Archive for February 2020

2020 Nissan Murano

Is it just another SUV?

Well, we do not have many options in this class. Surprising, isn’t it? Compared to the other SUV subsegments, we don’t have many 2-row mid-sized SUVs. Also, 3-row SUVs are not for everyone, in fact we also think a minivan would be better option if you usually have more than 5 passengers. This is where the Nissan Murano fills the gap in a very popular segment. Murano has been on the Canadian market since 2002, and the last generation is available since 2015. It has been slightly refreshed in 2019. We will have a look how well Murano is doing in this segment.

Exterior and Interior

It definitely looks different and “modern”

Unless you look for “exotic segments”, you should not expect a sexy design from an SUV. They are family haulers and function are more important than the form. However, especially after the refresh, Nissan is one of the better-looking ones in this segment, though it is a hate or love design. V shaped grille, LED head lights, fog lights, tail lights, new wheels make it look fresh. It shows its age a little bit more in the interior.

Though it’s been on the market for a while, it doesn’t look that old from outside

Speaking about the interior, there are lots of soft touch plastics, leather, some fake wood, and some piano black all around the dashboard. Our tester, at the top Platinum version, comes with all features available. Unlike the Pathfinder, Nissan implemented Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in Murano, which is a big plus. Infotainment system is not laggy at all, though it looks a little bit dull. Overall, interior and feature-wise, we are impressed that 4-year-old platform can still keep up with the competition.

In our tests, legroom in the front and rear is excellent, more than enough for tall people. However, as a result of having a distinctive design, Murano has less total cargo capacity compared to its little sister, called Rogue.

Infotainment system is easy to use, like the rest of the interior
20″ Wheels are available with higher trims

Engine and Drivetrain

Murano comes with only one engine and transmission combination, which is an old but reliable platform. A naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. It is the same engine used in Pathfinder, but a little bit less power. It is a rev happy but extremely smooth engine which provides lots of mid-range torque and offers great daily driving characteristics. While more manufacturers switch to four-cylinder turbocharged options, Nissan decided to stick with V6. In our tests, Murano consumed 11.0L / 100 km and this number is not too bad, considering it’s weight and all-wheel drive system.

3.5 liter engine is the only option in Murano, which pumps out 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque

As a familiar feature for Nissan and some other Japanese brands, Murano comes with Continuously Variable Transmission which helps providing smooth driving characteristics ²as well. However, that means Murano has less towing capacity than most of the competition as a result, which is 1500 lbs. Unlike the Pathfinder, though they use same drivetrain, Murano has manual shifting option which is the gear ratios are extremely tall. If you stay in the first gear, it goes all the way up to 100 km/h before switching to the second gear. Also, due to its weight, which is over 1800 kgs, Murano can do 0-100 in 8 seconds, which is not that impressive. So, it is obvious that the drivetrain is 100% tuned for road comfort and smoothness.

Like the engine, it only comes with the CVT transmission

Murano comes with both Front Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive options. FWD is only available with the absolute base trim, which actually doesn’t make sense to get an SUV if you don’t need All Wheel Drive. Anything above the base trim comes with AWD and it is a typical Nissan on-demand All Wheel Drive system. It is a Front biased system that activates rear wheels when there is insufficient traction in the front. It uses rear wheels up to 50% during acceleration, then it transfers almost all power to the front wheels. Unfortunately, Murano wouldn’t allow its driver to turn off stability control completely, which means it is not that off-road capable, or at least not as capable as the Pathfinder with center locking differential. It is definitely more than enough for paved roads, but we wouldn’t take it to any kind of off-roading as CVT is also not the most durable transmission type for severe conditions.

Features and Pricing

As previously mentioned, our tester had all the options available in Murano, in fact it has even more features compared to its bigger sister, Pathfinder. The middle trim, called SV comes with many features and it is a nice step up from the base trim. It comes with Panoramic Moonroof, Remote Engine Start System with Automatic climate control, and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. If you choose one step above, called SL, it comes with Leather seats, 20” wheels (which looks best among the other trims), front & rear parking sensors, and Bose premium audio system.

Lots of legroom in the rear, which is a must for utility vehicle

Our test car is the Platinum trim, which comes with another type of 20” rims, Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking system, Heated & Cooled seats, and Semi anline leather seats with diamond quilted inserts. Overall, we think the SL trim is the sweet spot as it comes with many critical features, unless you need additional cooled seat option.

