NEW YORK – Nissan introduces a ’15 Murano midsize CUV with edgy design features that eventually will show up on the brand’s other vehicles, says a top company executive.

Andy Palmer points to the new CUV’s so-called V-motion front end, boomerang LED lights, strong body lines, tight curves and a “floating” roof  “in which the D-pillar doesn’t touch the metal and so it looks like it’s floating.”

Such features “will find themselves on all Nissan vehicles,” says Palmer, the Japanese automaker’s chief planning officer and executive vice president. “The next-generation Maxima (fullsize sedan) isn’t far away.”

Why start Nissan’s design renaissance with the Murano? “Because it’s iconic,” Palmer tells WardsAuto on the sidelines of the vehicle’s debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Demographically, he describes Murano buyers as “couples, no children, relatively high income.” That differs from the larger Nissan Pathfinder CUV buyers “who tend to be families.”

Nissan introduced the Murano in 2003. The third-generation model goes on sale in late 2014. Its design won’t appeal to people with conservative tastes in vehicles, Palmer acknowledges.

“We try to differentiate ourselves in design from other Asian manufacturers,” he says. Pundits have claimed some Asian automakers produce great vehicles that look bland.   

“We’re going for something that drives opinion; polarizes, if you want to put it like that,” Palmer says. “With the (Nissan) Juke, we hear people say ‘We like it’ or ‘We don’t like it.’ That’s exactly the kind of reaction we are trying to create. We don’t want vanilla.”

Palmer, who is British, likens it to Marmite, a yeast-extract paste some English people spread on bread. “You either love it or you hate it. There’s no in between.”

sfinlay@wardsauto.com