2019 Nissan Murano Review

The Nissan Murano was introduced to Canada in 2003. It was the trailblazer of the mid-sized crossover segment and enjoyed many years of sales success. Fast forward to 2019, the Murano is in its third generation, and the SUV market has exploded. There is now more than a dozen competitors including the newly introduced Honda Passport and Volkswagen Atlas. Does the Murano still stand out among the crowd?

Thanks to Nissan Canada, I was loaned the 2019 Nissan Murano Platinum for a week to test drive. Below is my unbiased review.

I have always liked the exterior of the third generation Murano since its debut in 2015. It is one of the most bold looking mid-sized SUV on the market. The font fascia showcase the pronounced signature V-motion grille that has now trickled down to all the rest of Nissan lineups. The redesigned LED headlights is sharper, and the new LED fog lights looks sleek and modern.

The side profile of the Murano features an over-sized front wheel arch and new 18-inch or 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The rising belt line and the floating roof design keeps the car looking light and sporty on its feet.

The back of the car looks exceedingly handsome with the integrated roof spoiler and the signature boomerang tail lights. The rising rear bumper and the chrome trim highlight keep the lower portion of the rear interesting.

Nissan designers are determined to keep the exterior of the Murano exciting. It expresses the dynamic side of Nissan, but with an urban sophistication. Other details like the active grille shutter, fender lip moldings, and rear tire deflectors help the Murano to achieve its 0.31 coefficient of drag – on par with many sports cars.

The interior of the Murano is spacious, comfortable, and borderline luxurious. I say borderline because while the choices of material are mostly premium, the droopy layout of the dash and the rounded buttons on the steering wheels are not something you would find in a modern luxurious vehicle.

Besides those, the interior does indeed feel premium. The new semi-aniline leather- appointed seats with diamond-quilted inserts do not only look gorgeous, but also extremely comfortable to sit. The faux wood decorative trims are tastefully implemented.

Zero Gravity seats are standard for front and rear outboard occupants. The rear seats are extra comfortable with the three-cushion design. The large windows and oversized Power Panoramic Moonroof also gives the rear cabin an airy atmosphere.

The infotainment system of the Murano consists of a standard 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control centered between the outer wings. The user interface is nicely organized and responsive. All 2019 Murano grades come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In the instrument cluster is Nissan's Advanced Drive-Assist 7.0-inch high-resolution color display. The display shows real time vehicle updates as well as audio and navigation information. The large screen gives the Murano a high tech feel, unfortunately the control buttons in the steering wheel look quite outdated by comparison.

Our Platinum trim tester comes with a Premium 9-speaker Bose audio system that sounds fantastic. As a bonus, there are plenty of USB charging ports (both Type-A and Type C) for both front and rear passengers.

Safety Features and Drive Assist
The 2019 Murano models feature two new standard features – Nissan's innovative Rear Door Alert (RDA) system and Intelligent Driver Alertness monitor. The later learns each individual driver's steering patterns and helps alert the driver when drowsy driving is detected.

Most of the other safety features fall under the banner of the Safety Shield 360. It includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking.

I am impressed with the amount of tech that comes standard with the 2019 Nissan Murano. It earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and good ratings from all crash tests conducted by IIHS.

Every 2019 Murano comes equipped with a 3.5-litre V6 rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. All that power is coupled to the wheels via Nissan's contiguously variable transmission, Xtronic. The CVT feels more like a traditional automatic transmission due to the D-Step gear simulator. It feels smooth and responsive for the most part, but low end acceleration is still a bit sluggish. The towing capability is quite low at 1,500 lbs. This would not be your first choice if you need to tow anything substantial.

Thanks to the four-wheel independent suspension, the ride quality of the Murano is superb, but there is quite a bit of body lean in corners. The steering is light but lacks feedback. Overall, the driving characteristic of the car is geared toward comfort, quite a contrast from its sporty exterior.

Murano is available in front-wheel drive or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. Thanks to the CVT, both are relatively fuel efficient. AWD models are rated for 11.7 city and 8.3 highway (L/100km). The FWD models shave about 0.2L/100km off. Our mostly city test drive returns a 12.3 L/100km fuel economy rating.

Cargo Space & Storage
While Murano excels in style, cargo capacity is not its strong suit. It has one of the lowest cargo capacity in the segment. There is 880L of cargo behind the 2nd row seats, and 1840L of cargo with the seats folded flat. Not great, but also not horrible.

There are plenty of storage options throughout the interior. The storage compartment under the front center armrest is deep and big, so are the door packets. The center console also includes a compartment for rear occupants' smartphones, and there are deep pockets behind both front seatbacks.

While the 2019 Nissan Murano may not the most practical nor the quickest mid-size SUV on the market, the handsome interior and the premium interior still make it appealing to potential buyers.

For buyers looking for a people hauler with decent towing capacity, Nissan offers the Pathfinder. For about the same price, it can seat seven, tow up to 5000lb, and offer 2251L of cargo space with both rows of seats folded.

However, buying a car is as much emotional as logical. Based on the fact that Nissan Canada sold 13,239 Muranos and only 7,099 Pathfinders in 2018, it is clear that form can be more important than function when it comes to purchasing a new car. I do believe the Murano would benefit from a higher output drivetrain and a sportier suspension. That would truly make the Murano stand among the crowd as the sportiest SUV out there.

Test Vehicle
2019 Nissan Murano Platinum
$48,038 CAD with Freight & PDI
Gun Metallic


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