A Tale of Two Crossovers
With so many options, the crossover segment is tough to shop. City Life narrows it down to two winners: the Nissan Murano and the Infiniti QX60.
Nissan and Infiniti’s product lineup has continued to garner significant praise in recent years. They’ve quickly become huge contenders in the crossover and luxury crossover segments, boasting industry-leading finishes and technology at a very competitive price. They are also class-leading in terms of safety, with the Murano recently taking home the title of Best Crossover in the IIHS Top Safety Picks after its redesign in 2015. The crossover segment is arguably one of the toughest to shop these days given the vast quantity of makes and models to choose from, but if the Murano or QX60 have caught your eye, here’s what you need to know.
Now into its third generation, the new Murano builds on the brand’s fluid design language, which thankfully translates very well into the basic form of a crossover. A swept-back roofline and pronounced rear haunches result in an interesting sort of pinch point at its C-pillar, and though this does create a touch of a blind spot, it gives the Murano an extra bit of character that helps it stand out from the pack. In terms of features, the base-model Murano S comes quite well-equipped for a sub-$30,000 price of entry. Bluetooth, on-board navigation, heated front seats and rear-view monitors are all standard equipment. The Murano is also reasonably quick in base-level trim. Its 3.5-L V-6 engine boasts 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. At $30,000, you’re looking at a front-wheel-drive model, however the more heavily optioned SV (priced at $36,989) does come in all-wheel drive as well. In either trim level, the Murano handles itself quite well on the open road. It’s by no means a sports-biased crossover like some offerings from Audi and BMW, or even Volkswagen’s R-Line-trimmed Touareg. That said, it’s not a big, lumbering, truck-based SUV either.
If luxury finishes and tech are more important than saving a few bucks, the QX60 takes the Murano platform and bumps it up a healthy notch or three. Coming in at $47,400, the QX60 adds things like a leather interior, keyless entry, multi-zone climate control, all-wheel drive, cruise control and even a moonroof. From its base level, the QX60 can be optioned with a wide array of technology, comfort and safety packages that will push its price of entry north of $60,000. Included in those options is Infiniti’s Driver Assistance Package that bundles together a handful of collision avoidance systems with the brand’s adaptive cruise control — a true gem of a system for those who spend a lot of time on well-populated highways on any given day. Unlike the Murano, the QX60 has a much stronger focus on driving dynamics. The midsize crossover is in no way a lightweight, however it handles itself remarkably well given its size and mass. On winding roads it only exhibits a nominal amount of body roll, and though its steering is a little numb due to its electric power steering system, it remains a pleasure to drive somewhat enthusiastically.
Engine: 3.6-Litre V-6
Torque: 240 lb-ft
Starting at $29,998
Engine: 3.5-Litre 24-valve V-6
Torque: 248 lb-ft
Starting at $47,400