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2019 Nissan Murano

$31,370 - $45,230
Price Range (MSRP)
Nissan Murano

2019 Nissan Murano Test Drive Review: Stylish But Confused

by Jared Rosenholtz

It's been four years since Nissan released the third-generation Murano but in reality, it feels like much longer. That's because the third-generation Murano rides on the same D Platform used on the second-generation model and it even features the same 3.5-liter V6 engine. So, if you want to get technical, the Murano's platform dates back to 2009 and the VQ35DE can trace its roots back to 2002.

While the Murano is clearly showing its age, Nissan has attempted to keep it fresh for the 2019 model year with some visual upgrades and new technology. It still isn't the most advanced SUV in the lineup but Nissan sent us a 2019 SL AWD model to see how it fairs with the new changes.

2019 Nissan Murano Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Murano?

You'll recognize the 2019 Nissan Murano by its restyled front fascia which now includes LED headlights, helping it look fresh and contemporary which is some feat considering the fact that it has been around since 2015. Inside there are a number of significant changes including new diamond-quilted leather seats on the top-spec trim, as well as a rear-seat reminder and driver drowsiness system. The navigation system now features Google Assistant and a rear exit warning system. Active driver assistance features are optional on the SL and standard on the platinum and include rear cross-traffic alert and automatic braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and auto high-beam headlamps.

Pros and Cons

  • Lots of room in the back
  • Comfortable seats
  • Good fuel economy
  • Smooth CVT
  • Engine can feel lethargic
  • Forward visibility is limited
  • Dated technology
  • Mismatched interior trim

Murano Exterior

Since its launch in 2002, the Nissan Murano has defied the ordinary by employing striking exterior designs that set it apart from the rest of the midsize crossover SUV market. For 2019 Nissan has changed things up with a more pronounced V-Motion grille and new headlights which sharpen up the front. Standard exterior features include 18-inch alloy wheels and LED lighting on the base model. Premium models are offered with a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate and LED fog lights. 20-inch alloys and other appearance alterations such as silver roof rails are included in the top trims.

2019 Nissan Murano Front Angle View
2019 Nissan Murano Side View
2019 Nissan Murano Rear Angle View
See All 2019 Nissan Murano Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Officially classified as a five-door mid-size crossover, the 2019 Nissan Murano offers class-competitive dimensions when compared to rivals such as the Honda Passport or its sibling, the compact Nissan Rogue. The Murano is 66.1 inches tall, and sports a maximum width of 75.4 inches and rolls on a 111.2-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance is a factor that comes into play when comparing crossovers; the Murano sports a disappointing 6.9-inch ground clearance, while the Rogue has 7.8 inches of clearance. In terms of curb weight, the Murano leans on the heavier side of the midsize crossover segment, weighing in at 3,823 lbs in base model FWD form, 369 pounds more than the Rogue, but can weigh up to 4,137 pounds in Platinum AWD spec.

Exterior Colors

In keeping with its eccentric exterior styling, the Murano is available in eight different colors that range from the pedestrian Pearl White TriCoat all the way to the wonderfully bold Sunset Drift ChromaFlair orange. Other colors on offer include Gun Metallic, Cayenne Red, Deep Blue Pearl, and Magnetic Black. Extra-cost color options such as Sunset Drift and Pearl White Tricoat come at a $395 premium but are worth the extra cost, especially that sunset golden orange. Our tester was sent to us finished in the bold shade of Sunset Drift, which would be our number one choice amongst the available colors.

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

Murano Performance

A large capacity naturally aspirated V6 mated to a CVT automatic transmission might not sound like fun, but it is capable of booting the Murano to sixty in around 7.3 seconds, which is almost half a second slower than the time posted by the 2015 model, despite being mechanically unchanged. One benefit of using a big V6 engine is the way in which it delivers its power: there's a linear climb in power that starts relatively low in the rev range, and continues up to redline, which stands in contrast to most small-capacity turbo engines which dump all their power in the early to midrange and then run out of steam at the top. The CVT gearbox allows the Murano to remain within its optimal powerband at all times. Available in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants, all models are accorded with a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs.

