Inside it’s quite roomy, offering plenty of space for five, and decent storage too.
What’s most surprising is that you’ll also get a bit of an upscale feel inside the Murano. No, it’s not quite up to the level you’ll find in Nissan’s luxurious Infiniti brand, but it’s still very impressive and among best quality you’ll find in non-luxury SUVs. This is a big boost for the Murano vs. the crossover competition.
Among the amenities offered include leather-appointed seats, heated front and rear seats, cooling front seats, heated leather steering wheel, leather shifter knob, reclining rear seats and ambient interior lighting. The 20-inch machined aluminum alloy wheels on the Murano I tested looked very sharp too.
Seats are quite comfy, due to what Nissan calls “Zero Gravity” seating (far out, man).
In English, that means things like softer headrests, plus seat design that helps reduce fatigue on road trips -- using technology inspired by the space program.
All in all, this adds up to the Murano offering a very attractive, almost luxury-lite, package that’s rarely found in this segment.
HOW'S THE RIDE?
The 2017 Murano features a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, as well as a CVT automatic transmission. It produces a respectable 260 horsepower, and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. My test vehicle had the optional all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard.
Acceleration in the Murano is about what I expected. You get moving better than a lot of the competition can offer, and it’s overall a very smooth ride with decent handling. It’s not a rocket, but nothing in this segment is.
The noise level inside is limited. Your trips will be very quiet and well insulated from the world’s intrusions, which will be a key factor in attracting families since some of the competition struggles in this area.
Here’s the real test for many people -- as you can’t just offer a car that drives well these days; the tech and safety features have to shine. The Murano comes through with flying colors in this department.
First the basics: Murano offers the usual slate of air bags, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Then you have the LED headlights and taillights (which worked very well to show the way), fog lights and heated outside mirrors with LED turn indicators.
Also featured are a helpful AroundView monitor with moving object detection, and a driver attention alert to keep you on your toes if your driving is affected by drowsiness.
USB ports are included front and rear, you get Bluetooth streaming for phone calls and music; Sirius XM radio is offered; and the Nissan Connect system with Navigation is one of the better infotainment systems on the market these days. I found it to be a breeze to use both by touch and by voice commands. It features an 8-inch monitor, and Apple CarPlay is available.
You can also opt for a Bose premium audio system if you’re into getting the most out of your tunes.
Among other impressive safety options are: Blind spot and cross-traffic warnings, plus the Tech Package offering a power panoramic moonroof, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning with emergency braking.
Last but not least, the Murano earned five-star government safety numbers, so you and your passengers can all feel safe in it.
Official fuel mileage numbers the Murano are 21 city/28 highway/24 combined
These are strong numbers compared to key competitors such as the Ford Edge and hte Hyundai Santa Fe. In my testing, I came in a couple mpg below the official averages, but I wouldn’t call that a deal-breaker with everything this vehicle has going for it.
My test vehicle was just over $44,000 (I was testing a top-of-the-line Platinum AWD edition with the technology package added on as an option); Base price for the Murano starts a tad under $30K. The price ranges are actually pretty close to Nissan’s Pathfinder, which is a three-row crossover; so it’s worth cross-comparing the two vehicles if you like Nissan but want to explore options with more seating.
With an excess amount of crossover SUVs on the market, often after driving them I’m pretty disappointed -- as they all seem to blend together. But the Murano didn’t fall into that category -- quite the opposite actually.
Between its strong and upscale design inside and out, plus its smooth and quiet drive and strong tech features, the Murano stuck out in my mind as a top contender in its category. The Murano has almost doubled its annual U.S. sales numbers from 2013 to 2016, and I expect 2017 to be another strong growth year for the Murano based on my time in the car -- which I wouldn’t have minded being a bit longer.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.