A picture of Michelangelo's David, even in the highest possible resolution, will never replace the moment a person stands in front of it and views the masterpiece with their own eyes. It's seeing David in the flesh, or at least the marble, that connects the physical with the emotional. When we all first saw the 2015 Nissan Murano, we collectively applauded the Japanese carmaker for presenting a crossover with hard creases and concept looks. The third-generation Murano went from plain and ordinary to absolutely extraordinary.
On Tuesday, Nissan had the new Murano on display at its Product Day, a time where the carmaker shows off all its wares and lets journalists test drive many of the vehicles. The Murano, unfortunately, was not one of the vehicles available for drives.
However, it was there parked in a prime location, its doors locked, keeping journalists out of its all-white interior -- which will come loaded with an 8-inch color touchscreen, Zero Gravity seats, and an oversized moon roof. It's an interior that manages to pull off space-age lounge in a five-passenger crossover.
But it's the exterior that may reshape the future of Nissan. In person, the Murano looks dramatic. It's the first crossover from anyone that will make pedestrians stop walking just to look at it as the Murano drives past. Nissan calls the front end its V-motion design, with LED boomerang lights and floating roof appearance. But it's more than neat design terms. It's good-looking. In the flesh, the front end looks more understated, the sharp X from the outline of the grille carrying through the bumper to the fog lights remains dramatic, but not necessarily the focus of the front. The floating Nissan logo remains big and solid.
More important, the Murano, which was always kind of dumpy and bloated-looking, appears to have gone to the gym and gotten itself ripped. The hard creases along the body cause sunlight to bounce off of it in a thousand directions. It sparkles like a hard-cut diamond. Its rear fenders flare out with a sense of purpose. It makes the Murano look much more athletic and powerful. Even the silver rocker makes the Murano look slimmer. There's nothing portly about the third-generation Murano. It's a rock star at its peak.
Of course, not everything is as picture-perfect. The rear is very busy and perhaps the one part of the Murano where the designers should have picked up their pen and put it away. But it's not enough to detract from the Murano's overall crisp and clean looks. The most important part of the Murano's design is that this is the future of Nissan. That front end on the Murano will soon find variations on other vehicles including the Sentra and Altima, both cars in dire need of a front end that makes a statement beyond, "Look, I have headlights."
That's really what you take away from the Nissan Murano when you see it in person. You almost wonder if it will be able to perform as well as it looks. It should. Everyone should hope so. But you're only going to know if you get out there and drive it.