BMW X1, Mazda CX-9 or Nissan Murano?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Dec 9, 2011

Hi, Botchi!

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for all the advice you have given everyone. I wrote a year ago regarding a car I would buy, and now I am back to ask another question--this time for my brother.

He is expecting to buy a brand-new car within the month and he is asking me for some advice regarding which car to buy. As a car nut, I told him to challenge my 350z but regretfully, he doesn't want a sports car. He is more inclined on buying a CUV, which I think is also a good choice.

I gave him three possible choices to consider but he cannot decide which to buy. He is choosing between Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, and BMW X1.

The type of fuel is not a major factor in the decision-making process. He wants something that is uncommon on the road but at the same time it should offer the best bang for the buck. Easy maintenance is also a huge consideration.

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Can you help us regarding the pros and cons of each CUV, and rank each one of them? And if you have other CUVs in mind that's within the range of the three I've mentioned, feel free to suggest them.

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I hope you can give us an answer very soon. Many thanks again for the second time, gracious sir!


Hi, Marc!

Thank you for giving us another opportunity to be of service to you and your family! I hope you track that 350Z. Despite the weight and slightly underwhelming power, it's a favorite of mine because handling its is fantastic even on short and tight tracks.

The one thing I dislike about the Mazda CX-9 is that it is really, really thirsty. On the other hand, it is one fast SUV! Space, refinement, comfort and power are amazing! It's also not too common so it's always a good choice. Although it is a seven-seater SUV, it's cheaper compared to the others. But it's also bigger and your brother may be looking for something smaller and sportier.

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The Nissan Murano looks absolutely gorgeous. I have not had a chance to drive it but the previous version was amazing to drive. I remember thrashing the previous-generation Murano down Marcos Highway coming from Baguio. For a softly-sprung crossover SUV, it stuck like glue on higway's slightly damp and cold tarmac. And it does have the heart of a sports car, sharing the same family of Nissan's highly-vaunted and venerated VQ family of engines that just loves to rev. It delivers ample torque and power across the rev range. It's also pretty rare, and the very avant-garde design of Nissan looks so good--for me at least. Hopefully, though, it ages gracefully.

The BMW X1 seems like a good idea but, in reality, it is just too tight inside. It's like a typical 3-Series sedan on stilts. It's sporty and great to drive but your passengers will be quite uncomfortable at the back. The BMW X3, with the new 8-speed automatic and 2.0 diesel, is fantastic! I'd get that instead.

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Another option would be the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI. Great ride and comfort, and the Audi diesels are arguably the best, smoothest, most efficient and refined diesel engines you can get. My money would go to the Q5 or the BMW X3, both in diesel variants, because both are pretty fast and nimble--a cruising speed of 200kph in an X3 diesel is very, very easy. Admittedly, they also offer more panache and street cred compared to any Japanese SUV.

Hope this helps! Good luck and God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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