2019 Nissan Murano Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
February 20, 2019

Buying tip

To get the best active safety tech, you’ll need to add an option package to the 2019 Nissan Murano SL.

The 2019 Nissan Murano delivers traditional comfort wrapped up in an eye-catching shape.

The 2019 Nissan Murano is a five-seat crossover SUV that trades on its rakish lines and plush ride. Its looks alone make it a standout among competitors such as the comparatively pedestrian Honda Passport and Jeep Grand Cherokee, but the Murano is worth a look for its good performance and honest intentions.

We rate the 2019 Murano at 6.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

A mild restyle this year gives the 2019 Murano a fresher face outside and new infotainment software inside. Regardless of S, SV, SL, or Platinum trim level, its virtues remain the same: just five seats, surprisingly modest cargo capacity, and a reasonable price tag.

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Muranos come in either front- or all-wheel drive with a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Murano is neither sporty nor rugged. Instead, it’s something of a modern take on a classic boulevardier with its cushy seats and soft ride. At 23 mpg combined no matter which wheels are powered, the Murano’s fuel economy is about average for a mid-size crossover SUV.

Inside, the Murano’s dashboard is organized but light on flair compared to its flashy exterior. Materials are above average for a crossover SUV that costs about $32,500 to start, but they’re far from lavish on the range-topping Platinum.

Updated infotainment software and an 8.0-inch touchscreen bring the Murano into the modern era, but only just. The system is light on whiz-bang features such as a wi-fi hotspot and only the Murano Platinum can talk to a smartphone app for remote diagnostics and locking. Additionally, we’re unimpressed with its wash out-prone screen and we’ve struggled to keep iPhones connected to the standard Apple CarPlay.

The Murano has good interior space for four adults. The 31 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row is unimpressive for a crossover SUV that stretches 193 inches from bumper to bumper, however.

All 2019 Muranos come standard with automatic emergency braking, while blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts are standard on SV and higher trims. Lane-departure warnings and rear automatic braking are bundled together as part of a driver-assist package Nissan calls Safety Shield 360 and active-lane control is available on the SL and standard on the Platinum.

In crash testing, the Murano has traditionally performed well, although the 2019 model hasn’t been fully tested yet.

 
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2019 Nissan Murano

Styling

The 2019 Nissan Murano won’t be confused with other crossover SUVs in a parking lot.

We’ll give Nissan credit: The 2019 Murano is a mainstream crossover SUV with style.

We rate it at 7 out of 10, with two points above average for its exterior. If only the Murano’s interior was as daring. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Nissan Murano was treated to a modest update with new headlights and taillights plus revised wheel designs, but you’ll have to line up this year’s with last year’s to spot the differences.

The rakish, swept back roofline that gives the Murano a far less upright look than a conventional SUV carries over intact. Its big fenders give way to a short greenhouse. At the rear, the roof cascades downward at a sharp angle. The daring “floating” roofline is best appreciated in lighter shades, but we’ve seen black Muranos and don’t mind the look. At the rear, the Murano’s tailgate and taillights are busy, but that’s the way this crossover SUV operates.

Outsized in its details, the Murano nonetheless pulls off its look with more cohesion than some other Nissan designs.

If only its interior matched its exterior. Inside, the Murano is relatively pedestrian. Its buttons and controls are shared with other Nissans, which seems like a missed opportunity for what’s become the brand’s styling showcase.

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2019 Nissan Murano

Performance

The 2019 Nissan Murano’s composed ride is one of its best attributes.

The 2019 Nissan Murano smothers bumps far better than its racy styling and big wheels would suggest. We think its luxurious ride quality is worth a point above average, bringing it to a 6 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Murano’s 260-hp 3.5-liter V-6 is tasked with motivating 4,000 pounds of crossover SUV, which means acceleration is good but not spectacular. The V-6 produces enough low-end power that the CVT isn’t forced to keep engine revs high, which helps maintain a reasonably quiet cabin. More sound deadening than we expect at this price point helps, too, although the V-6 grumbles more on a cold morning than some newer designs.

Unlike most other new cars, the Murano uses hydraulic power steering that builds weight progressively in cornering and delivers a good on-center feel. At low speeds, the steering is heavy and the setup means some limitations in active safety tech compared to other vehicles that can steer themselves.

We’ve only driven all-wheel-drive Muranos and have found them to provide balanced, stable handling and good grip on dry pavement. A recent Murano SL struggled on icy roads on its all-season tires; winter rubber might be a good call for buyers in cold climates.

The Murano’s ride is best with the 18-inch alloy wheels standard on S and SV trims, but the 20s fitted to SL and Platinums still have enough sidewall to soak up bigger bumps.

Properly equipped, the Murano is rated to lug 1,500 pounds—enough for a small utility trailer, but that’s about it.  

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2019 Nissan Murano

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Nissan Murano has comfortable seats and plenty of space, but it’s bested by some rivals for carrying loads.

The 2019 Nissan Murano delivers on its promise as a five-seat crossover SUV. We appreciate Nissan’s honesty in not trying to cram a third row into it.

