By Don Armstrong
School’s out, parents have made the Teepee motel reservations and that much-needed, two week summer vacation has arrived, now all that’s needed is a dependable set of wheels. Look no further, we found a couple of crossovers that will surely make the miles click by.
Near luxury. Different but not over-the-top. Best interior. Do we have your attention yet? If you’ve never considered Nissan, the time for an up-close look is now.
Completely redesigned last year, the 2016 Nissan Murano hits all the sweet spots without paying the luxury price.
Its swoopy exterior is different. The narrow hood allows room for the bulging front fenders. Large, artistically designed headlights are cut into the top of the wheel wells. The new-look Nissan grille is bolder, while its rear haunches accentuate a new “floating roof” architecture.
The Murano’s interior is just as eye-popping. Nissan calls it the “social lounge,” we call it one of the best. The infotainment system is easy to navigate, the quality of materials is top-notch and those seats; Nissan named them Zero Gravity and they are fabulous.
Power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 260 horsepower that’s delivered to the front wheels through a best-in-the-business CVT transmission. The combo gets 21 MPG-city and 28-highway.
There are four trim levels with pricing starting at $29,660.
Lexus RX 450h
If you are ready to pull the luxury card, why not go all the way with a Lexus hybrid. Despite $2.00 per gallon gas, many think hybrid is the wave of the future.
The Lexus RX line is a complete redesign for 2016.
The word “polarizing” is THE definitive word when describing the RX’s Dust Buster grille. It looks as though it could suck pedestrians into it, never to be seen again. And like the Murano, it incorporates Lexus’ version of the “floating roof” design.
The interior is one of many angles with different materials and colors. The infotainment screen is massive and is perched atop the dash in its own sculpted cove. Control the screen functions with a mouse-like joystick on the center console.
Ride and handling is a strong suit of the Lexus RX450h. The level of control will give you enough confidence to throw it around a bit for a fun and engaging road trip.
The gas/electric combo delivers 300 horsepower to the front wheels and gets a combined 30-mpg.
Starts at $52,235