2013 Nissan Murano
The 2013 Murano is offered in four different trims: S, SV, SL and LE. Each of them can be had with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but otherwise the powertrain is the same: a 260-horsepower, 3.5L double-overhead-cam V6, delivering power through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The smooth V6 really fits the Murano's mission in feeling responsive yet relaxed and upscale, and the Xtronic CVT works better here than it does in many other CVT vehicles, keeping engine revs low during cruising yet raising them quickly for passing. A speed-sensitive power-steering system provides a confident feel, while the Murano's independent coil-spring front suspension (with a front subframe) and multi-link rear arrangement allow a nicely isolated ride yet reasonably crisp handling. Strong braking is handled by 4-wheel discs and a 4-channel anti-lock system with Brake Assist, to help apply maximum force in panic braking. Most Murano models include 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, but top-of-the-range Murano LE models upgrade to 20-inch alloys (optional on the LE) that do sacrifice some ride comfort.
The Murano's tall stance affords a high-set seating position that's just right for adults, making getting in and out easy and affording good visibility, especially in front. With a wide center console and ambient lighting, as well as rather wide, supportive front seats--along with smooth ride--the Murano is a good highway vehicle. Back-seat space is plenty spacious for two adults, although three can fit when needed; fold the 60/40-split rear seatbacks forward and you get an expansive, nearly flat cargo space for weekend errands.
With standard LED taillamps, remote keyless entry, an Intelligent Key system with push-button start, 6-speaker audio, and a 6-way adjustable driver's seat, even base Murano S models offer a lot of features. Yet mid-range SV models step it up with an 8-way power driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio switches, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, a universal garage-door opener and a wide-screen color display. SL models feel positively luxurious, with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power return for the folding seatbacks, HID headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors and 11-speaker audio. And at the top of the range, Murano LE models bow with heated rear seats, a power-telescopic heated steering wheel with memory position and woodgrain interior trim.
Models with the navigation system include voice recognition, SiriusXM NavTraffic, NavWeather and Zagat restaurant guides, along with Bluetooth streaming audio; it's all accessed through a 7.0-inch wide-screen display; in the Navigation Package that's offered on the Murano SL, that's packaged with Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection accident-avoidance systems--all part of Nissan's new Safety Shield Technologies to help alert you of potential road hazards.
Car-like ride and handling; smooth, responsive powertrain; stylish cabin appointments; good seating position; easy to get in and out; cargo versatility; long, luxury-caliber feature list; new active-safety options
For 2013, the Murano gets a set of new 'Safety Shield' accident-avoidance technologies. Moving Object Detection (MOD), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW)--each active-safety features intended to warn the driver of potential hazards--have been added to Murano LE Platinum Edition models and SL models with the Navigation Package.
Otherwise, on Murano SV models there's a new Value Package option, combining the power liftgate, 9-speaker Bose audio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage-door opener, and a navigation system. And for the entire model line, two new exterior hues are offered: Midnight Garnet and Gun Metallic.
The 5-passenger Murano is Nissan's mid-size crossover model, and with the transformation this year of the Pathfinder to a 3-row crossover instead of a body-on-frame truck, the Murano now fits neatly into a complete Nissan crossover lineup, between the compact Rogue and the larger Pathfinder. The Murano offers a little more style and panache than some other entries in the mid-size class, while in top SL and LE trims it has the feature set of a luxury-badge vehicle. It's also a standout for interior comfort. Furthermore, with the introduction of several key active-safety features for 2013, it's now on par for features, interior comfort, and overall ambiance, with some luxury-brand crossovers.