The Murano nameplate has been offered by Nissan since 2002, and from the offset it has always been a vehicle that was a bit out of the ordinary! The Murano never pretended to be an SUV, but as a proud crossover, ready to tackle the chores of the urban jungle.
By Nauman Farooq
Now in its third-generation model, and updated for the 2019 model year, the Murano carries on; but is it still a trendsetter or has become more mainstream? Let’s find out:
Styling: Each generation of the Murano has managed to look completely different from the model it replaced – I really like when a car company does that, shows they actually put some effort – and each model has adopted a style that cannot be described as conventional!
In fact, part of the success of the Murano nameplate can be attributed to their futuristic -trendsetting- styling. This current Murano is no different, with very exaggerated lines; you’d either call it very striking, or think it looks fussy!
Personally, I prefer the look of the second-gen Murano, but there is no denying that this third-gen Murano is very aerodynamic, hence it can give you fuel economy figures you just don’t expect from something this big and heavy – more of that later.
For 2019, the styling is mildly updated, with the most obvious difference being its larger front grille. So, whether you like the styling of the 2019 Murano or not, you will like the results of its aero efficiency.
Interior: Step inside, and you’re greeted by a spacious interior, which in my “Platinum” trim tester came with a lot of equipment. So, you not only got a reversing camera, you get an around-view monitoring system too. You also get navigation, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, an incredible Bose Premium Audio system with Sirius XM radio, and a whole lot more!
So, from the looks of things, this Murano is a nice place to be, and for the most part, it is; but it isn’t perfect!
First of all, the center console is very chunky, as is the dashboard, so while this is a big vehicle, it isn’t as spacious as you’d expect it to be. I had a passenger who was about 5’10” and he had to push his seat back quite a lot to prevent his knees going into the dashboard – he ended up feeling sunk into the car, not ideal for looking out on your travels.
Both, me and my passenger, also made note on how many different shades of plastic is used to make this interior, and what’s annoying is that there is no symmetry – the plastic bits of the steering wheel doesn’t match anything else in the interior; thats odd! Then there is the wood – let me rephrase that, fake wood – which seems to have been inspired by the Jaguar XJ, but I don’t think it works in this application.
On the plus side, the trunk is huge, space in the rear seats is plenty, and the front seats -which are heated and cooled- are fairly comfortable, even on long drives.
In short, if Nissan would only pay more attention to details, the Murano would end up with a far nicer interior that blends its style harmoniously – although I suspect that most people buying a vehicle like this, aren’t paying much attention to such details anyway!
Powertrain: Only one engine is offered with the Murano, and thankfully, it is a proper V6 – not some tiny four-pot turbo. The engine you’ll find under the hood is a 3.5L V6, which features double overhead cams, and 24 valves. It produces a fairly unstressed 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. This motor is connected to a CVT gearbox, which is not ideal, but at least it is a stepped CVT, hence it feels better to drive than the traditional CVT units.
Depending on the trim you pick, you either get front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive – as in my Platinum tester.
The drivetrain is smooth, which is important to buyers of such vehicles.
Performance: As you’d expect from a vehicle that weighs 1824 kg, and equipped with a CVT, performance is not going to be its strong point – and it isn’t!
The run from 0 to 100 km/h takes about 7.5 seconds, and it’ll top out at about 193 km/h – respectable numbers, but by no means exhilarating.
Driving Dynamics: No Murano I’ve ever driven has been exciting, and this is no exception. It is a large vehicle, with a unsporty transmission, and vague steering. The Murano might look sporty, but it really isn’t designed to be a dynamic vehicle.
While it might not be made to carve through back roads, it is very comfortable – it glides over bumps that would send a painful jolt in most of its rivals.
During my test week, I had to do a lot of highway driving, and the comfy ride, along with its ProPilot Assist system -adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist- ensured a fairly stress free commute.
Fuel Economy: This is what presented the biggest surprise to me, during my test week – this large crossover is quite economical. On the highway, I was averaging 7.4 L/100 KM, which is simply incredible for a non-hybrid vehicle of this girth. My overall economy test of city and highway driving, produced a test number of 10.4 L/100 KM, which is also very good.
Is this due to aerodynamics, powertrain, or both? Well, however Nissan achieved this, they need to be applauded for making a large crossover that drinks like a midsize sedan.
Pricing: The base Murano S model is yours from $32,448. The Platinum edition -as tested- is yours from $46,198 – which means it is priced quite well compared to its rivals.
Verdict: The 2019 Nissan Murano might not offer a dynamic drive, and those who pay attention to details might feel puzzled by its interior layout and materials, but for those who have to do a lot of driving, will be thankful for its fuel economy.
It’s not perfect – not even close – but the Murano does have some redeeming qualities. Now, if they’d only offer a Cross Cabrio version again, I for one will be very happy.