2019 Nissan Murano Engine Bay
2019 Nissan Murano Engine
2019 Nissan Murano Engine

Engine and Transmission

Nissan offers a single engine and transmission for the entire range. Powering the 2019 Murano is a 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 that features variable valve timing, direct injection and drive by wire throttle control and manages to kick out 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The VQ35DE V6 engine has been used in other Nissan cars such as the 350Z and Infiniti G35. Power is sent to the front, or all four wheels via an Xtronic continuously variable transmission and the rear wheels can be detached from the transmission on-demand to save fuel.

The VQ35DE originally produced around 245 hp in the first-generation Murano, so it has only gained a marginal amount of power in its decade-plus on the market. This powertrain certainly feels its age - with most modern V6s producing over 300 hp - but it does feel smoother than most turbocharged four-cylinders. Nissan has also come a long way with its CVT, which feels responsive when linked to this V6. Mashing the accelerator is met with a near-instant response from the transmission, providing quicker access to the power than many traditional gearboxes.

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

Driving the Murano is a mixed bag, which left us in doubt of the car's mission. Some elements, like the soft seats and floaty suspension, make it feel like a budget luxury option to a Lexus RX, while heavy steering tuning makes it feel like Nissan also wanted the Murano to feel sporty. At low speeds, the steering becomes almost unbearably heavy before finally lightening up a bit when you start moving at normal speeds. It's the kind of steering you'd expect from the 370Z, not a mid-size SUV.

But aside from the absurdly heavy steering, the Murano rides well and is quiet at high-speeds, making for a competent daily driver. Power is always on hand, though the Murano feels sluggish compared to rivals like the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Edge, especially the ST model. We wish Nissan would have focused more on one ethos - either make it comfortable or make it sporty. Instead, the Murano feels like an amalgamation of both sport and luxury where neither one wins out over the other, resulting in a forgettable driving experience.

Murano Gas Mileage

Nissan's official numbers are 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined for both the front-wheel and all-wheel-drive models, a feat achieved by having an AWD system than can disconnect on-demand. During our testing, we averaged an impressive 22 mpg. These numbers are even more impressive considering the fact that the Murano is powered by a large-capacity V6, which has clearly become more efficient since it arrived on the market in 2002. By virtue of a smaller engine and less weight to carry, the Rogue is able to best those figures, while rivals like the Honda Passport are unable to match them. A 19-gallon fuel tank enables the Murano to theoretically travel for up to 456 miles on one fill.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/28 mpg
* 2019 Nissan Murano S FWD

Murano Interior

The elegantly simple interior of the 2019 Murano offers decent build quality and ergonomics which blur the lines between Nissan and the more luxurious Infiniti brand. As is tradition, some unconventional interior styling choices make their way into the cabin of the Murano, but the functionality remains excellent. Standard interior features across the range include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, push-button start, and a seven-inch driver-assist display. Features such as power-adjustable seats, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation become standard issue on higher trim levels.

2019 Nissan Murano Dashboard
2019 Nissan Murano Driver Seat
2019 Nissan Murano Rear Passenger Seats
See All 2019 Nissan Murano Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Nissan's Zero Gravity front and rear seats are among the most comfortable we've tested and the Murano boasts plenty of passenger space. The rear seats offer 38.7 inches of legroom, which is spacious, but not as large as the Chevy Blazer or Ford Edge. Headroom is also generous with 39.9 inches up front and 39.8 inches in the back.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Nissan offers various seat material and color options depending on trim level. The lower trims are available with either black or beige cloth, middle trims black, tan, or brown leather, while the top Platinum trim adds diamond-quilted Semi-Aniline leather. If you like having a nicer interior, the quilted leather classes up the cabin tremendously even compared to the standard leather on our SL tester.

