Nissan Murano: A Comfortable, Roomy Ride
Nissan’s Murano crossover remains a solid, quiet and comfortable family mover.
While many folks buy this in front-wheel-drive form, I tested the SL model with all-wheel drive. That means it goes for nearly $41,000, which seems high, until you consider many other crossovers with luxury leanings.
The tested dark metallic blue Murano started at $38,000 and ended up $40,855 with mainly a navigation system upgrade adding to the price. If price is a concern, start shopping at the S level, which begins at $29,960 for front-wheel drive and $31,560 for AWD. There are four trim levels, the top, LE, going for $40,560 with AWD.Murano, like most crossovers, is fairly easily accessed. Not a big step-up here as in most SUVs. It’s quiet inside and will haul a fair amount of stuff, plus up to five adults. Cargo space is a generous 31.6 cubic feet behind the second-row seats.
Front and rear seat legroom and headroom are good, but this one does have a dual sunroof that eats up an extra inch or so of headroom.
Murano’s 111.2-inch wheelbase and four-wheel independent suspension provide a comfortable ride, both on the highway and around town. Bumps are well muted and its Dual Flow Path shocks on all four wheels eat up rough roads.
Likewise most folks will appreciate the 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and how it meshes with the Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). This is the only CVT on the market that I’d recommend. It works nearly perfectly with the V6 to provide good low-end power and also not deafen you with high-revving engine noise. Many CVTs do neither.
I managed 18.3 mpg, while the trip computer was saying 20.4. The EPA says you’ll get 18 mpg city and 23 highway in this 4,132-pound crossover. I ran about 60% city miles.Handling is good, with a moderately heavy steering feel and fairly responsive turn-in into corners. This feels closer to a sedan than a sport SUV, and that’s a plus. There’s a little lean in tight cornering and the crossover rides on 18-inch tires.
Braking comes from four-wheel vented discs. There also is stability and traction control, and the AWD system that will keep you on the straight and narrow once the winter slush returns.
I like Murano’s interior. It’s well insulated from road and wind noise, and this one had a tan and brown leather interior with brushed metal trim around the stack, shifter, console and doors. Its three round intertwined main gauges are easy to see, and most buttons and dials on the stack are simple to use and understand. There are two-memory seat buttons in the driver’s door, plus a power hatch and fuel-release door button on the left dash. That’s also where you’ll find the heated steering wheel button.
Also I loved the two-level seat heat and Murano’s comfortable mildly contoured seats that make for enjoyable long rides. There’s a power lumbar support for the driver.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel features radio, cruise and phone buttons on its hub. Officially this is a tilt/telescope wheel, but the test vehicle’s wheel would not tilt at all, appearing to be jammed at a midlevel setting.
There’s push-button start, plus a docking port for your key fob.
To adjust the trip computer there are buttons on the right edge of the gauge pod’s hood. Radio channel selection buttons are below the touchscreen navigation and radio.All the main map, info and radio buttons surround the large, and rarely needed, center master control knob. These buttons are large and easy to use while driving, as were the radio volume and tuning knobs. Dual climate controls also are standard here.
The test car added a $1,880 navigation package that provides a large touchscreen, voice-recognition and real-time traffic and weather information. Nice if you’re on highways a lot.
Overall, Murano is a pleasantly styled crossover with good interior room and design, plus a comfortable luxury ride and feel. If pricing is a major concern, focus on the S and SV trim levels. Additionally, if you don’t absolutely demand AWD, you can save some money by going with a front-wheel drive model.