2020 Nissan Murano

2020 Nissan Murano Review: Looks Aren't Everything

by Morgan Carter

While it may only be five years old, the Nissan Murano feels far more dated than it should. Everything about it feels like a carry-over from the previous generation, with the same platform and powertrain forming the basis of the mid-size crossover. That's not to say the V6 is inadequate, it offers a decent 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, but it's not going to blow you away any more than it did ten years ago. Nevertheless, Nissan has made some effort to keep the Murano SUV current with competitors, refreshing its styling and adding a few gadgets here and there, such as smartphone integration and advanced driver-assistance features, but at a hefty starting price of $31,530, we expect a bit more. Sure the car looks good, but the quality is only skin deep, and its utility is dwarfed by smaller, more affordable compact SUVs like its sibling Rogue or the eminently capable Honda CR-V. Overall, the Nissan Murano's reach exceeds its grasp.

2020 Nissan Murano Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Murano?

After its significant restyling in 2019, the Nissan Murano only gets a few changes in 2020. The Nissan Safety Shield 360 has been expanded on every trim level, with automatic emergency braking and rear door alert now standard even on the base S. Furthermore, the standard features on the upper trims have been expanded, such as heated exterior mirrors and adaptive cruise control on the SV. The available packages have also been revised, with contents and names being changed. As for the color choices, Super Black has been added to the palette.

Pros and Cons

  • Attractive styling
  • Upscale and roomy interior
  • Plenty of standard and available features
  • Easy-to-use infotainment
  • Competitive fuel economy
  • Not very fun to drive
  • CVT makes engine whiney
  • Poor tow rating

2020 Nissan Murano Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,530
SV
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,160
SL
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,630
Platinum
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,730

2020 New Nissan Murano Exterior

The Nissan Murano's unique styling is perhaps its most standout feature in the segment. The traditional Nissan V-Motion grille is particularly pronounced to match the aggressive styling of the front fascia, while the sleek, full LED headlights further draw attention to the grille. LED daytime running lights come standard, too, complementing the classic LED taillights. The S and SV ride on 18-inch alloys, while the SL and Platinum each get their own uniquely styled 20-inch alloy wheels. Available to the SV and SL, but standard on the top-tier Platinum, is a dual-panel panoramic moonroof.

2020 Nissan Murano Front View Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Rear View Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Front Angle View Nissan
See All 2020 Nissan Murano Exterior Photos

Dimensions

While it may be a mid-size crossover, the Nissan Murano presents buyers with pretty competitive dimensions for a city-centric SUV. It's quite long at 192.4 inches in order to accommodate the 111.2-inch wheelbase, but it isn't overly broad at a width of 75.4 inches. Standing 67.8 inches tall, the crossover provides excellent views of the road, but it's mediocre ground clearance of 6.9 inches and poor angles of approach and departure make it an unreliable off-roader. With a starting weight of 3,823 pounds, the Murano is pretty hefty, and this increases up to 4,130 lbs on the all-wheel-drive Platinum.

  • Length 192.4 in
  • Wheelbase 111.2 in
  • Height 66.6 in
  • Max Width 75.4 in
  • Front Width 64.6 in
  • Rear Width 64.6 in

Exterior Colors

There aren't that many customization options for the SUV, with only eight paint colors comprising the palette. The entry-level S gets access to five of these paints - Deep Blue Pearl, Gun Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic, the new Super Black, and the $395 premium Pearl White Tricoat. The mid-tier SV adds Cayenne Red Metallic to the standard offering, while another $395 premium color is added, Sunset Drift Chromaflair. The range-topping SL and Platinum trims get access to Mocha Almond Pearl as the eighth and final color.

