Nissan Murano

Nissan Murano

Ever since its debut in the early 2000s, the Nissan Murano has staked out a claim between premium and non premium SUVs with its refined ride, stand out styling, well-appointed interior, and feature-laden spec sheet. The current Murano is still playing that value game: the base model comes standard with niceties such as navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and automated emergency braking, and all trim levels wear an exterior design that is swoopy and upscale. A 3.5-liter V-6 drives the front or all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and delivers enough gusto for this near-luxury SUV. We don’t expect sports-car handling in this segment, but the Murano’s serene ride makes it an ideal road-trip companion.

What’s New for 2018?

Nissan has made improvements to the Murano’s active safety offerings for 2018: most notably, automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning are now standard across the range. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are now standard on midrange SV models, and adaptive cruise control is now optional on the SV and standard on the SL and Platinum trims.

A redesigned center console on all Muranos increases storage capacity, and navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen are standard. The SV gains an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated HomeLink garage-door opener, and the SV Premium package adds a 360-degree exterior-camera system, a driver-attention monitor, adaptive cruise control, and 18-inch wheels. The upscale SL and Platinum trims receive a power-operated rear liftgate with kick-to-open access. The SL gains heated rear seats and steering wheel; a panoramic sunroof is now standard on the Platinum. The Midnight Edition package is new to SL models and adds dark-toned exterior accents.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

While the base S model comes well equipped with in-dash navigation, smartphone connectivity, automated emergency braking, and a proximity key with push-button start, we’d spring for the midrange SV. It adds a host of nice-to-haves such as blind-spot monitoring, power-adjustable front seats, fog lamps, remote start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob for an additional $3300. Beyond that, we’d also advocate for the $2790 Premium package to really kick the Murano’s luxury up a notch, as it adds:

• Panoramic sunroof with power sunshade
• Eleven-speaker Bose audio system with two subwoofers
• Heated front seats and exterior mirrors
• Adaptive cruise control and 360-degree exterior-camera system

At $37,865, our front-wheel-drive Murano strikes a perfect balance of value and luxury. All-wheel drive is available for those who need it, and it adds $1600 to the price of any Murano model.