The Nissan Murano entered its third generation in 2015, and for 2019, receives a host of visual and tech updates. That’s a good thing, as the competition in the two-row crossover SUV set is stiffer than ever.
That’s an advantage over Murano’s smaller sibling, the compact Rogue SUV, which outsells the Murano by a factor of 4 to 1 but lacks Murano’s power and panache. The smaller-sized utilitarian Rogue cannibalizes Murano sales, with more interior cargo space and costs $6,350 to $9,000 less. Nissan wants you to just buy one or the other.
Murano boasts an eye-catching exterior, comfortable interior with a touch of elegance; ample horsepower, driver safety aids and top crash safety ratings.
From the outside, the Murano gets restyled LED headlamps and taillights, new LED fog lights, a black-painted front bumper section that visually heightens the grille, and redesigned 18- and 20-inch wheels. Inside, the top-spec Platinum model gets fancier with diamond-stitch patterned, semi-aniline leather, and all models up the airbag count with side airbags for the rear seat and knee airbags for the front passenger. Additionally, Nissan’s rear door alert is now standard (if a rear door is opened before a trip but not reopened afterward, the system honks the horn to remind the driver to check the rear seat). The available navigation system features enhanced graphics including satellite imagery and adds traffic-sign recognition and online POI search capability.
Front seat passengers are treated to an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat on all other trim levels. The passenger’s seat is four-way power-adjustable on SV and higher, meaning it can’t be raised or lowered.
The Murano’s standard cloth upholstery has a durable feel. The SL’s leather may not have come from the softest of cows, but the semi-aniline quilted leather on the Murano Platinum has a properly luxurious feel.
Rear-seat passengers have about 39 inches of leg room and around 38 inches of head room with the available moonroof. Skip the moonroof if you’re tall and you’ll see about two more inches of head room. The rear seat is well-padded and situated high enough off the ground for long-distance comfort.
At around 31 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat upright, the Murano is more spacious than sedans but not as versatile as many SUVs. Moreover, the cargo area is high off the ground. With the rear seat folded, the Murano’s cargo area swells to 65 cubes with the moonroof.
The Murano is fine to stay in its lane, but this generation is now midway through it lifecycle. While the relatively minor changes for 2019 may be welcome, they’re not likely to be a bulwark against the rising tide of entrants flooding the segment.
The base Murano S costs about $32,300 and includes cloth upholstery, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports including two Type-C plugs, and keyless ignition. Nissan is stingy with some features, though, forcing buyers to opt for the $35,500 Murano SV for power-adjustable front seats, blind-spot monitors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, and a few other items. The Murano SV is also the gateway to options such as heated front seats, Bose audio, and adaptive cruise control, which are grouped in a costly $3,500 package.
At that point, it’s worth splurging for the $40,300 Murano SL, which builds on a loaded Murano SV with leather upholstery, heated rear seats, navigation, and 20-inch alloy wheels. We think it’s the best value in the Murano range. An extra $1,970 buys a panoramic moonroof and a few additional active safety features such as automatic high-beam headlights and active lane control.
Topping the lineup at about $44,500, the Murano Platinum comes with softer leather upholstery, cooled front seats, and a smartphone app that includes remote unlocking and locking and a few other functions.
All-wheel drive costs a reasonable $1,600 more on every trim level, which is less than some competitors charge to send power to each wheel.