I was coming off a sports car and wanted to retain the handling to the extent possible. Plus the SE came standard with Xenon bulbs, etc. No regrets so far at a whooping 600 miles on the clock!
SE, because the whole point of the Murano is that its "sporty" compared to other crossovers. Granted its no sports car, but if I wanted a comfortable ride, I would have gotten a Highlander, which rides as smooth as its Lexus RX twin.
Mostly knife or spoon.
Both used for eating but different.
Everybody has named the differences.
Here is part of the process I used.
It was obvious that the SE was a bit tighter. It is IMO, NOT a major difference.
And this is what you would expect.
The front and rear end is no different in design.
But the parts are slightly heavier.
I tried both.
One place is full of fairly high speed corners. The difference came at 60 mPH. The SL was beyond the comfort zone. At 70 the SE was still comfortable.
Then there was another place where the road was rough.
No clear cut winner.
Then there was a concrete road with expansion strips. It's not common in FL but is very common in the NE.
The SL kicked the SEs butt here.
The SE does not have a truly sophisticated suspension.
It absolutely hates repetitive bumps.
The SL is a far superior ride on expansion strips)
AND the number 1 reason why we bought the SL.
My wife and i both liked the wheels on the SL better.
(Of course I swapped them out soon after and could have done that with the SE too. Those SE wheels just scream DORK! But that of course is a very personal observation)
IF Nissan wanted to REALLY make an SE, they should have at least put wider wheels and better rubber on it.
As it is, one of the biggest differences is the chrome decal badge.
As for me, I ended up with an SE due to unusual circumstances on the day that I visited the dealer. I test drove a base model Pewter SL (no leather, NAV, Bose, AWD, etc.) and was sold on it. When the salesman went out back to start the paperwork, he found it that it was sold already. Some one forgot to put the sold sign on it.
So, I said find me another one at the same price. All the other SLs had signifcant upgrades and thus much higher prices. He said that he had some base model SEs that he could sell me for $800 more. So I said, let's test drive one. The stiffer suspension was evident, but didn't bother me. He had three in stock, they were copper, silver and black. I went with the silver SE.
I bought an SE because once I loaded up an SL, it was equivalent to an SE. Also, I wanted the +/- shift option and the stiffer suspension. Yes, I know that it seems pretty rough, but on the few occassions where I had to swerve or take a turn faster than I expected to, the suspension provided a very reassuring response.
Lastly, I like the wagon wheel style rims on the SE better than the SL.
My wife don't like the bumpy ride on my 350Z. As soon as I mentioned 'sports suspension' on the Murano...........she said 'no way!'. So, we went with SL. We got rid of her Celica '00 and not my 350Z when our son was born, so I had to compramize on something, right?
Hey, the SLs are in the lead right now 29 SLs -vs- 12 SEs.
In making the comparison, I've noticed a some interesting things... There are alot of posts which verbalize that the SLs suspension is more prefable to the SE's stiffer sport suspension. Also, there are a good number of posts involving SL owners who are looking to install the Xenon lights into their SL which come standard with the SE, but not the SL. Too bad Nissan didn't make the Xenon lights standard on the SL. Oh well, I'm still very happy with my SE.
Another interesting point is seeing people finding the SE more expensive than the SL. My dealer's inventory has always had SE's a few thousand cheaper than the SL's. One poster even said "a fully loaded SL is basically an SE".. WTF?
I had always thought an SE had a sportier ride with fewer luxury options, so this opinion is surprising. Does an SE have all the little touches we SL'ers have? I assume nav and 6 disc Bose is available, but what about a cargo net? Heated leather seats? A leather/vinyl cargo area privacy shield? VDC? Can you pitch your headlights up and down?
You do have the +/- "autoshifter" which we don't, right? We don't have an "autoshifter" but we do have a "sport mode" which is great for merging into the fast lane on highways.
Update: I stand corrected. After sorting by price, the top 3 are SE's at $38,890 and $38,380 and the next 3 are SL's at $37,730. Then 3 SE's, 2 SL's, 5 SE's, 8 SL's, 1 SE, and 1 SL at the bottom, with the cheapest SL being $5,000 less than the cheapest SE. Do you realize this changes my whole universe?!?!?
I bought the SE primarily because it had the options I wanted - leather, sun roof, bose. I think I got everything except the DVD, AWD, and NAV. I am basically a 4x4 type of person and this was "my" first non-4x4 in a while. I KNEW that if I got AWD I would take it in the desert.
When I was looking for a new vehicle I drove the VW Tourage, BMX X5, Yukon Denali, Dogde Duragno-Dakota-Ram, Toyota Tundra-Tacoma-Sequoia. Of everything I narrowed the choice down to the VW and Nissan. I ended up going with the Nissan because I really liked the look of it - and the MO drove more like the V8 Tourage and BMX X5. Keep in mind I drive trucks - But I just liked the MO better.
I am amazed how everyone notices it. I continually get comments about it and people like it.