  • Super Black Metallic
  • Gun Metallic
  • Deep Blue Pearl
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Pearl White Tricoat
  • Cayenne Red Metallic
  • Sunset Drift Metallic
  • Mocha Almond Pearl

Murano Performance

The Murano takes the unusual decision of pairing a pretty competent naturally aspirated V6 engine with an indecisive continuously variable transmission. With the slow but steady modulation of the V6's 260 hp and 240 lb-ft, the powertrain is only able to make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in around 7.3 seconds. This may be on par with front-wheel-driven rivals like the Ford Edge, but when it swaps out for an all-wheel drivetrain, the Edge can do the same sprint in under seven seconds. The V6 engine gives the Murano a steady supply of power rather than the initial burst of a turbocharged variant. This makes the SUV easier to control as you accelerate, but you may not get to top speed as fast as you would like. Despite offering front-wheel- or all-wheel-drive, the Nissan crossover is only capable of towing up to 1,500 lbs - quite a bit less than the Ford's 3,500 lbs.

2020 Nissan Murano Front View Driving Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Rear Angle View Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Engine Bay Nissan

Engine and Transmission

Every model in the Murano range is powered by the same engine - a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 that develops 260 hp and 240 lb-ft. Power outputs are regulated by an Xtronic CVT that transfers it to the front wheels as standard, with the option of an all-wheel drivetrain. While this engine has been used on Nissan vehicles for well over a decade, it has only been slightly refined over that time, increasing its output from 245 hp to 260 hp. This only serves to further exacerbate the feeling that the Murano is a crossover out of its time, as modern V6 engines of similar capacity regularly deliver in excess of 300 hp. Still, a V6 is less peaky than the turbocharged four-pots that are becoming the norm on rival SUVs.

The CVT may not offer the same degree of quickness as a standard automatic transmission, but Nissan has refined it over the years to regulate the power outputs smoothly. Throttle responses are near-immediate with power delivery coming the moment you apply the accelerator. Just don't expect the power to climb as quickly as you may like thereafter.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Murano definitely feels like it should be a comfortable daily driver, first and foremost, but Nissan seems to have had different ideas when designing the crossover. Vehicles like the Murano should have the light steering expected from an SUV meant for town driving. Instead, it's obnoxiously heavy, giving the sense that the Murano wants to deliver a sporty, engaging driving experience. It does lighten up once you get going, but since you'll be spending most of your time maneuvering the bulky vehicle around cramped spaces in town, this will likely become tedious very quickly.

While it may not handle all that well, the Nissan has a very capable suspension that soaks up road imperfections well; that being said, we wouldn't take it off-road. Paired with the comfortable seats, this delivers a smooth ride that helps the Murano feel like the budget luxury SUV it could be with a little more refinement. Road and wind noise are well-dampened by the cabin, but the growls of the V6 engine sometimes filter through.

At the end of the day, the Nissan Murano isn't unpleasant to drive, but it's not exciting or relaxing either. It tries to be too many things, and fails to do any of them well.

Murano Gas Mileage

Considering it weighs in on the heavy side of the mid-size SUV segment, the Murano offers pretty competitive fuel economy even with its large V6 engine. Also unusual is that both the front-wheel- and all-wheel drivetrain achieve the same gas mileage returns of 20/28/23 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Similarly sized rivals fall a bit short of this mark, with the Honda Passport only getting 20/25/22 mpg in its most efficient front-wheel guise. Burning regular gasoline, the Nissan can cover a commendable 456 miles on its 19-gallon tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/28 mpg
* 2020 Nissan Murano S FWD

2020 Nissan Murano Interior

Upscale material choices and creative, if somewhat non-traditional, styling cues combine to create a unique interior that is very much in line with the Nissan ethos. Build quality is pretty good for a non-luxury brand, to the point that the Murano could almost be mistaken for an Infiniti. The standard and available features across the range have been expanded, but the controls are still laid out in an ergonomically rational way, making the cabin a comfortable place to be for long trips. The infotainment is a little dated so many years after the crossover's debut, but it still gets all the essentials, and it's very user-friendly, while there are enough available advanced driver assistance features to ensure peace of mind for the family-oriented buyer.

