Packed with modern, comfortable luxury, the Murano is on a mission to propel Nissan to new heights.
It’s that moment that makes you smile deeply: your friend gets into your car and, settling into the leather seats and relaxing as the car sweeps you gently across pothole-riddled roads, remarks, “What kind of car is this? It’s so nice!”
That’s what my friend, Jill, said when I picked up her daughter and her in the Nissan Murano for a girls day out in New York City. I especially appreciated Jill’s remarks because she 1.) has a refined sense of what she likes in a car and 2.) owns a Lexus 450h hybrid. So, she knows.
Murano’s secret ingredient: tons of luxury at a mid-market price
And here’s why Jill was so impressed: The Murano is Nissan’s secret weapon in the battle for 10% market share in the US (the brand stands at 8 percent now, but those last 2 share points can be as hard to achieve as dropping your last 5 pounds). Crossovers (a cross between an SUV and a sedan) are the most popular type of car and this one is filled with luxuries.
It’s really a brilliant move; for about $40,000, you’ll get at least $60,000 worth of car: Top of the line technology, advanced safety features, all wheel drive, leather seating, HEATED rear seats (an option, but not featured on the model we test drove) and a newly redesigned interior and exterior with a fresh, modern appeal that takes from the DNA of its more luxurious automotive sibling, Infiniti.
Some of our favorite features:
Zero gravity seats
Talk about innovation: Nissan took the composite of materials used to make seat cushions and assembled them into a form designed to support the human shape, then covered them with really gorgeous, luxurious leather. The result is that you can sit for hours — in traffic or on a road trip— and not get fanny fatigue. And truly, getting out of a car after a 10 hour drive and not having to unfold your limbs to restart blood flow is a luxury in itself.
An ample back seat
On our weekly car pool we have four teens in the car. It’s a jumble of arms and legs and sneakers and backpacks, and I try not to look as they squish each other trying to buckle their seat belts. In the Murano, however, the three back-seaters slid into place, buckled up and smiled: they had plenty of room.
Elegant, modern wood grain trim
On the console and dashboard, it’s one of the more innovative elements. And yes, you might think of innovation as a tech thing, but gazing at this beautiful appointment makes you think, “How did they do that?” And “I’m so glad they did!”
Clever places to put your phone
Or other things. And, lots of them. From the back of the center console to pockets on the side of the console next to the driver and front passenger, there are many convenient places to put your phone where it can charge, be accessible, be out of the way for driving and also, won’t fly onto the floor if you stop short.
A plethora of cameras to keep you safe
With the crash avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, rear view camera, around view monitor, cross traffic detection and more, there are cameras monitoring everything going on around you. I like to think of it as the safety system that nags the driver so I don’t have to.
Bluetooth audio streaming
With this, the car is a virtual game of iPod roulette and everyone gets to play. Best of all, when I’ve had enough of Ariana Grande, I can override the system with rocking dose of U2 and teach those kids what rock-n-roll is all about.
What we Loved
- Infotainment and navigation system
- Navigation map that features the speed limit on the road you’re on
- Easy to use voice recognition system
- Bluetooth audio streaming
- Adaptive cruise control
- All wheel drive
- Modern design inside and out
- Heated front and (available) rear seats
- Push button start with smart key
- Remote start
- Panoramic moon roof
- AWD system gets the same fuel economy as the front wheel drive model
What You Need to Know
- Seating for 5
- Fuel economy estimated at 21 MPG city/28MPG highway (we averaged about 20 MPG)
- Uses regular fuel
- Two USB ports and three DC power ports
- Tech package with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and panoramic sun roof is an extra $2,260
- Pricing starts at $29,000; base price of the model we tested: $38,550; price of the model we tested, $41,905
Disclosure: Nissan provided the Murano for my test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own