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2012 Nissan Murano

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$29,960

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

20

Combined MPG

5

Seating capacity

189.9” x 68.1”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Robust V-6
  • Refined CVT
  • Ride quality
  • Interior quality
  • Rear visibility
  • Backseat functionality

The bad:

  • Mileage now trails competition
  • Slight accelerator hesitation
  • Sloppy gear selector feel
  • No Bluetooth on S trim level
  • Marginal roof-strength rating
  • Lacks high-tech safety options

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • S

    $29,960

  • SV

    $33,530

  • SL

    $37,230

  • LE

    $38,960

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Nissan Murano trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best SUVs for 2024

Notable features

  • Five-seat crossover
  • Dual-panel moonroof
  • Backup camera standard except on S trim level
  • Power liftgate optional
  • 20-inch alloy wheels optional

2012 Nissan Murano review: Our expert's take

By Joe Wiesenfelder

The 2012 Nissan Murano remains a comfortable five-seat crossover body-type SUV with a higher-quality interior than you’d expect from a non-luxury brand, but shoppers should watch out for this Nissan’s gas mileage.

Now three years into its second generation, the Nissan Murano is showing its age — not in the driving experience or its interior quality, but in efficiency. This stands out because the Murano was once one of the most efficient SUVs on the market, thanks to car-based construction and an efficient continuously variable automatic transmission, both of which were rare in the midsize class when the Murano made its 2003 debut.

What’s New
With the addition of an 
Nissan Murano SV trim level for 2011, the Murano comes in four trims: S, SV, SL and LE. Starting with the 2012 model, the Nissan Murano S trim level has a 7-inch monochrome display and the LE is eligible for a new optional Platinum Package, which adds 20-inch alloy wheels and a navigation system. Otherwise, there are few changes for 2012 (see the two model years compared). All trims come with front- or all-wheel drive (AWD). We tested a Murano SL AWD.

Rewards Await You
The Murano is a peculiar-looking crossover; always has been. If you can get past that, or like it, rewards await you inside. Particularly in the higher trim levels, the 
Nissan Murano has a nicely appointed cabin. The SL we drove had rich leather and one of my favorite elements: real aluminum trim. Why many luxury automakers continue to use obviously fake stuff boggles the mind. Speaking of luxury, since the beginning the Murano has bumped up against the Infiniti brand, which Nissan owns, but there was never a direct conflict. (The midsize Infiniti FX has rear-wheel drive and a separate platform altogether.) The all-new 2013 Infiniti JX35 is much more like the Murano, though it’s larger and seats seven. Merely $1,615 separates the top front-drive Murano trim from the base JX35, however.

The Nissan Murano’s three-passenger backseat doesn’t have the fore/aft adjustment we’ve come to appreciate in more recent crossover models, but those in the rear seats won’t be hurting for legroom, despite a specification that’s lower than those of a few key competitors. The cargo area is large enough, too.

 

Murano vs. Midsize Competitors: Key Differences
  Nissan Murano Ford Edge Hyundai Santa Fe Toyota Highlander
Front legroom 43.6 40.7 42.6 43.2
Rear legroom 36.3 39.6 36.8 38.3
Cargo volume
(cu. ft., all seats raised/all folded)
31.6 / 64.0 32.2 / 68.9 34.2 / 78.2 10.3* / 95.4
Base towing capacity (pounds) 3,500 2,000 2,000 1,500
*Behind third row; with third row folded, volume is 42.3 cu. ft.
Source: Automakers

All told, the rear seats are exceptionally well executed. A canvas strap on the door side of the outboard seats allows passengers to adjust the 60/40-split backrest’s angle easily. The seats also fold flat in a single step. Because they’re spring-tensioned, you can lower them from the cargo area, too, using levers on the corresponding side. Even better, an optional power return feature on the higher two trim levels lets you raise them from the same location. If a passenger opens the backdoor to find the seat folded, the driver can raise it remotely using a switch on the dashboard.