2020 Nissan Murano Dashboard Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Sunroof Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Infotainment System Nissan
See All 2020 Nissan Murano Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There are seating appointments for up to five occupants inside the Nissan Murano, with the standard Zero Gravity seats providing excellent comfort even over long drives. There is pretty decent headroom for both the front and rear rows, but very tall adults may still need to slide down in their seats a bit. The panoramic moonroof, which is standard on the Platinum and optional on the SV/SL, shaves an extra inch or so off the headroom. Legroom is definitely more generous up front, but there should still be sufficient space in the back for most adults - if you want to load the extended family, you'll need to consider larger 7-seaters, though. Getting in and out isn't too difficult thanks to the low ground clearance of the crossover, but the unusual styling of the Murano can cause visibility issues, thankfully, the available driver assistance features should remedy any problems.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.8 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Across the range, the interior of the Murano can be dressed in a variety of materials, but while their quality might be questionable at times, the levels of comfort are inarguable. The lower trim levels, S and SV, comes standard with cloth upholstery, available in either Graphite or Cashmere, but the SV gets access to similarly colored leatherette if you opt for the $2,350 Premium Package. The SL comes dressed in plush leather, also in Cashmere or Graphite, while the top-tier Platinum trim comes with classy quilted semi-aniline leather and adds Mocha to the color palette. A metallic trim comes standard with the Graphite upholstery while the Cashmere gets a light wood finish. The dark wood trim is reserved for the Platinum model.

2020 Nissan Murano Trunk and Cargo Space

Considering its overall size, the Murano doesn't supply as much cargo space as you might think. With the rear seats in place, it offers only 32.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is quite a bit below the Nissan Rogue's 39.3 cubic feet or the smaller Honda CR-V's 37.6 cubic feet. Still, 32.1 cubic feet should be enough for daily errands, easily accommodating over a dozen grocery bags. But you will find yourself running out of space quickly if you want to pack the entire family's luggage for a weekend getaway. If you need more cargo space and don't need a full complement of seats, the rear seats can be folded down in a 60/40 split to free up a total of 67 cubic feet, which is still less than what smaller rivals can provide. It is also worth noting that adding a moonroof to the spec list lowers interior capacity by up to 2 cubic feet.

Small-item storage doesn't impress either, with only the glove compartment being above average in size. The bin in the center console is tiny, so you'll likely be relying on the two cupholders to store any loose items. The center armrest cubby is not nearly as spacious as you'd expect from a mid-size SUV, and the door pockets are barely usable.

2020 Nissan Murano Trunk Space Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Trunk Space 1 Nissan
2020 Nissan Murano Trunk Space 2 Nissan

Murano Infotainment and Features

Features

With its near-luxury aspirations, even the entry-level Murano comes quite well equipped. Keyless entry and ignition make getting started that much easier, while a six-way manual driver's seat and manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column offer at least some levels of adjustment. The seats are upholstered in cloth, and dual-zone climate control with rear air vents adds to the comfort. A driver information display works alongside the cruise control, forward collision avoidance and driver alertness system to keep you safe and informed. Three 12-volt power outlets supplement the USB ports to ensure everyone is charged and connected. The SV adds remote engine start to enhance convenience while a ten-way power driver seat with two-way power lumbar support and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter keep the driver comfortable. Adaptive cruise control, lane intervention, rear sonar, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic alert bolster the driver-assistance features. Heated front and rear seats are added on the penultimate SL, along with leather upholstery, driver seat memory, and a heated steering wheel. Traffic sign recognition and a surround-view camera round out the safety suite. The Platinum maximizes luxury with semi-aniline leather upholstery and climate-controlled front seats, while a dual-panel panoramic moonroof adds that extra sense of class.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite isn't as streamlined or up-to-date as that of some more recent Nissan models, but it's easy-to-use and comes with all the basics. The eight-inch touchscreen interface grants access to Bluetooth functions, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AM/FM/MP3 playback, and SiriusXM, all channeled through the standard six-speaker sound system. Four USB ports are provided, along with an auxiliary audio input jack. If you want navigation functions, you will need to upgrade to the SL trim, which also adds SiriusXM Traffic, HD Radio, and an upgraded 11-speaker Bose premium sound system.

Nissan Murano Problems and Reliability

The Nissan crossover scores quite highly for reliability, with J.D. Power awarding it an 83 out of 100. No recalls have yet been issued for the 2020 model, and the 2018 model was clear of faults, too. However, it was recalled in 2019 for a fault with the back-up camera display, where images were not being displayed. The Murano is offered with a standard 36,000-mile/36-month limited warranty, with roadside assistance covered for the same period. The powertrain warranty is a bit longer at 60,000 miles/60 months.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Nissan Murano Safety

For 2020, the Murano crossover scored brilliantly across the board; after thorough review of the Nissan Murano, the NHTSA accorded it with a five-star safety rating in both its front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive guise. The IIHS' ratings for the Nissan Murano tally similarly, with the crash tests earning scores of Good in every crash test.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Murano Key Safety Features

The standard safety suite has been updated for the newest Nissan Murano. Apart from the standard ABS, EBD, and stability and traction control, every model now also comes with intelligent forward collision warning, a driver alertness system, and automatic emergency braking. Eight airbags are equipped around the cabin, including dual front, front knee, front side, and side curtain airbags. Available features on the upper trim levels include lane intervention, rear sonar, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, and a surround-view camera.

Verdict: 🏁Is the Nissan Murano a good SUV?

The SUV market is becoming more saturated by the year, and mid-size crossovers are particularly popular in the US market as they affordably combine utility with modern amenities and safety features. Or at least, that's what we expect them to do.

The Nissan Murano is a car that focuses a little too hard in areas that don't really matter to the average buyer, with handsome but cumbersome exterior styling cues and excessive focus on interior comfort at the cost of function. Immediate rivals like the Ford Edge offer a more spacious interior with a larger cargo area, while even compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V can haul more with less fuss. And while the Murano may offer most of the tech features you'd expect on a modern crossover, its rivals have more up-to-date systems that do the job better without launching their price up to the same $31.5k mark as the entry-level Murano S.

Nissan simply hasn't made the right amount of effort to keep its mid-size entry competitive in the market, and keeps it out of reach of many buyers by trying to make the SUV look better than it actually is. If you are a Nissan loyalist, the Rogue is a more practical crossover, but there are even better options out there even at a lower cost than the Nissan Murano that are worthy of a test drive.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Nissan Murano?

Nissan is certainly marketing the Murano as more of a near-luxury SUV than an entry-level family crossover, with the latest Nissan Murano price tag being several thousand dollars above similarly appointed rivals like the Honda CR-V. The entry-level S already breaks the $30k mark with a starting MSRP of $31,530. Tacking on a few extra features and a lot more safety features, the SV pushes this price up to $35,160. Moving even more towards the luxury end of the spectrum, the SL bumps the price by an extra $4,520, while the top-of-the-range Platinum asks for a hefty $43,730. Swapping out the front-wheel drivetrain for an all-wheel one adds an extra $1,600 to the bill. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Nissan's destination charge of $1,095.

Nissan Murano Models

While the Nissan Murano may come in four quite different trim levels - S, SV, SL, and Platinum - each one is powered by the same engine. The 3.5-liter V6 develops 260 hp and 240 lb-ft, which is directed via a continuously variable transmission to either the front wheels, or all four.

The base S trim rides on sensible 18-inch alloys and comes decked out with a full array of LED exterior lights - headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. Keyless entry and ignition are standard convenience features, alongside basic cruise control. The driver's seat offers six directions of manual adjustment, complemented by a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering column. The seats are upholstered in cloth and dual-zone climate control keeps the cabin temperature regulated. The eight-inch touchscreen display comes equipped with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM, while a six-speaker sound system spreads the audio throughout the cabin. There are three 12-volt power outlets and four USB ports distributed around the cabin. The standard safety suite comprises a rearview camera, a driver alertness system, and forward collision avoidance technology.

Focusing more on safety and driveability than anything else, the SV comes equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane intervention technology, rear sonar, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and high beam assist. A ten-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support improves driver comfort, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. Remote engine start adds an element of convenience, while the factory-installed roof rails increase utility.

