Nissan releases full details of its third-generation Murano CUV ahead of the vehicle's New York International Auto Show debut on Wednesday.

The Murano, due in late 2014, is based heavily on the Resonance concept from last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, using the same V-Motion front end, boomerang lights and floating-roof look as that vehicle.

“Likely few people who saw Resonance in its North American International Auto Show debut imagined that we could build such a futuristic design, but here it is, ready to hit Nissan showrooms less than 24 months later," Shiro Nakamura, Nissan chief creative officer, says in a statement.

Nissan says the new Murano harkens back to the first-generation model of 2003 in that it's "highly sculptural" with "emotional design" that will stand out from the "heaviness and chunkiness" of many vehicles in its competitive set.

In a break from tradition, Nissan designers first brought the Murano to life in 3D clay forms, not sketches or computer modeling, which the automaker says helped better determine a design direction.

A lighter feeling was given to the Murano thanks to the expanded use of glass areas, such as D-pillars that appear disconnected from the roof to give it a floating appearance.

The new model is slightly lower, longer and wider than the second generation it replaces.

A grille shutter, lip molding on the fender, surfacing of the rear bumper and rear-tire deflectors improve the Murano's slipperiness more than 16%, giving it a sports-car-like 0.31 drag coefficient, Nissan says.

Premium materials and available advanced lighting are two key features of the new Murano's interior, which has an "upscale social lounge" theme.

Instrument panel height has been lowered from first- and second-gen Muranos, an 8.0-in. (20. cm) color touchscreen is available and Nissan has reduced the number of the CUV's hard buttons for audio and navigation to 10 from 25 for "a more user-friendly experience."

“We’ve learned from personal electronics that consumers aren’t always looking for devices that do more, they just want it done better,” says Nakamura. “People rarely read the directions for their smartphone because they know intuitively how to operate them. We believe vehicles should behave the same way – it’s a new and better way to travel.”

A new Advanced Drive-Assist 7-in. (18-cm) display screen offers several new features over what is currently available in the Altima sedan and Pathfinder CUV.

An 11-speaker Bose audio system with dual subwoofers, HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio is available, as is the automaker's telematics system, NissanConnect, with navigation and mobile apps.

In the rear, the CUV for the first time has a 3-cushion design, while Nissan's front "Zero Gravity" seats are standard.

Heated and cooled front seats are available, as are heated rear seats.

A power panoramic moonroof is another option, boasting a 40% longer sliding length and 29% bigger opening than the panoramic roof in the second-gen Murano.

A low center console creates a "communication alley" inside the vehicle and allows rear-seat passengers to charge their smartphones via rear ports.

Nissan reconfigured the cargo area for a projected best-in-segment storage space with seats up. Rear seats fold flat for even more room. Rear seats can be folded from the cargo area, and a power return option is available.

The Murano keeps its 3.5L DOHC V-6 engine making 260 hp and 240 lb.-ft. (325 Nm) of torque, as well as its Xtronic continuously variable transmission.

Nissan says improvements to the engine and transmission, as well as a 130-lb. (59-kg) weight loss, improve fuel economy about 20% from the outgoing model.

The outgoing '14 Murano makes 18/24 mpg (13.1-9.8 L/100 km) city/highway with the same engine.

Safety features include up to four cameras and three radar systems that support a variety of available technologies such as blindspot warning, predictive forward collision warning and intelligent cruise control.

A new cross-traffic alert system indicates if a vehicle is approaching from the side when backing out of a parking spot.

The Murano, which for '15 has shifted from Japan manufacturing to Nissan's Canton, MS, plant, will be offered in front- or all-wheel drive and in four grades: S, SV, SL and Platinum. Platinum replaces the '14 Murano's LE grade.

A Nissan official told WardsAuto in January the automaker had to better match the range of offerings of the segment-leading Ford Edge.

The Edge tallied 129,109 sales in 2013, while the Murano reached 44,684, WardsAuto data shows.

“We need to be aligned with what (the) Edge is doing,” Pierre Loing, vice president-product planning for Nissan Americas, said in January, adding the second-gen Murano suffered when it lost the emotional design of the first generation.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com