Testing Nissan's refreshed two-row midsize crossover
We like the Nissan Murano. The crossover was victorious in a three-way battle with competitors from Ford and Hyundai back in 2015, and after an entire year with the Murano, we called it “quiet, comfortable, and composed.” Keeping it competitive, Nissan refreshed its big two-row crossover for the 2019 model year. Does the Murano still kick butt, or is it starting to look tired compared to newer rivals, including the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe?
Updates to the 2019 Murano include a tweaked Vmotion grille as well as restyled headlights, taillights, and foglights. Inside, the cabin has three new trim choices: dark woodlike trim (Platinum trim), light woodlike trim (SV, SL), and a silver metallic option (S, SV, SL). The top Platinum model now features semi-aniline leather upholstery with diamond-quilted inserts and contrasting piping. On the safety side, higher trims now offer Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high-beam assist, and rear emergency automatic braking. (Automatic emergency braking is standard on all 2019 Muranos.)
Although the 2019 Murano is mechanically unchanged since we tested a 2015 model, our testing shows the refreshed version to be marginally slower. The 2019 model hit 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, 0.3 slower than the 2015 unit we tested. In the quarter mile, a time of 15.6 seconds also puts it 0.3 second under the 2015 model. Continuing the trend, the 2019 Murano completed our figure-eight handling course in 28.5 seconds, 0.3 second slower than last time. Braking performance didn’t change and remains good, taking 120 feet to stop from 60 mph.
The updated 2019 Ford Edge with the 2.0-liter turbo-four is 0.3 second slower to 60 (7.6) and the quarter mile (15.9). But its figure-eight time is 0.3 second quicker (28.2). When compared to the 2019 Santa Fe (2.0-liter turbo-four), the Nissan’s figure-eight performance matches the Hyundai. It took the Edge and Santa Fe longer to stop from 60 mph, 129 and 125 feet, respectively.
But not so fast—the new Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport are entering this segment with some impressive specs (stay tuned for our upcoming reviews). Right out of the gate, the Murano’s 260-hp 3.5-liter V-6 is beat by the Passport’s 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and the Blazer’s 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6. For cargo room, the Murano can hold 31.1–32.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 65.0–67.0 cubic feet with the seats folded down (the lower figure corresponds to Muranos with moonroofs), which is a bit more than the Blazer’s 30.5 cubic feet (64.2 maximum) but much less than the Passport’s 41.2 cubic feet (77.9 maximum). Safety wise, the Passport comes standard with the Honda Sensing package of driver-assist features (similar to Nissan’s Safety Shield). For the Murano, automatic emergency braking is standard, but you’ll need to spring for the pricey SL trim with the Tech package or the top Platinum model for Safety Shield. None of the lower Blazer trims comes with active safety tech; to get it, you need the higher RS or top Premier trim and an added package.
Like our long-term 2015 Murano, our 2019 tester drove well around town. The cabin is quiet, the seats are comfortable, visibility is OK, and passenger space is good, especially the big rear seats. Power is plentiful, braking is strong and linear, and the ride is soft. On twisty roads, there’s plenty of body roll, and the crossover feels heavy but was always composed. Testing director Kim Reynolds also noticed the generous amount of body roll during his figure-eight runs and said the Murano was “fairly damped.” My biggest driving complaint is the steering; there isn’t much feedback, and it feels less precise than others. When parking, it sometimes felt very heavy and then lightened up, as if there were a delay in the power steering boost.
The interior of our tester—the SL trim with the Tech package—offered lots of luxury with soft leather upholstery, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a moonroof, a navigation system, a motion-activated power liftgate, and a Bose audio system. Tech is also ample with a 7.0-inch instrument cluster display, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, four USB ports (two are Type-C), a surround-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, Safety Shield 360, and traffic sign recognition.
As luxurious as the interior is, however, the Murano is starting to show its age. The door panels are stylish, but the center stack and center console look dated. The few storage cubbies inside tend to be small. I like the surround camera system when parking, but it lacks sharp resolution and looks slightly fuzzy at times. The same goes for the 8.0-inch touchscreen; the Murano’s infotainment system is easy to use, but competitive systems look sharper. The adaptive cruise control system performs well but turns off when you come to a stop, unlike systems other automakers offer. Also, the lane keep system doesn’t use steering to nudge you back into your lane; it quickly taps the brakes of the appropriate wheels instead. It works fine but feels strange.
Regardless of those complaints, the refreshed 2019 Nissan Murano is a solid, recommendable crossover. Newer, more powerful, and more high-tech options exist, but the Murano does what counts right and should make most buyers happy.
|2019 Nissan Murano SL|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$42,490|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.5L/260-hp/240-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,926 lb (60/40%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||192.8 x 75.4 x 67.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.6 sec @ 92.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||120 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.79 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||28.5 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||20/28/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.85 lb/mile|