2019 Nissan Murano Drivers' Notes Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos - Autoblog

2019 Nissan Murano Drivers' Notes Review | Price, specs, features and photos - Autoblog

The 2019 Nissan Murano is one of six crossovers or SUVs in Nissan's ever expanding lineup. This third-gen model hit showrooms back in 2015 and received a minor update for 2019 focused mainly on appearance. Like its predecessors, the current Murano is a stylish offering compared to models like the Rogue and Pathfinder, much the same way the Maxima relates to the Altima sedan. It may seem odd to have so many models right on top of each other in terms of size and price, but Americans bought more than 87,000 Muranos in 2018, an increase of 8.9 percent over 2017. That said, sales are down significantly through June 2019. As before, power comes from a version of Nissan's long-running VQ engine line. This 3.5-liter V6 makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, sending power to all four wheels through a continuously-variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. Our fully-loaded Platinum model comes with niceties like leather seats with diamond-quilted inserts, ventilated front seats, heated seats both front and rear, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, LED lighting, a Bose audio system, and a 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A base front-wheel-drive Murano S starts at $32,415 with our Murano Platinum tester coming in at $46,420. Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: The Murano is a crossover that isn't confused about its purpose as a comfortable daily driver, but it also doesn't offer anything special to set it apart from the other mid-sizers. Perhaps the most distinctive part about it is the design, yet it's no more eye-catching than similarly stylish competitors like the Edge, Passport and Blazer. In fact, the Murano looks more like a generic crossover than any of those. Comfort is the priority in all facets, and that's probably the way it should be for the buyer Nissan is after here. The semi-aniline leather seats were big pillows that were shockingly great to sit in. There's a dedicated leather pad for your right knee to rest against that is greatly appreciated. Then the armrests on both sides are positioned just right for relaxed driving, soaking up the highway miles. The center armrest actually has a little split in the cushions that acts as a neat little nook/resting place for your elbow and arm. Some may dislike it, but I found that it worked for me. These may seem like no-brainer, small things, but the Murano nails it all, and not every car does. As for the rest of the interior … Nissan has some work to do. Even though this crossover was ever-so-slightly refreshed for 2019, it doesn't feel it on the inside. A clashing mashup of fake wood and silver trim muck up the dash in an attempt at looking luxurious. I appreciate all the physical buttons to control the climate settings and radio, but the steering wheel buttons are incredibly ill-conceived. The most-used control — volume up and down — is just out of your thumb's reach, meaning you have to physically take your hand off the steering wheel to press them. At that point the knob close to your right hand on the dash is easier to use. Then the cruise control "Cancel" button is a difficult stretch at the top on the right side. Pretty much everybody else makes these buttons usable without any sort of trouble like this, so Nissan really needs to get that layout changed. Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I've always liked the looks of the Nissan Murano, and in Platinum trim, this thing is blinged out. I give Nissan credit for really going for it with this sometimes polarizing design. Nissan made the Murano, which was always quirky, into a sleek, futuristic design for the 2015 model year. I think they've pulled it off better than companies like Hyundai and Ford, which have also tried similarly aggressive styles with mixed results. The Murano's prominent grille, angled headlights and long hood make a statement, while the chiseled beltline and raked roofline keep the design mojo going from stem to stern. Some think the Murano is a bit much. It probably is, but it's a risk-taking design in a crowded segment. Road Test Editor Reese Counts: Like so much of Nissan's current lineup, I forgot about the Murano about 10 minutes after I got out of it. It looks ... interesting? I don't know. I don't hate it, but I sure don't love it either. It's certainly more distinct than some of Nissan's other crossovers, but I'm not sure if that's a plus or minus. I do like the engine, or at least I like the power. With everyone going to downsized turbocharged inline-fours, it's good to see Nissan sticking with a naturally-aspirated V6. The VQ is a little uncouth, but I don't think most buyers will mind. Power is relatively smooth, though the CVT saps any bit of joy from the driving experience. It's fine I guess, but, like the Maxima, I don't know or understand who is buying these things. 

Tokyo To Provide Subsidy For Elderly Drivers

Tokyo to provide subsidy for elderly drivers

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to launch a subsidy to help prevent accidents involving elderly drivers.

Elderly drivers have recently been involved in a series of traffic accidents across Japan. In many cases, drivers mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes.

First Driver's Licenses With Reiwa Era Name Issued

First driver's licenses with Reiwa era name issued

Driver's licenses issued in Japan from Sunday show the new era name of Reiwa for the first time.

