The Murano falls in line with Nissan's latest design language thanks to features like boomerang-shaped lights on both ends and a prominent V-shaped radiator grille. The futuristic look is accented by sculpted flanks and a floating roof.
The cabin has an upscale look and feel thanks to high-quality materials that wouldn't be out of place in a vehicle from Nissan's Infiniti luxury division. A simple but highly effective twin-binnacle instrument panel greets the driver, while the wide center stack houses well-organized and intuitive controls. All five passengers sit on NASA-pioneered zero-gravity seats that noticeably improve comfort on long trips.
The Murano comes standard with NissanConnect, a touch screen-based connectivity suite that includes Bluetooth with streaming audio, Pandora radio capability, navigation and a Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant setup that reads incoming text messages and allows drivers to reply without taking their hands off of the steering wheel.
Cargo space is rated at 39.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats, while 69.9 cubic feet is available with the rear seats folded down to create a flat load floor.
Under the Hood
Power for the Murano comes from a 3.5-liter V6 serves up 260 horsepower at 6,000 rpms and 240 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpms. One of the better CVTs (continuously variable transmission) metes out power smoothly to either the front wheels (the standard configuration) or all four wheels (with an optional AWD system).
Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with FWD. Properly equipped, the Murano is capable of towing 1,500 pounds.
Murano buyers can choose between five trim levels - S, SV, SL and Platinum.
The S model comes standard with a urethane steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, body-colored power-adjustable door mirrors, chromed door handles, privacy glass, automatic halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with an auxiliary jack, a 7.0-inch touch screen that runs NissanConnect, keyless entry and start and a rear-view camera.
The SV model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, black roof rails, halogen front fog lights, power front seats, a USB port and an 8.0-inch touch screen with navigation.
Stepping up to the SL trim brings heated front seats with a memory function, silver roof rails, leather upholstery, a nine-speaker Bose sound system with two subwoofers, a HomeLink transceiver, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, an around-view monitor, ambient lighting and a power liftgate.
Finally, the range-topping Platinum model comes fully loaded with a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel with a memory function, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated and cooled seats and heated rear seats with a power return function.
The Murano is offered with three option packages. Offered only on the base S trim, the Navigation Package adds a USB port, an 8.0-inch touch screen and - you guessed it - navigation.
SV buyers can select the Premium Package that consists of a power panoramic sunroof and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
SL and Platinum buyers can choose the Premium Package, which bundles features like a power panoramic sunroof, Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) and Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW).
All Murano models come standard with dual front, front side, side curtain and a driver's side knee airbag in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Additionally, SL and Platinum models come standard with a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert and a moving object detection system.
Perhaps the most direct rival to the Murano in terms of size and seating capacity is the Ford Edge; the Chevrolet Equinox is slightly smaller, while the seven-passenger Toyota Highlander is a bit larger. Other competitors that merit consideration include the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento.