The Nissan Murano has gotten a round of improvements to stay relevant against new and updated mid-size SUV rivals, including the Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, Hyundai Tucson and Ford Edge. That’s tough company when you consider the first two are brand new for the 2019 model year and the second pairing are similarly fresh off of receiving significant upgrades.
Does the stylish Murano still cut a wide path through the competition, or is it starting to feel its age in the fast-paced SUV market? During our recent test drive, we found the 2019 Murano offers a smooth ride, a strong and efficient V-6 engine, and a sizable list of safety features. It also scored top marks when it came to our tests for child safety seat installation. This should elevate the Murano to the top of many SUV shopping lists … right?
Unfortunately, the Nissan falters in some important areas, including outward visibility, overall value and a continuously variable transmission that lacks refinement. To see our complete review of the 2019 Murano by Cars.com’s Brian Normile, be sure to click the related link above. Or keep reading if you want a quick take on the things we liked, and some things we didn’t, in this popular five-passenger SUV.
Things We Like
1. Safety Shield 360
Standard safety features on all Nissan Murano trim levels include forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot warning, a rearview camera and Nissan’s rear seat reminder system. The Murano we tested in SL trim was fitted with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360suite of features. These include items such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and high-beam assist. Strangely, Nissan lumps in a panoramic sunroof into this safety-conscious package.
2. Front Seat Comfort
The front seats of the Murano are nicely padded and offer plenty of comfort for long drives. For an extra bit of indulgence, heated and ventilated front seatsare fitted to the range-topping Platinum trim level.
3. Smooth Power From V-6
While many of its mid-size SUV rivals offer turbocharged four-cylinders, the 2019 Nissan Murano carries on with a 3.5-liter V-6 as the sole engine option. This is a smooth and well-behaved motor that delivers 260 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional across all four available trim levels.
4. Above-Average Fuel Economy
Despite having a couple more cylinders than much of its competition, the 2019 Nissan Murano scores solid marks when it comes to fuel efficiency. The Murano returns an EPA-estimated average of 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined; that holds true for the Murano in front- andall-wheel-drive format. That’s better than new rivals, including the Chevrolet Blazer and the surprisingly thirsty Honda Passport.
5. Stands Out From the Crowd
Love it or hate it, you can’t argue whether the Nissan Murano stands out from other mid-size SUVs. The floating roof was once something of a design coup, though the styling touch has been adopted by some of Nissan’s competition — we’re looking at you, Blazer. For the 2019 model year, the Murano has a slightly bolder front grille, and new LED headlights and taillights along with new paint and wheel options.
6. Adequate Cargo Space
While the Nissan Murano doesn’t set the standard when it comes to class-leading cargo room, the amount of space behind the rear seats should be more than enough for routine errands. If you really need to prioritize cargo capacity, it’s worth noting the 2019 Honda Passport offers substantially more space.
7. 5-Star Safety Rating
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recently awarded the 2019 Murano a perfect five-star rating for its performance in three crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has yet to rate the Murano for the 2019 model year; while its 2018 incarnation failed to secure a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus designation from IIHS’ ratings program, it earned the highest-possible scores in all crash testing, as well as for its front-collision avoidance system, falling short only in its headlight scores.
8. Multimedia Upgrade
Nissan has also upgraded the Murano’s multimedia system. Again, it’s not resetting the bar in the mid-size SUV segment, but the system is relatively easy to use and offers Apple CarPlayand Android Autocompatibility. We noted the system is an improvement over Nissan’s previous efforts, though key rivals deliver multimedia screens with superior graphics and menus. Credit to Nissan, however, because there are still knobs dedicated to volume and tuning.
9. Straight-A Car-Seat Safety
This matters a lot to anyone who’s struggled and sworn at a recalcitrant car seat installation. The Murano scored straight-A’s in all our tests for ease of installation in our Car Seat Check.
10. Smooth Ride
Even when riding on large 20-inch alloy wheels, we noted how smoothly and quietly the Nissan Murano makes its way down the road. Big wheels can lead to big jostles and jolts in a car’s cabin, but that’s not the case with this Nissan SUV.
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Things We Don’t
1. Stubborn Transmission
The Murano’s agreeable V-6 is hobbled by a stubborn continuously variable automatic transmission. It mutes the performance and dulls the power delivery. A lack of selectable drive modes also puts a damper on the driving experience.
2. Poor Visibility
Even those who love the look-at-me exterior design will grow weary of the limited view from the driver’s seat. Visibility toward the rear corners is hampered by small side windows. But what was surprising during our testing was how limited visibility is toward the frontof the Murano, too. The raked windshield and thick A-pillars can make spotting pedestrians or other obstacles a serious challenge.
3. No ProPilot Assist
Nissan offers its ProPilot Assist driving aid on the smaller and less-expensive Rogue SUV. Yet, it’s notably absent from the Murano. That seems an odd oversight, particularly when you consider the Murano is the larger and more-expensive vehicle.
4. So-So Steering
During our time with the 2019 Murano, we found the steering felt unnecessarily heavy during low-speed driving. This made positioning the Nissan a chore. That’s OK, because things improve from there, right? Mmm … not right. Steering feel doesn’t improve much when you build speed, either.
5. Nissan Rogue Could be the Better Bargain
Even if you disregard all other makes and models, Nissan still has a familial problem on its hands. That’s because the smaller Rogue SUV offers more cargo space, a lower price and is available with ProPilot Assist. The Rogue could simply be a better deal for anyone browsing a Nissan showroom.
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