Licenses issued or renewed from May 5 have expiration dates that include the name Reiwa. The new era started when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on May 1.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably In The Middle

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably in the middle

There isn't a whole lot that's new for the Nissan Rogue Sport for the 2019 model year (a light refresh is coming for 2020). But Nissan's two-pronged Rogue strategy (the automaker bundles both the subcompact Rogue Sport and compact Rogue into the same sales figure each month) continues to be popular with consumers. In fact, the dual-headed Rogue ranks as the fourth-best-selling nameplate in America so far in 2019, sitting behind nothing but the Big Three's full-size pickup trucks.

Three trim levels are available — S, SV, and SL. All Rogue Sports are powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque to either the front or optionally all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Drivers' Clothing Rules Revised After Monk's Case

Drivers' clothing rules revised after monk's case

The government of Fukui Prefecture in central Japan has revised a regulation on drivers' clothes, after a Buddhist monk was given a traffic ticket for driving in a robe.

The monk was ticketed in Fukui City last September. Police argued that wearing a robe could impair his driving and was a violation of the prefecture's road traffic laws.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap And Cheerful

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap and cheerful

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan received a very minor update for this model year, dropping the iA name (a carryover from the days of Scion) and adding a few trim levels. The car is still based on the Mazda2, a vehicle no longer sold in America. Aside from the badging and the grille, the styling both inside and out is distinctly Mazda. Before, the car was only available in one basic spec (again, a legacy of Scion), but now Toyota is offering three separate trims — L, LE and XLE. All three are still powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four, though only the L and LE are available with manual transmissions. The automatic improves fuel economy by 1 mpg across the board. Standard features on the XLE include leatherette seating, a 7-inch infotainment screen, keyless entry and ignition, and automatic climate control.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Yaris is one of the stronger, better-looking cars in this diminutive class. It looks far nicer than its predecessors, and the interior is better than expected for this price point. Thanks to its Mazda genetics, the Yaris handles well with a tight chassis and solid steering. It's a tossable little sedan. I was able to get a carseat in back, which was slightly challenging with a car this small but nothing crazy. The Yaris is fun-to-drive, attractive and a decent bargain.

2019 Toyota Prius C Drivers' Notes Review | Sunsetting The C

2019 Toyota Prius C Drivers' Notes Review | Sunsetting the C

The Toyota Prius C was a fine little hatchback when it debuted back in 2012, but time is a cruel mistress. The car has been outdone and outclassed by a myriad of other products, including some from within Toyota's own ranks. It seems the automaker agrees, as it's ditching the model at the end of this model year. Still, you might be able to snag a deal on a spacious and fuel efficient little hatchback if you keep your eyes peeled.

Our tester was a Prius C LE, the top of two available trims. Standard features on this model include LED projector headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control and navigation. The only two options on our car were Tide Pool Pearl paint for $395 and floormats for another $264. All in, this one stickered for $24,534.

2019 Audi Q8 Drivers' Notes Review | Sharp Dresser

2019 Audi Q8 Drivers' Notes Review | Sharp dresser

The 2019 Q8 is the latest and greatest from Audi, a so-called four-door coupe that was inspired by models like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe. These models trade in a little utility for a heavy dose of style, though the Audi is the least compromised of the trio when it comes to useable space. It's 21 cubic-feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats is roughly the same as the other two, but the way it's packaged allows for a more usable area. Rear visibility and rear headroom are improved, too. That said, new versions of both the X6 and GLE are on their way, so expect to see both of those models make some gains.

Like most Audis, the Q8 shares a lot with other Volkswagen Group models, namely the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. Our tester was the mid-level Premium Plus model. It's $4,000 more than a base Q8 Premium but includes features like 21-inch wheels, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, illuminated door sills, four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats and wireless charging. Other options on this model include $595 for the Daytona Grey paint, the $600 cold weather package and the $2,750 driver assistance package. The latter adds adaptive cruise with traffic jam assist, active lane assist and traffic sign recognition. All in, this Q8 will set you back $79,340.

2019 Lexus Is 350 Awd Drivers' Notes Review | Trouble In Tech Town

2019 Lexus IS 350 AWD Drivers' Notes Review | Trouble in tech town

The third-gen Lexus IS has been on sale since 2013 and has benefited from few updates in the meantime. Our tester was an Atomic Silver IS 350 with all-wheel drive, the most expensive model in the lineup. A base IS 300 (formerly known as the 200t) starts at just under $40,000, though our well-equipped tester toped out at $50,780. Rather than the 300's 2.0-liter turbocharged V6, the IS 350 uses Toyota's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V8 churning out 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That's less than models like the BMW 340i and Mercedes-AMG C43, but still a good amount of grunt.