Even on the Platinum trim, however, the Murano suffers from some questionable materials. Nissan can't seem to make up its mind on black gloss plastic, chrome, silver plastic, fake aluminum, and beige plastic. The interior has so many different materials inside, it looks completely in-cohesive as if it was styled by four different designers.

Murano Trunk and Cargo Space

Even compared to the compact Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, the Murano's trunk and overall cargo space seem somewhat limiting, but a wide trunk opening and foldable rear seats that double over to form a completely flat surface go a long way to making it a practical everyday loader. Behind the back seats, the Murano offers 32.1 cubic feet of space compared to the CR-V's 37.6 and the Rogue's 39.3. With the rear seats folded down, that space grows to 65 cubic feet; considerably smaller than the Nissan Rogue's 70 cubic feet, and the CR-V's monstrous 75.8 cubic feet, even the two sit a class below the Murano.

Small-item storage is disappointing, to say the least; there are no major storage compartments in the front bar the center console, and the storage space in front of the shifter is not enough to comfortably fit a combination of cell phone and keys.

2019 Nissan Murano Trunk Space
2019 Nissan Murano Trunk Space
2019 Nissan Murano Rear Passenger Seats

Murano Infotainment and Features

Features

Standard features on the 2019 Nissan Murano are average for its class, although the inclusion of standard automatic braking and other driver assistance features makes up for a middling tech offering. On the base model, you'll find standard LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats. The SV includes a power sunroof; motion-activated liftgate and an advanced climate control system. Heated and power-adjustable seats, as well as a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, adds a premium touch. SL models get standard LED fog lights, a surround-view camera system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror as well as leather seats and cruise control. At the top of the range, the Platinum offers beautifully crafted leather seats with diamond-quilted inserts as well as climate-controlled front seats, custom interior trimmings and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

Infotainment

At the center of the Murano's cabin is an 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control. The system is fairly simple to use and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but the touch response lags behind some of its competitors and Nissan's smartphone-style interface isn't the most intuitive we've tested. In fact, Nissan has more simplistic head units in its lineup - on the Versa and Kicks - which are simpler and more effective than the one in the Murano. Ditto for the color helper screen in the gauge cluster, which is controlled using poorly arranged buttons on the steering wheel.

Murano Problems and Reliability

The last Murano to be affected by a recall was the 2017 model which could develop a leak in the anti-lock brake actuator pumps, leading to brake fluid leaking onto the brake components and creating a possible fire hazard. There have been no recalls for 2018 and 2019, and J.D. Power gave the 2019 Murano a score of 83, beating the likes of the Toyota 4Runner and slotting in beneath the Chevrolet Traverse. Nissan backs the 2019 Murano with a standard three-year/36,000-mile warranty which includes a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and a three year/36,000-mile roadside assistance plan.

Murano Safety

The IIHS tested the Murano back in 2018 where it faired well, and only disappointed in the headlight category, where it scored poor to marginal for the different headlight configurations. The NHTSA has tested the latest version which now includes added driver assistance features, and gave it full marks - five out of five overall. The Nissan Rogue fared slightly better according to the IIHS but still failed to impress with its headlights.

Key Safety Features

All the safety basics such as front, side, knee, and curtain airbags, traction control and ABS brakes come as standard across the range, as does forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Pedestrian detection is an optional extra on the SL and comes standard on the Platinum model, and the same goes for lane-keep assistance and automatic rear braking. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert come standard on all but the base model. Semi-autonomous cruise control is reserved for SL and Platinum models, while a traffic sign recognition system is available exclusively to the Platinum.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Nissan Murano a good SUV?

With a slew of all-new competitors in the mid-size segment, Nissan will have to do a lot better than the Murano to grab customers' attention. Even Nissan itself seems to have overlooked the Murano when choosing to put its flagship ProPILOT Assist safety technology on the Rogue. Meanwhile, the Murano uses old interior technology, an old platform, and an even older engine. Nissan has already renewed the third-generation Murano but if it hopes to remain competitive in the mid-size segment, a major redesign is needed. At this point, we'd say you are better off opting for the less expensive Nissan Rogue.

