Dad has arrived! The Nissan Murano is not intended to be a sports car. It doesn’t have the “4-door Sports Car” sticker in the rear window.
The Murano has been in Nissan’s lineup since the tail end of 2002. It’s Nissan’s first midsize crossover, and definitely hit the market by storm. Upon introduction, it was nominated for North American Truck of the Year along with the Volvo XC90, the Honda Element, and the highly unfortunate Hummer H2. The 2013 Murano is of the second generation, introduced for 2009. I decided to drive the 2013 Nissan Murano Platinum to remind us all of the hidden treasure in Nissan’s lineup.
The second generation Murano shares a platform with its siblings, the Pathfinder and the Infiniti JX. Surprisingly, both of those come with front-wheel-drive as well. The Midnight Garnet-coloured Murano I had was the top-level “Platinum” trim, and was generously equipped with 20” alloy wheels, heated seats both in the front and rear, and tons of other toys. I did notice that the reverse camera on the 2013 Murano is significantly worse than the one on the 2012. The 11-speaker Bose system sounds wonderful no matter what genre of music you throw at it. For an as-tested price of just under $50,000, you are definitely getting a whole lot of crossover.
The in-car entertainment in the Murano works extremely well. Though the Bose system is not the best on the market, it sounds good. However, having worked in the audio industry, a simple saying comes to mind: “No highs? No lows? Must be Bose.” They’re definitely stepping up their game though. The responsiveness and simplicity of Nissan’s touch-screen interface is far superior in my eyes to the i-MID system in the new Honda Accord as well as the CUE application in newer Cadillacs. It actually just surpasses the system in the Grand Cherokee.
Speaking of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, I was a huge fan of it being a combination of rugged capabilities along with on-road comfort. Though it comes at a high price, I found a very similar level of comfort in the Murano. Where the Murano doesn’t exactly have a track record of being an off-road warrior as the Jeep does, it wouldn’t exactly leave you stranded in a couple inches of mud. The interior of the crossover is very welcoming; accented with wood, comfortable leather seats, and a well-designed dashboard.
Unsurprisingly, the Murano is powered by the famous VQ35DE V6 found in most of Nissan’s vehicles for the past decade. In this application, the 3.5L V6 is mated to Nissan’s signature continuously-variable transmission. It puts out a substantial 260-horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Though the “Xtronic” CVT found in the Murano isn’t my personal preference, it’s quite possibly the best CVT out there. Power is always there when you need it.
Fuel economy from the 2013 Murano wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Nissan claims 11.5L/100km city and 8.5L/100km highway. Naturally I’ve learned not to trust manufacturer numbers due to the number of variables; I managed to get 11.8L/100km combined. For a large, V6, all-wheel-drive crossover in the winter, I’m not complaining. Typically with a Nissan V6 in my possession, I find myself having more of a lead foot than usual, but the Murano encouraged me to cruise along in serene comfort.
Unlike the current Maxima, the Nissan Murano is not intended to be a sports car. It doesn’t have the “4-door Sports Car” sticker in the rear window. The Murano is meant for hauling kids to soccer practice, or for empty-nester parents who want something comfortable to drive to bingo. It does its job perfectly, but for the price I personally would skip on some of the options and take the added style of the Infiniti JX.
2013 Nissan Murano Platinum