We rate it at 7 out of 10 with points above average for the way it handles passengers and another for its decent cargo space. Unfortunately, it loses a point for the weak range of the base Murano S trim’s six-way manual seat. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Front seat passengers are treated to an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat on all other trim levels. The passenger’s seat is four-way power-adjustable on SV and higher, meaning it can’t be raised or lowered.

The Murano’s standard cloth upholstery has a durable feel. The SL’s leather may not have come from the softest of cows, but the semi-aniline quilted leather on the Murano Platinum has a properly luxurious feel.

Rear-seat passengers have about 39 inches of leg room and around 38 inches of head room with the available moonroof. Skip the moonroof if you’re tall and you’ll see about two more inches of head room. The rear seat is well-padded and situated high enough off the ground for long-distance comfort.

At around 31 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat upright, the Murano is more spacious than sedans but not as versatile as many SUVs. Moreover, the cargo area is high off the ground. With the rear seat folded, the Murano’s cargo area swells to 65 cubes with the moonroof.

Honda found an extra 10 cubes in its smaller Passport and even the Jeep Grand Cherokee has more space.

The Murano’s interior features some nice touches such as soft plastics on the dashboard and upper sections of the doors and roof pillars wrapped in headliner material, but it takes stepping up to the range-topping Platinum for upholstery that matches the similarly priced Grand Cherokee Overland.

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2019 Nissan Murano

Safety

We’re still waiting on crash-test results for the 2019 Nissan Murano.

It’s too early for us to make a call on the 2019 Nissan Murano’s safety score. Last year’s crossover SUV faired well, but with room for improvement.

We’ll update this space when we know more. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Murano comes standard with a full complement of airbags and stability control as well as automatic emergency braking.

The Murano SV trim level adds blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts. A surround-view camera system and adaptive cruise control are optional on the SV and standard on higher trims. Murano SLs offer lane-departure warnings, active lane control, and rear automatic emergency braking in an option package that’s standard on the range-topping Platinum.

We’ll have to wait for the IIHS and the NHTSA to crash the 2019 Murano. Last year’s model was rated five stars by the NHSTA in all-wheel-drive configuration, but the front-drive model scored just four stars.

Subpar headlights last year held the Murano lineup from a Top Safety Pick award, but this year’s newly standard LED headlights might change that.

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2019 Nissan Murano

Features

The 2019 Nissan Murano is a good value, but we wish its infotainment was better.

We rate the 2019 Nissan Murano at 5 out of 10, giving it a point for its overall value in most trim levels. We’re less impressed with its infotainment software, which can be cumbersome and struggled to stay connected to our phones, so we take that point back. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With better infotainment and a few more standard features on the base Murano S, this crossover SUV could rate a commendable 7.   

The 2019 Murano comes in four grades: S, SV, SL, and Platinum.

The base Murano S costs about $32,300 and includes cloth upholstery, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports including two Type-C plugs, and keyless ignition. Nissan is stingy with some features, though, forcing buyers to opt for the $35,500 Murano SV for power-adjustable front seats, blind-spot monitors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, and a few other items. The Murano SV is also the gateway to options such as heated front seats, Bose audio, and adaptive cruise control, which are grouped in a costly $3,500 package.

At that point, it’s worth splurging for the $40,300 Murano SL, which builds on a loaded Murano SV with leather upholstery, heated rear seats, navigation, and 20-inch alloy wheels. We think it’s the best value in the Murano range. An extra $1,970 buys a panoramic moonroof and a few additional active safety features such as automatic high-beam headlights and active lane control.

Topping the lineup at about $44,500, the Murano Platinum comes with softer leather upholstery, cooled front seats, and a smartphone app that includes remote unlocking and locking and a few other functions.

All-wheel drive costs a reasonable $1,600 more on every trim level, which is less than some competitors charge to send power to each wheel.

2019 Nissan Murano infotainment

The Murano’s biggest weakness, as far as we’re concerned, is its mediocre infotainment system. Though its 8.0-inch touchscreen is large, its software is cumbersome and the display washes out completely in certain daylight situations.

We struggled to keep three different iPhones connected to Apple CarPlay via a USB cable. Using the built-in navigation software standard on Murano SL and Platinum trims isn’t a great substitute, either. Its graphics are dated and the on-screen icons for popular chain restaurants were comically inaccurate unless one of our neighbors is running a Panera Bread out of his garage.

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2019 Nissan Murano

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Nissan Murano is rated at 23 mpg combined no matter the configuration. That’s decent, but not stellar.

We rate the 2019 Nissan Murano at 4 out of 10 for its fuel economy, which is about mid-pack for a five-seat crossover SUV. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Unlike most rivals, there’s no punishment at the pump for selecting all-wheel drive. The EPA says that the 2019 Murano is rated at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined using regular unleaded gasoline regardless of which wheels are driven.

That lands the Murano somewhere in the middle of its competitive set.

A front-wheel-drive Ford Edge is rated at 25 mpg, while the front-drive Honda Passport comes in at 22 mpg. The most frugal Jeep Grand Cherokee is rated at just 21 mpg.

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$31,370
MSRP based on FWD S
 
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 7
Features 5
Fuel Economy 4
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2019 Nissan Murano Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Murano features a mild refresh
  • Rebates: Up to $4,500 in offers
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 36 months + $1,750 bonus
  • Lease: From $279 per month for 36 months
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