The SL trim moves the Murano even further to near-luxury status by replacing the cloth upholstery with genuine leather, while heating both front and rear seats, as well as the steering wheel. LED fog lights improve visibility, while the imposing 20-inch alloys will ensure you get noticed, too. The infotainment suite is upgraded with navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, and HD Radio, while an 11-speaker Bose premium sound system replaces the standard fair. Traffic sign recognition and a surround-view camera are the final upgrades for the safety suite.

The Platinum is pure indulgence, boasting semi-aniline-appointed seats with quilted leather inserts. The front seats gain cooling in addition to their standard heating functions, and power adjustability is added to the steering column for even less fuss when finding a comfortable driving position. Lastly, a dual-panel panoramic moonroof is installed in the ceiling.

See All 2020 Nissan Murano Trims and Specs

Nissan Murano Additional Packages

Most of the trim levels are self-contained set-ups, but the Murano does offer some level of customization for the lower trims. The base S gets access to the Technology Package ($650), which brings its safety suite up to the same level as the upper trims by adding forward collision avoidance, rear automatic braking, lane intervention systems, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear sonar, and high beam assist. While it may be at the lower end of the range, the SV can be almost as luxurious as the upper trims by adding the Premium Package ($2,350). This sees the model equipped with LED fog lights, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, front and rear sonar, a surround-view camera, and a dual-panel panoramic moonroof. If you are happy with the features on the SL, but wish it came with the moonroof that is standard on the Platinum, then the Moonroof Package ($1,420) is there to solve your problem. It doesn't add anything beyond the moonroof, though.

🚗What Nissan Murano Model Should I Buy?

The Murano is not an SUV you pick because of how much financial sense it makes; there are many options in the USA that offer similar feature sets, and competitive performance and utility for a much lower price. No, Nissan has marketed this particular model as a near-luxury crossover. As such, we recommended you go for broke and get the most luxurious Nissan Murano model, the Platinum. It gets all the advanced driver-assistance features the range has to offer, as well as upper-tier comfort features like heated front and rear seats, comfy quilted leather upholstery, and the high-quality 11-speaker Bose premium sound system.

2020 Nissan Murano Comparisons

Nissan Rogue Nissan
Ford Edge Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Murano260 hp20/28 mpg$31,730
Nissan Rogue 181 hp26/33 mpg$25,490
Ford Edge 250 hp21/29 mpg$31,100

2020 Nissan Murano vs Nissan Rogue

While not technically positioned within the same segment as the Murano, the Nissan Rogue definitely presents itself as a potential rival. The compact crossover supplies competitive interior space, with quite a bit more trunk volume than its larger sibling. Obviously, the Rogue doesn't have the same luxury aspirations as the Murano, so its interior isn't quite so plush, but it gets most of the same features, although the Rogue's tech is slightly more up-to-date. The Murano's V6 is more potent than the Rogue's four-pot, which only puts out 170 hp and 175 lb-ft, but the smaller crossover boasts much better fuel economy to complement its lower price tag. In terms of value for money, the Rogue is the clear winner between the two Nissan SUVs.

See Nissan Rogue Review

2020 Nissan Murano vs Ford Edge

The Ford Edge is a more direct segment competitor to the Nissan Murano, with similar outputs of 250 hp and 275 hp from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, although it offers a more potent turbocharged V6 that develops 335 hp and 380 lb-ft. Both mid-size crossovers make the 0-60 mph sprint in about seven and a half seconds, but the Ford Edge can do it faster when equipped with an all-wheel drivetrain. The Ford is a bit bigger inside, though, with extra cargo space and a more refined infotainment suite to boot. Despite not having the steady power outputs of a capable V6, the Edge is still the better driver, with more city- and highway-friendly handling dynamics. With a lower starting price, better utility, and even more competitive fuel consumption estimates, the Ford Edge definitely has the edge in this comparison.

See Ford Edge Review

Nissan Murano Popular Comparisons

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2020 Nissan Murano Video Review

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$31,730 - $45,530
Price Range (MSRP)
Nissan Murano