Iraj Khan
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Review: 2019 Nissan Murano

Fuel Type
Gasoline
Engine
6 Cylinder
Transmission
Automatic
Drives
4WD
MSRP
$29 798
City MPG
11.7
Highway MPG
8.3
OVERALL RATING 4.6 of 5.0
  • Performance
    4.7 of 5.0
  • Comfort
    4.6 of 5.0
  • Interior
    4.5 of 5.0
  • Exterior
    4.6 of 5.0

LIKES

  • Lots of standard safety tech
  • Can drive itself, at least a little
  • Great interior space utilization
  • Rides well
  • Optional hybrid

DISLIKES

  • Light on power
  • Transmission drones on and on
  • Hardly fun to drive
  • The base model looks very basic
  • Hybrid’s not that thrifty

Overall rating 7.0 / 10

Searching for a crossover SUV that's ideal for transporting a few passengers in high comfort? The 2019 Nissan Murano could work out well for you. Price-wise, the Murano is more expensive than popular five-passenger models such as the Honda CR-V and the Nissan Rogue, but it does have some advantages.

Seating is impressively comfortable both in front and in the rear, and higher trim models come with amenities that are usually found on more expensive luxury models. The standard technology is excellent as well, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, multiple USB and USB-C ports, and Nissan's latest driver assist system called Safety Shield 360.

The 2019 Murano reflects a few updates, but the underlying hardware stays the same. That means you have a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive but only one powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. This combination is smooth and responsive enough for most drivers, and it'll simulate shift points when you mash the gas to make it feel like a traditional automatic.

On the downside, the Murano comes up a little short on cargo space and towing capability. Similarly priced rivals, such as the Ford Edge and the all-new Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport, typically offer more of both. But for SUV shoppers who don't need maximum utility but also don't want to spend top dollar on features, the Murano should work out well.

2019 Nissan Murano configurations

The 2019 Nissan Murano crossover is offered in four main trim levels: SSVSL, and Platinum. All have a 3.5-liter V6 engine (260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque) and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

The base S comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED running lights, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Standard technology includes an 8-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is also standard.

Moving up to the SV adds roof rails, remote engine start, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The SV's optional Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof, LED foglights, heated front seats and mirrors, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree parking camera system.

The SL model comes standard with the features of the SV Premium package (except the sunroof) and adds a hands-free liftgate, driver-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, and ambient interior lighting. An SL-exclusive Technology package adds power panoramic sunroof and additional driver assists, such as high-beam assist, traffic sign recognition, forward pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and rear automatic braking.

The top-line Murano Platinum is loaded with the SL's features plus 20-inch wheels, a power-adjustable steering wheel with memory setting, quilted leather seating surfaces, ventilated front seats, power-folding rear seats and NissanConnect communications.

Driving 7.0

The Murano accelerates like most other V6-powered crossovers in the class. It's not quick, but it easily merges into highway traffic. This Nissan is a solid all-around performer but it's not sporty.

Acceleration 7.0

The V6's power is more than adequate to propel this midsize SUV. The V6's pairing to the CVT automatic results in easy, quiet and responsive performance. We clocked a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds in VinBusters testing, which is average for the class.

Braking 6.5

Braking is intuitive and easy. The pedal is just the way we like it for around-town driving. Panic stops from 60 mph required 123 feet in our testing, which equals the result of the Murano's most direct competitor, the Ford Edge.

Steering 6.5

The very lightweight feel at parking-lot speeds makes the Murano easy to maneuver. As speeds increase, the steering adds some heft, but there's never much road feel. It's a pretty typical setup for this kind of vehicle.

Handling 7.0

Murano's handling is adequate for the class. It's not sporty, but it's not so soft that it ever feels out of control. It handles big dips in the road without jostling passengers, but going around a sharp turn does bring about some noticeable body roll.

Drivability 7.5

Nissan's pairing of a powerful V6 with a continuously variable automatic transmission gives the Murano all the quickness and responsiveness it needs. Press the gas pedal even a little bit and you get an immediate response from under the hood.

Off-road 6.5

With available all-wheel drive, the Murano should be able to tackle the occasional unpaved road. But like most of its competitors, the modest amount of ground clearance, along with the absence of any kind of locking features, limits this SUV from doing much more.

Comfort 8.0

Though it provides more comfort than performance, the Murano still isn't the most supple-riding SUV we've driven. Most of our impressions are of a Platinum model with 20-inch wheels and tires, so models with smaller wheels are likely to be more comfortable over rough roads. The quiet cabin and excellent seats help offset any flaws.

Seat comfort 9.0

The front and rear seats are outstanding and are among the most comfortable in the business. They are supple but not so plush that you sink in. Lateral support is minimal. But because this vehicle isn't likely to do much fast cornering, it's an insignificant issue.

