2013 Nissan Murano Performance

7.0
Performance

The 2013 Murano remains powered by Nissan's VQ V-6--a 3.5-liter making 260 horsepower, and mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). In short, the engine powertrain is gutsy and very refined, but it won't satisfy any performance cravings.

Even though we're not enthusiastic about CVTs, this one is an exception and seems quite well matched to the engine, allowing smooth, brisk acceleration without an excess of engine noise. There are no pre-programmed manual 'gears' with this unit, though--a slight to driving enthusiasts--yet the Murano steers and handles with more verve and directness than you'd expect from such a vehicle. Steering is responsive, with an absorbent, slightly firm ride.

Driving enthusiasts won't find much pulse-raising about the 2013 Murano, but strong, smooth acceleration and able handling should meet family expectations.

The Murano is sold mostly in front-wheel-drive form, but there's also an all-wheel-drive model, and AWD is included with the top-of-the-line LE. Most models are front-drive, but all-wheel drive is available, and comes standard on the most expensive Murano LE. It's worth noting that gas mileage is 18/24 mpg at best--at a time when some crossovers about this size achieve much better on the highway especially. Properly equipped, the Murano can tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is as much as most minivans.

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