Overall, the mid-size Nissan Murano shows off what's best about the new-generation crossover utility vehicles. It's a station wagon when you get down to it—only one that's a good deal more voluptuous, with smooth, unified styling inside and out.
This generation of the Murano is much more flamboyant than the first one, but the toothy, chromey grille in the 2012 remains a distraction from the rest of the buff, smoothly integrated design.
The Murano was completely redesigned for 2009, and at that time, aside from that controversial grille, it got a cleaner, sleeker look on the outside, plus a more sophisticated-looking interior. Last year, Nissan already toned down the look in front a little bit, by adding some running lamps to flank it, and by also reducing the grille's size. It complemented those tweaks last year with a somewhat cleaner tail lamp style.
With a new two-tiered design that also carries over some of the bulbous, curvaceous themes of the exterior, the instrument panel of the 2012 Murano ends up hinting of Infiniti as much as it's coordinating with the Maxima sedan and Quest minivan (two other upscale models in the Nissan lineup). With a screen (nav system or trip computer) up top and audio/climate functions below, the center stack is both stylish and logically arranged, with a set of menu buttons and a controller for screen-based functions in between. And a flat, ordinary set of instruments has been replaced with hooded dials, in a multi-layered arrangement.