By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Keeping an eye on the leaders of the pack is a natural tendency but sometimes the glory goes to the long shot. Nissan, hardly an outside contender, for a quarter century has been trailing its rival Honda.

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In recent years, the gap has closed and Nissan is now making a final lunge to take the number two US import spot.

Though there have been some counter-PR volleys lobbed at Nissan for using incentives and fleet discounts to buy market share, it is widely acknowledged that the company’s new line-up leap-frogs direct competitors, and even more upscale offerings, when it comes to high tone curb appeal.

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While the best selling Altima, Sentra and Rogue models are indeed attractive, the newest 2015 Murano is a jaw-dropping stunner!

According Nissan VP of product planning Pierre Loing, one of the challenges in modern automotive design is making brand identity shine through the familiar shapes and styling features that are now largely driven by industry standard aerodynamics for fuel efficiency and crashworthy engineering compliance.

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For Nissan, key elements like the distinctive V-Motion front grille design have created a crowd-pleasing family resemblance for the whole line.