What's the Price of the 2019 Nissan Murano?

With a base MSRP of $31,370 the Murano demands a premium of over almost $7,000 over the base Honda CR-V and $6,170 over the Nissan Rogue which offer similar practicality and features. The SV, which adds premium features such as a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate and added driver assistance tech, starts at $34,540, while the SL goes for $39,330. The top-of-the-range Platinum with traffic sign recognition, climate-controlled front seats, and pedestrian detection will set you back $43,630 compared to the range-topping CR-V's asking price of only $32,850 and the Nissan Rogue's $32,940. Adding all-wheel-drive to any model adds an extra $1,600 to the asking price.

2019 Nissan Murano Models

There are four trim levels to choose from for 2019: the base model, known as the S starts things off and is followed by the SV, SL and finally the Platinum.

The S model can boast with key features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking, and LED headlights. As with the rest of the range, the S is powered by Nissan's well-known and much loved 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine, producing 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque mated to a CVT automatic transmission.

The SV adds active safety features which include blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert and luxuries such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power-adjustable front seats.

The SL strikes a good balance between features and cost: you get a leather interior, a surround-view camera, navigation, and a premium Bose sound system.

The Platinum rounds off the Murano trim list. It incorporates key features like pedestrian detection, climate-controlled front seats, and diamond-quilted seat inserts, making it the most premium offering in the range.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,370
SV
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$34,540
SL
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,330
Platinum
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,630
See All 2019 Nissan Murano Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Nissan offers an $800 special package on the base model which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, unique badging, chrome door handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a number of other appearance updates. The SV is available with a more substantial offering of optional packages: the $1,800 SV Premium package adds navigation, voice recognition, satellite radio and a variety of seating upgrades. The $3,800 Sun and Sound package basically turns the SV into a Platinum model. The SL is only available with one optional package, which is called the SL Premium package. For $1,820 you get a dual-panel sunroof and LED headlights. The Platinum model already incorporates all of the available features and thus doesn't get any package deals.

What Nissan Murano Model Should I Buy?

If we had to choose a Murano, we'd probably opt for the Platinum trim, which does its best to dress up a lackluster interior with beautiful quilted leather. But if we were seriously recommending a practical SUV, we'd say the cheaper Rogue is the better option. It offers newer technology, batter safety features, more space in the trunk, and better fuel economy all at a lower price.

2019 Nissan Murano Comparisons

2019 Nissan Murano
2019 Nissan Murano

2019 Nissan Murano vs Ford Edge

One of the Murano's key rivals is the significantly cheaper Ford Edge - at least at a base point where the Ford saves you nearly $1,500 off the Nissan's asking price. Both are similar, though, offering front- and all-wheel-drive capabilities, leather interiors, and loads of tech with smartphone integrations and the works. The Edge boasts a bigger interior, but its engines can't match the Murano's V6, despite the turbocharged torque on offer. The Edge also boasts more intuitive infotainment, is a better crossover to pilot and presents itself as having better value for money. It's also lighter on fuel. Cheaper, better equipped, and more spacious, there's really almost no reason not to pick the Edge.

See Ford Edge Review

2019 Nissan Murano vs Nissan Rogue

Carmakers tend to avoid building cars with similar capabilities, but Nissan looked the other way when the Rogue was introduced. On price alone, the Rogue wins hands down, but there is more to this comparison than meets the eye. The Murano has a plusher interior, better build quality and more comfortable seats that offer slightly more bolstering, but the Rogue offers more trunk and cargo space by a large margin. Interior features are closely matched. The Murano, with its bigger engine, is the better performer, but the Rogue will get you further on a tank of gas and handles the corners better too. The Rogue offers more standard safety equipment and in base form, costs over $6,000 less than the Murano, making it the winner in this comparison.

See Nissan Rogue Review

Nissan Murano Popular Comparisons

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2019 Nissan Murano Video Review