Test Drive Notes Library
- Oomph.The Murano moves. Even though it has a relatively modest (for today) 260 hp V6, it feels like plenty. It’s combined with a pretty good Continuously Variable Transmission that provides instantaneous power whenever you step on it.
- Premium interior. Nissan obviously paid a lot of attention to the Murano’s interior, which is pretty luxurious. The Platinum version we drove is a $45,000 car. But it’s rare to see a car in that price range with quilted seats. Those are still showing up in $60,000 and $80,000 cars. There’s lots of soft padding, and the interior feels upscale. Strangely, towards the bottom of the dashboard, there’s some cheap-looking hard plastic with a gap visible between pieces. I guess for another $15K, they can get rid of that.
- Mileage. For a mid-sized SUV, mileage is not bad. We did more city than highway driving and got just under 21 mpg overall.
- Standard safety. The Murano comes standard with forward collision warning, as well as low- and high-speed automatic emergency braking. Praise be. Unfortunately, in an increasingly common move, to get blind-spot monitoring and cross traffic alert, you have to move up a trim level or two and pay more. Blind-spot monitoring, in particular, is necessary on the Murano (see visibility below). Nissan also pioneered the bird’s eye Around View camera, which is still a great innovation, and incredibly useful when parking—especially in a car with poor rear visibility. You can see all around the car as you back up or maneuver into a spot, as if you’re looking down from above. Once you have this, you’ll never want to park without it.
- Ride.The ride is definitely tuned to the comfortable setting. The Murano soaks up city bumps and potholes pretty well. It’s quiet inside, save for some highway wind noise, and an occasional growl of the engine when the CVT kicks up the revs. Back seat room is noticeably good. Adults will be happy there. As long as the kids aren’t driving.
- Good ergonomics. The Murano has straight-forward, easy-to-use infotainment controls. Factor in the separate volume and tuning knobs, and there’s really nothing to complain about.
- Exterior. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether this goes in the likes or dislikes.
Nissan is the Gaudi of exterior design. Lots of swoops and curves. Not for everybody, but if you like a little glitz in your exterior metal, you might like the Murano.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Handling.The flip side of the comfort-oriented suspension is that handling is rather soft. It handles competently, but the vague and light steering and soft suspension clearly prize comfort over driver feedback, making the Murano not a particularly fun car to drive.
- Visibility. The Murano has really big A-pillars. Those are the pillars on either side of the windshield. They can block out an occasional pedestrian or bicyclist. Out back, visibility is even worse, making the upgrade to blind spot monitors not really optional. There’s practically no visibility to the back three quarters of the vehicle. This is the result of the Murano’s pretty splashy and curvy styling. If you love the car, and you’re willing to pay for a trim level with blind-spot monitors, those and the Around View camera will save you.
- Late warning. The blind-spot monitors seem to come on a little late, once a car is already right up next to you. And there’s no adjustment we could find to increase their sensitivity. And adjustment, like some other cars have, would be welcome.
- Yacht-like turning circle. If you’re like Steph Curry, and a fan of three pointers (three point turns, that is), you may need to develop a four point turn.
Get the Car Talk Newsletter