Options on this car include the $2,365 F Sport package. Changes include accents on the front and rear bumpers, F Sport 5-spoke 18-inch wheels, a digital instrument cluster, perforated leather on the steering wheel, and a few F Sport logos sprinkled throughout. Other options include adaptive lighting for $300, upgraded audio and infotainment system for $2,845, and a heated steering wheel for $150.

2019 Lexus Lx 570 Drivers' Notes Review | Long In The Tooth

2019 Lexus LX 570 Drivers' Notes Review | Long in the tooth

Body-on-frame SUVs like the 2019 Lexus LX 570 might have ruled the market a couple decades ago, but the old-school form factor has given way to smaller, more efficient car-based crossovers. That said, there's still a big market for models like this. Just take a look at the success of the Toyota 4Runner or other luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade or the Ford F-150-based Lincoln Navigator. Crossovers may be more popular, but nothing beats an old-school SUV's chops when it comes to going off-road or towing big cargo.

The Lexus LX is available in two flavors: a five-passenger two-row model and a seven-passenger three-row model. We had a chance to drive both, the first in Michigan and the latter in Oregon. There's a $5,000 difference between the base price on the two models. Both models had the $1,190 Luxury Package (upgraded leather, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row and LX puddle lights). The three-row came with quite a few more options, including a heads-up display, a cool box in the console, a Mark Levinson audio system and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. All in, our two-row tester came out to $88,195 while the three-row would set you back $99,710.

30,000 Elderly In Aichi May Lose Drivers' Permits

30,000 elderly in Aichi may lose drivers' permits

Police in Aichi Prefecture estimate as many as 30,000 elderly drivers may not be able to get their licenses renewed before they expire. This is due to long queues of senior citizens waiting for a mandatory drivers' workshop.

Experts are warning that similar problems will likely occur in other prefectures and are calling on the government to review the system.

2019 Toyota Rav4 Adventure Drivers' Notes Review | More Character, More Capability

2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Drivers' Notes Review | More character, more capability

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is a completely redesigned crossover, and no version exemplifies that transformation more than the Adventure trim level. While every new RAV4, including the Hybrid we previously tested, boasts styling inspired by the Tacoma pickup, the Adventure goes all the way with a grille that might as well have been plunked directly from the Taco. It also has the most ground clearance of the revised lineup, which itself is much higher off the ground than its low-riding, car-like predecessor. This provides every RAV4 with more off-road capability than before, but the RAV4 Adventure goes even further with an enhanced torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system and hill descent control. There are also adjustable off-road vehicle settings for "Mud & Sand," "Rock & Dirt" and "Snow."

This 2019 RAV4 Adventure tester is loaded with a number of options, pushing the final price to nearly $40,000. The $1,185 Adventure Weather package adds a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers and a wiper defroster. The $1,265 Adventure Grade tech package includes parking sensors, rear cross-traffic emergency braking, a digital display rearview mirror, and wireless smartphone charging. Other options include an upgraded infotainment system with integrated navigation and a JBL sound system for $1,620, two-tone paint for $500 and a sunroof for $850. Note that feature and package availability can differ by region, so keep in mind that RAV4's near you might be a bit different.

2019 Infiniti Qx60 Drivers' Notes Review | Past Its Prime

2019 Infiniti QX60 Drivers' Notes Review | Past its prime

The 2019 Infiniti QX60 is a three-row crossover from Nissan's luxury brand. It's based on the Nissan Pathfinder, sharing the same basic platform and powertrain. It sits near the top of Infiniti's lineup, above the new QX50 and just below the body-on-frame QX80. That said, the car-based platform underneath the QX60 means its actually more spacious than its truck-based sibling. Power comes solely from a 3.5-liter V6 making 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is available, though our tester was a front-wheel drive model.

The 2019 QX60 starts $46,795, but our tester has nearly $20,000 worth of options. The $5,000 limited package adds upgraded leather on the seats and steering wheel, dark wood trim, 20-inch wheels and chrome trim on the exterior. The $3,400 proactive package adds safety features like lane-departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, backup collision intervention and adaptive cruise control. Other options include back-seat entertainment ($2,150), a wifi hotspot ($495) and the $3,500 sensory package (a Bose audio system, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a motion-activated liftgate and a moonroof for the second and third rows).