Although there are lots of cargo room, it falls behind compared to its sister, the Rogue

Overall, we enjoyed driving the Murano, not because of its driving characteristics, but its driving comfort. Nissan is known to build very comfortable vehicles and Murano is no exception. There are few naturally aspirated V6 and 2-row SUVs left in this class, which makes the Murano a unicorn. This V6 and CVT transmission offers excellent driving comfort and smoothness. This is a great option if you need a family hauler that is all wheel drive, lots of interior space, great functionality, smooth and comfortable ride.

The Murano is one of the smoothest and most comfortable alternatives in this segment

Murano starts at $32,898 with the base trim and front wheel drive, and it can go all the way up to $46,398 as of February 2020. We believe the SL trim offers the best price performance ratio, which is priced $43,698. Considering this generation is getting old, we are sure you would be able to find a great deal at Nissan dealer, which makes it even better option in this class.

For more and most up-to-date information, please visit http://www.nissan.ca.

Article and photos by Dan Gunay

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

An SUV With Low Profile But High Efficiency

This is a vehicle for high efficiency not for a high image

We may say -with some exaggregation- that we are on the threshold of the widespread electrification of the automobile.

While the market share of BEV’s (battery electric vehicles) is still well below 5 percent in North America, we are in a transitional period that Tesla triggered for less than 10 years ago. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles connecting old and new technology may play an important role in this transition. All major automakers, the Volkswagen Group, in particular, have plans and ambitions to launch several new models with varying degrees of electrification over the next 2 to 5 years. Hybrids to plug-ins and BEV’s (battery electric vehicle).

It will probably take at least another decade or two before we completely get rid of ICE and while relying more and more on supporting infrastructure. Hence, depending on your mobility needs and style, hybrids (and plug-in-hybrids) could be a sensible alternative for people who drive high-mileage, such as taxi or Uber drivers or people, who drive a lot in the city traffic or in general.

Mitsubishi is probably not a brand that you will immediately associate with electrification. The third and last member of the already troubled Renault-Nissan Alliance, Mitsubishi is tight on the R & D budget and keeps its models longer on the market. Anything beyond and except SUV’s and crossovers with a Mitsubishi logo is slowly dying. This old and reputable Japanese brand almost entirely focuses on SUV’S recently, which makes sense considering the direction of the market.

The Outlander is a compact SUV and can be counted as the backbone of its model range. And the Outlander PHEV, is the best selling- SUV in North America and Europe. Because the company was and is smart enough to offer a plug-in-hybrid SUV, a product that nobody else offers (at least until now)

The “three-diamonds” vehicle has twin 80 horsepower electric motors linked to a 12kWh lithium-ion battery complemented by a 2.0L gasoline engine with 117 horsepower. As per Mitsu, Outlander PHEV’s total torque is 250lb-ft.

The Three Diamonds

The Japanese brand called “Three Diamonds” (Mitsubishi’s meaning) has a rich and deep history with cars like Lancer, a frequent winner of rallies in 1980’s, Pajero, once one of the world’s best and most durable off-road vehicles and Eclipse, a great sports car. Mitsubishi says the Outlander is the world’s most technically-advanced four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid that, among other things, offers 100 percent electric 4WD capability. It features a 2.0-liter gas engine (uses regular unleaded), two electric motors and they say it has DC fast-charging capability that provides an 80 percent charge in under 30 minutes). And this vehicle is an SUV. Do you want anything else?

The Outlander is not a brand-new model and honestly due for replacement. another mid-life refresh will not be enough. Considering Mitbubishi’s model policy, it will not be a surprise to see this model on the markets for a couple of more years.

This third-generation model is on sale since January 2013 as a plug-in hybrid model called Outlander PHEV. Cumulative global sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in April 2019, and according to JATO Dynamics, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s all-time best selling plug-in hybrid since December 2018. As of 2019, Europe is the leading market with 126,617 units sold through January 2019. The Outlander PHEV was the top-selling plug-in electric vehicle in Europe in 2014 and again in 2015, and has ranked as Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid car for four years running, 2015 to 2018. Both in 2014 and 2015, it also ranked as the world’s top-selling plug-in hybrid, and as the third best selling plug-in car after the all-electric Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf.

An impressive performance. Not because Mitsubishi is a leader in electrification, but that acted so smart to find a niche for an affordable, electrified and practical vehicle, which could only be an SUV.

We made the Outlander PHEV part of our daily life for one week.

Interior

The dashboard is a bit outdated, but reasonable designed and does the job

Inside, everything you would need and want in today’s modern vehicles is there, whether standard or optional. As a compact crossover, its is part of the most popular and highly competitive segment in Canada. Still, you detect the (non-)existence of some features, such as a classic Radio button. We also noted something weird. Driving at night needs some improvement because interior lighting is weaker than it should be. I have to give credit to my son, who noted this first.

Our tester, top-of-the line had heated steering wheel and front seats which were very convenient in very cold mornings of January.

In terms of infotainment features, the Outlander is not short of its competitors. The 18-centimeter touchscreen, Smartphone Link Display Audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, FAST-key entry and push-button ignition system, rear-view camera, seven airbags, satellite radio (plus AM and FM for local stations), plug-ins for smartphones in its entirely offer all the conveniences a modern vehicle offers.

Driving Impressions

During our one-week test drive, which was mostly on snowy roads of the GTA, it handled well and showed its performance as an AWD vehicle. The seats were very comfortable and honestly exceeded our expectations.

Fast-charging stations like at Yorkdale Shopping Centre offer a big advantage for gas-free driving with a plug-in hybrid

There is a reason (or a number of reasons) why the Outlander PHEV is so popular. The all-electric range of 35 kilometers is sufficient for many riders driving between home and work in the city. The distance between my home and work is 45 kilometers and I need some “gasoline boost, which is still good. I was also lucky enough to have fast-charging stations at Yorkdale Shopping Mall, which is three kilometers from my office. So, with somewhat good planning, I could spare a visit to the gas station for a long time. I love to have a break at Yorkdale for my daily walking routine which makes an excellent opportunity to charge the car in the meantime. Even if you need some gas to complete your trip, it will be very affordable and you will never have a problem with range anxiety like with a BEV.
However, if you want to rely on your regular 110V outlet at home, you can almost forget it, since it may take very long and beyond any practicality. Of course, if you are dedicated to electric driving to such an extent, you may consider installing a fast-charging outlet in your garage.

Conclusion

Monitoring energy usage can motivate you for more green driving

With a starting MSRP of 44K, this model is affordable and offers a good value proposition. Our tester, in SEL trim level starts at C$ 47,500. (See the spec sheet below) Mitsubishi Canada’s 10-year, a 160,000-kilometre powertrain warranty, is also a strong argument to buy this or any Mitsubishi product.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL / Features and Specifications

Canada’s first twin electric-motor SUV with Super All-Wheel-Control

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid SUV to offer 100% electric 4WD capability

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid SUV with DC Fast Charging capability, (providing – 80 percent charge in under 30 minutes)

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid with a remarkable 10-year or 160,000 km powertrain warranty, 10-year/160,000 km lithium-ion battery warranty and five-year or 100,000 km comprehensive warranty

  • 8-inch Smartphone Link Display standard through price lines
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 
  • Standard S-AWC 

PHEV system

Quick charge

S-AWC

18” alloy wheels

Halogen head lamps 

PWR windows

Mirrors with Turn lamp

4-wheel disc with ABS 

Bluetooth + USB

Cruise CTL

Heated front seats

Power driver seat

S/W Controls 

8”-inch Smartphone Link Display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Satellite Radio

Rearview Camera

60/40 2nd Row Seat

Leather S/W + Gear shift, fast key – push button start

Hill Start Assist

LED DRL

Tilt/Telescope

Artificial suede-appointed seats

1,500 w PWR inverter

Rear Spoiler

1,500 lb towing capacity

sunroof, auto-dimming, rearview mirror, heated steering wheel, power lift gate

SE S-AWC plus sunroof

Leather appointed seats

Power front passenger seat

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

Heated steering wheel

LED headlamps

LED fog lamps

LED highbeams, power liftgate

SEL S-AWC Plus the below

8”inch Smartphone Link Display standard through price lines

Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

Luxurious quilted leather-appointed seats 

Mitsubishi Power Sound System with 8 speakers

Adaptive Cruise Control

Forward Collision Mitigation 

Lane departure warning

Multiview cameras system

For more detailed and most up-to-date information, please visit http://mitsubishi-motors.ca

Article and pictures by Varol McKars