The 2019 Nissan Murano is one of six crossovers or SUVs in Nissan's ever expanding lineup. This third-gen model hit showrooms back in 2015 and received a minor update for 2019 focused mainly on appearance. Like its predecessors, the current Murano is a stylish offering compared to models like the Rogue and Pathfinder, much the same way the Maxima relates to the Altima sedan. It may seem odd to have so many models right on top of each other in terms of size and price, but Americans bought more than 87,000 Muranos in 2018, an increase of 8.9 percent over 2017. That said, sales are down significantly through June 2019.
As before, power comes from a version of Nissan's long-running VQ engine line. This 3.5-liter V6 makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, sending power to all four wheels through a continuously-variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. Our fully-loaded Platinum model comes with niceties like leather seats with diamond-quilted inserts, ventilated front seats, heated seats both front and rear, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, LED lighting, a Bose audio system, and a 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A base front-wheel-drive Murano S starts at $32,415 with our Murano Platinum tester coming in at $46,420.
Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: The Murano is a crossover that isn’t confused about its purpose as a comfortable daily driver, but it also doesn’t offer anything special to set it apart from the other mid-sizers. Perhaps the most distinctive part about it is the design, yet it’s no more eye-catching than similarly stylish competitors like the Edge, Passport and Blazer. In fact, the Murano looks more like a generic crossover than any of those.
Comfort is the priority in all facets, and that’s probably the way it should be for the buyer Nissan is after here. The semi-aniline leather seats were big pillows that were shockingly great to sit in. There’s a dedicated leather pad for your right knee to rest against that is greatly appreciated. Then the armrests on both sides are positioned just right for relaxed driving, soaking up the highway miles. The center armrest actually has a little split in the cushions that acts as a neat little nook/resting place for your elbow and arm. Some may dislike it, but I found that it worked for me. These may seem like no-brainer, small things, but the Murano nails it all, and not every car does.
As for the rest of the interior … Nissan has some work to do. Even though this crossover was ever-so-slightly refreshed for 2019, it doesn’t feel it on the inside. A clashing mashup of fake wood and silver trim muck up the dash in an attempt at looking luxurious. I appreciate all the physical buttons to control the climate settings and radio, but the steering wheel buttons are incredibly ill-conceived. The most-used control — volume up and down — is just out of your thumb’s reach, meaning you have to physically take your hand off the steering wheel to press them. At that point the knob close to your right hand on the dash is easier to use. Then the cruise control “Cancel” button is a difficult stretch at the top on the right side. Pretty much everybody else makes these buttons usable without any sort of trouble like this, so Nissan really needs to get that layout changed.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I’ve always liked the looks of the Nissan Murano, and in Platinum trim, this thing is blinged out. I give Nissan credit for really going for it with this sometimes polarizing design. Nissan made the Murano, which was always quirky, into a sleek, futuristic design for the 2015 model year. I think they've pulled it off better than companies like Hyundai and Ford, which have also tried similarly aggressive styles with mixed results. The Murano’s prominent grille, angled headlights and long hood make a statement, while the chiseled beltline and raked roofline keep the design mojo going from stem to stern. Some think the Murano is a bit much. It probably is, but it’s a risk-taking design in a crowded segment.
Road Test Editor Reese Counts: Like so much of Nissan's current lineup, I forgot about the Murano about 10 minutes after I got out of it. It looks ... interesting? I don't know. I don't hate it, but I sure don't love it either. It's certainly more distinct than some of Nissan's other crossovers, but I'm not sure if that's a plus or minus. I do like the engine, or at least I like the power. With everyone going to downsized turbocharged inline-fours, it's good to see Nissan sticking with a naturally-aspirated V6. The VQ is a little uncouth, but I don't think most buyers will mind. Power is relatively smooth, though the CVT saps any bit of joy from the driving experience. It's fine I guess, but, like the Maxima, I don't know or understand who is buying these things.
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