Ride comfort 6.5

The Murano is a middle-of-the-road performer in this category. It's not overly soft, but it's not uncomfortably stiff either. It feels hunkered down to the road, giving the driver confidence. Hit a bump and you'll feel it, but it's not so jarring that you'll find the ride objectionable.

Noise & vibration 7.5

Probably the biggest perk to pairing a torquey engine with a CVT automatic is the elimination of extended high-rpm operation, which reduces noise. The Murano's engine is no louder than those of competitors with conventional automatic transmissions.

Climate control 8.5

The dual-zone automatic climate control system has simple knobs for the temperature control and buttons for manual fan speed adjustments. There are extra vents for the rear seats and available ventilated and heated seats. It's a solid setup with no notable issues.

Interior 7.0

Lots of apparent effort went into upgrading the interior quality in the Murano. The top trims offer interior materials similar to what you'll find in Infiniti models. Leather adorns most surfaces, and the built-in lighting is striking. There are some unconventional design choices, but none result in loss of functionality.

Ease of use 8.0

Most controls are logically arranged and easily accessible. One issue is the placement of the Murano's start button, which is a little too low on the center stack. There's the good placement of most secondary controls such as temperature and volume. The infotainment interface works well.

Getting in/getting out 7.0

The Murano's front doors open to almost 90 degrees, and the vehicle doesn't stand very high. As such, getting in and out of the front is relatively easy. The rear doors don't open up quite as wide, and the opening is slightly narrower.

Driving position 6.5

The multi-adjustable seats and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column (power-adjustable on upper trims) mean no problem finding a comfortable position for most drivers. Sun glare from the interior surfaces and the contoured hood is an occasional problem, depending on your seating position.

Roominess 6.5

The Murano is big inside, but it doesn't always feel like it. It has ample front and rear headroom, even for occupants over 6 feet tall, but front legroom and knee room can be a little tight. The wide interior provides ample shoulder room and hip room. You'll find plenty of lateral space and toe room under the front seats.

Visibility 5.5

The tall hood hampers forward visibility as do the long front windshield pillars. Rear-quarter visibility is just OK due to a small rear window between the rearmost roof pillars. Blind-spot monitoring plus rearview and surround-view cameras improve safety.

Quality 7.5

The Murano's cabin quality is above-average. This is a luxury Infiniti-like experience thanks to the leather surfaces, classy contrast double stitching, phenomenal seats and soft touch points where elbows, arms, and fingers interact.

Utility 7.0

It's not the largest cargo area in the class but it's not the smallest either. The wide and flat opening at the rear allows you to throw in a solid amount of luggage or recreational gear. But a lack of small-item storage space up front is a big drawback.

Small-item storage 6.0

The lack of storage compartments up front hurts the Murano in this category. Other than the center console, there are few places to put personal items. The small opening just ahead of the console is barely big enough for a phone or a set of keys, and there's no space in front of the shifter.

Cargo space 7.0

Overall space is similar to that of the Ford Edge and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The split rear seats fold completely flat, and the quick-release and the power-folding mechanism is convenient to have. You'll have no problem loading bikes or a 10-foot surfboard front to back.

Child safety seat accommodation 7.0

There's plenty of room to install a rear-facing child seat in either of the outboard rear-seat positions and still have adequate space for the driver or front passenger. The LATCH attachment points are easy to find.

Towing 6.0

The Murano has a lower towing capacity, 1,500 pounds, than competitors with similar power, most of which tow at least 2,000 pounds or more.

Technology 7.0

While the Murano's infotainment system looks dated, it is full-featured, has a clear screen, and can support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Optional advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise and collision warning are effective. A dedicated button for the surround-view camera is a nice touch.

Audio & navigation 7.5

The 8-inch center touchscreen is clear, responsive and easy to use due to its lack of complexity, but the graphics look dated. It's easy to change sources and scroll through stations on the optional 11-speaker Bose audio system. It also plays your music clearly with good mid and bass response.

Smartphone integration 8.0

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support are bundled with the navigation system that's included on most trims. Pairing with the standard Bluetooth system is a straightforward process. There are one USB-C and one standard USB port for front and rear occupants and three total 12-volt power outlets.

Driver Aids 7.0

Front collision warning is standard, and higher trim models offer adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and active lane centering. The Around View camera is invaluable for moving in tight spaces.

Voice control 6.5

The system easily understands what you're saying. However, you'll have to go through multiple pages of prompts before you can issue your command as it does not understand natural language. Alternatively, the system can pass your commands directly to your connected iOS or Android device.
Author
Iraj Khan

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