To see how various child-safety seats fit in the Murano, click here.

Comfort & Poise
All the interior niceties would be meaningless if the 
Nissan Murano were otherwise disappointing, but that’s far from the case. It provides a good mix of ride comfort and handling poise, and the standard 3.5-liter V6 has plenty of power. The Murano was an early adopter of the continuously variable automatic transmission, and its pairing with Nissan’s V6 has arguably been the best CVT execution on the market. Even so, time has passed, and this time around we noticed some hesitation in accelerator response with the CVT, especially from a standing start. It was consistent and predictable, which makes it a bit less troubling, and there’s no shortage of conventional automatics that exhibit the same behavior, and often exhibit worse. Just be sure to pay attention to it if you go for a test drive.

Falling Behind
What hasn’t aged as well are the Murano’s gas mileage figures, which have long been among its high points in this vehicle class, especially when equipped with AWD. At an estimated 18/24 mpg city/highway for front-wheel and 18/23 mpg for four-wheel drive, the mileage hasn’t changed, but the landscape has. Comparable crossovers are now more efficient, including the Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Highlander (see base versions compared). Likewise, models with three rows of seats, like the Honda Pilot, are more efficient, as is the Ford Explorer if you select the optional turbocharged engine. A literal heavyweight, the pricey Volkswagen Touareg falls behind the Murano at 16/23 mpg, but is also available in high-mileage diesel and hybrid versions.

Safety
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2012 
Nissan Murano rated four stars overall out of five. Its rollover rating — which predicts rollover likelihood — is a typical four stars. Unfortunately, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s roof-strength test — which predicts occupant protection in an actual rollover — the Murano scored Marginal, which is below average. This relatively new test cost the Murano the Top Safety Pick designation it had held previously thanks to Good scores in the other tests.

As is required of all vehicles starting with the 2012 model year, the Nissan Murano comes with anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability system. The front seats include side-impact airbags and active head restraints, and there are side curtain airbags to protect both the front and rear seats. See all the standard safety features here.

Perhaps another sign of this Nissan’s age is the absence of active safety features — things like radar-based blind spot warning, pre-collision brake assist and a lane departure warning system.

Murano in the Market
A longtime Cars.com Best Bet, the 
Nissan Murano lost the designation in 2012 due to its below-average mileage and substandard roof strength, but it remains a favorite among Cars.com editors thanks to all its benefits. If you aren’t concerned about a mile per gallon here or there, the Murano still stands tall against newer competition.

 

Send Joe an email  

 

Photo of Joe Wiesenfelder
Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior 4.6
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value 4.5
  • Exterior 4.6
  • Reliability 4.6
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

1.0

Transmission problems

Do not buy this car,unsafe to drive and has serious mechanical problems.The dealer will not fix this car and will sell it without checking problems.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 1.0
  • Interior 1.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 1.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Transporting family
  • Does not recommend this car
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful. Did you?
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1.0

The worst transmission ever

Transmission is the worst .and it’s very expensive to replace also it’s always dose go bad and then u stuck with the car also the car worth 2000 and transmission coast any thing from $6000 to $8000 and that’s ridiculous

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 4.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does not recommend this car
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful. Did you?
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5.0

Love it

This is probably one of the best vehicles that I ever owned taking it to North Carolina twice from Long Island New York and it was an amazing trip great gas mileage for an SUV quiet comfortable my only complaint is that you can't change the stereo head unit other than that this is a perfect vehicle

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does recommend this car
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful. Did you?
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See all 92 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2012 Nissan Murano base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
4
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
4
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
3
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
4
Overall rating
4
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
17.9%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
4
Side pole rating driver front seat
4

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan Certified Select
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Nissan and non-Nissan vehicles less than 10 years old and less than 100,000 miles. (Nissan vehicles less than 6 years from original new car in-service date must have more than 60,000 to qualify for Certified Select.)
Powertrain
6 months/6,000 miles from date of sale
Dealer certification required
84-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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