2015 Nissan Murano Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
July 1, 2015

The 2015 Nissan Murano lures in empty-nesters with its flamboyant new design, then hooks them with just the right mix of confident performance.

The 2015 Nissan Murano mid-size crossover is at once a charming outlier and a carefully designed inside job that, whichever way you see it, breaks out of the crossover mold in meaningful ways.

The flamboyant, head-turning Murano is quite the icebreaker. Elegance, style, and luxury-like ambiance—not ruggedness and trail prowess—are the focus of the Murano. It’s not aimed so much at diaper-changing parents and carpool duty, either; those are the roles of Nissan’s Rogue and Pathfinder, after all. And performance might take second stage to comfort; but to the older, albeit style-conscious empty-nester couples Nissan is targeting more than ever with this redesigned Murano, that’s quite alright.

The 2015 Murano takes some of the style statement for the Pathfinder and amplifies it—essentially arriving to dealerships with much of the look of the Resonance Concept that Nissan rolled out at auto shows less than two years ago. And it’s a dose of what we hope the upcoming Maxima will have even more of.

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Nissan designers aimed to counter the heavy, chunky look of traditional sport-utility vehicles with the Murano, and we think they brilliantly succeeded—not only in that, but in producing a vehicle that’s nearly everyone will agree is one of the best-looking contemporary crossovers.

With the fully realized ‘V-motion’ grille and its lines continuing upward and onward into the hoodline, ‘boomerang’-style headlights and taillights that frame some of the most expressive creases and curves in any production model today, and to top it all off, a unique ‘floating’ roof with blacked-out pillars and a distinct ‘arc’ in the beltline pinching it upward near the tail, the Murano looks like no other crossover on the market from the outside. Inside, it’s not quite as daring, but its ‘jet-age’ inspiration and ‘panorama’ layout is grander, swoopier, and a little bit more daring than in rival models, all while keeping the layout simple and accessible.

To some, the Murano’s very expressive exterior may hint at a very engaging, emotional driving experience; but that’s not so much the case. The empty-nester types that the Murano is taking aim at want confident performance, but things like ride quality and cabin quiet take priority over that. What powers the Murano is a version of what’s powered mid-size Nissan cars and crossovers for years—the 3.5-liter double-overhead-cam V-6, making 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired to the latest iteration of the automaker’s ‘high-torque’ continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), here omitting things like a tow mode or a low range. In front-wheel drive or AWD form, the Murano delivers what matters to its target buyer: strong, confident, refined performance, all without sacrificing too much comfort along the way.

Although the exterior is as extroverted as can be, it doesn’t cut into interior space and usability. Inside, you’ll find a lot of passenger space, reasonably good cargo versatility, and a quiet, refined ambiance throughout. The driving position is just right, and the rather low-set dash should allow even shorter drivers to feel comfortable in this model, while there’s plenty of headroom above, even for tall drivers with the available moonroof. Not everyone will love the so-called Zero Gravity seats, but the outboard back seats in the Murano are true comfort zones, contoured for adults and with plenty of space—ideal for the double dates and Wine Country touring that Nissan profiled as targets.

In addition to a safety set that’s already solid, the Nissan Murano SL and Platinum models include standard blind-spot monitors, as well as rear cross-traffic alerts, which can at parking speeds warn you of vehicles approaching from the side, while the available surround-view camera system can spot and warn of vehicles or objects with a warning chime and notification. These systems and the forward-collision warning system use information from four cameras and three radar sensors to spot issues ahead and help react to them quicker; they’re optional as part of a package on those SL and Platinum models.

The Platinum, with features like heated-and-cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and power-folding rear seats, is indeed new to the lineup for 2015, and it’s Nissan’s attempt to offer an even better-equipped, top-of-the-line model that, as we see it, truly competes with luxury-badged models like the Lexus RX 350 and Acura MDX—in all but the cachet of the luxury badge itself, of course.

For the S and SV models, the feature list is quite robust—especially if you gauge it on value, as the Murano comes with a price tag that undercuts the Lexus RX and Acura MDX by ten grand. Move up to the SL and new top-of-the-line Platinum models, and you get a lot more, albeit at a price that approaches those luxury-badge models.

We appreciate the simplicity of the Murano’s interfaces, overall, as they’re clean and well-conceived, with some physical buttons where they make sense. All models except the Murano S include an upgraded infotainment system with a larger eight-inch multi-touch screen, voice recognition for navigation and audio, and SiriusXM Travel Link services for fuel prices, weather, movie listings, stock information, and sports scores.

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November 25, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano AWD 4-Door Platinum

3rd Gen Murano Awesome

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This is my second Murano. I am very pleased with the improvements made in this new generation. Very nice exterior and interior. Entertainment/Nav very easy to use. Looking forward to some road trips.
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October 3, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano FWD 4-Door Platinum

Great crossover but too soon to tell in long run.

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Have only had the Murano for a few weeks but everything seems great at this point. Love the style (inside & outside) and looks like fuel economy will exceed epa estimates. Was concerned about ride quality with... + More »
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August 17, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano FWD 4-Door SL

Great quite ride, very safe w/tech package. Wife just loves it.

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The ride is both quite and soft. I really like the infotainment system and the tech package w/ adaptive cruise control. The 360 degree camera is so nice because it's a hard vehicle to see out of when backing... + More »
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July 29, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano AWD 4-Door Platinum

Great car with dangerous Cruise Control

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This is our 3rd Nissan. Our last was a 2011 Murano which my wife loved. When it was time for a new car Murano was our first choice. The Good: Interior is nice and new seats are great for long trips. Gas... + More »
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May 18, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano AWD 4-Door SL

Excellent highway cruiser and a great value

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I have just over 1000 miles on my AWD Murano SL with the technology package. Just got back from a trip to Houston where it performed very well during very severe weather with heavy rain and flash flooding. I... + More »
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May 13, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano AWD 4-Door SL

Unmatched in ride quality , interior comfort, roadholding and elegance, period!

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The combination of design, comfort, and safety offers a new reference point to the automotive industry. My blue 2015 Murano SL rides like a magic carpet, has seating more comfortable than my living room, and... + More »
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May 12, 2015
2015 Nissan Murano FWD 4-Door SL

We're impressed with the styling and technology of the newly designed Murano. The Intelligent Cruise Control is wonderful for ease of highway driving. The 360. Cameras are terrific. Getting used to the surround cameras, but becoming more confident in c

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Style, technology, safety (rated # 1 in Midsized SUVs), gas mileage - 26 mpg highway. Seats are a bit firm in the SL with leather. Particularly taken by the design! Considered a Lexus RX 350, but chose the... + More »
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