Technology on board is where the Murano gets the most significant updates.
MONT-TREMBLANT, QUÉBEC – Nissan’s playing every card they have into the recent crossover craze, with models for every size and price range from the subcompact Kicks (reviewed here) to the massive Armada. The Murano has always been somewhat of an odd duck, with a very specific niche target market and aggressive styling. The first-generation model arrived in 2002 with a throaty exhaust note, fiery VQ-series V6 and a bright orange launch colour. The crossover has somewhat softened since then, and we flew to Québec to experience the mildly refreshed 2019 Nissan Murano for ourselves.
Nissan markets the Murano as an empty-nester vehicle, and this logic makes perfect sense to us. It’s larger, more comfortable, and smoother in operation than the Rogue, and feels premium enough without having to step up to an Infiniti. The new Murano is reminiscent of a Lexus RX (reviewed here) at a much lower price point, and its popularity is reflective of this. Newer entries that compete with the Murano on both size and price include the Honda Passport (reviewed here) and to some extent, the Ford Edge ST.
Styling updates on the 2019 Murano include a redesigned front bumper, lower grille, and headlight design. LED headlights are now standard, and complementing the new fascia are new 20” wheels on certain trim levels. LED fog lights are also on board, and a smoked taillight design overall complements the nicely sculpted lines of the Murano quite well.
The powertrain of the Murano is unchanged, as Nissan has chosen to not fix what’s not broken. The VQ 3.5L V6 is powerful enough at 260 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 240 lb-ft. at 4,400RPM. It’s mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT and delivers enough oomph to move the 4,000-pound crossover around. The CVT is much better than it used to be, though there’s still a notable drone on wide-open throttle that suggests the transmission’s overall laziness. Most buyers won’t notice, because the Murano is generally eager in its demeanour.
With all-wheel-drive, the Murano is rated at 11.7L/100km city and 8.5L/100km highway. Base FWD models are projected for 8.3L/100km on the highway, though real-world differences are negligible. We observed 11.5L/100km in combined driving in extreme cold conditions and traveling on winter tires. One benefit to the Murano over its more premium rivals is that it can get by just fine on 87-octane regular fuel.
The base Murano S starts at $32,248 and at this price point still comes with a navigation system, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Intelligent Emergency Braking. The model that most Canadians will opt for is the $38,748 Murano SV, which features a panoramic sunroof, all-wheel-drive, remote starter, and power-activated liftgate. The range tops out at the $45,998 Platinum, which includes 20” wheels, heated and cooled front seats, and Intelligent Lane Intervention.
Interior space on the Murano is quite generous for front occupants, though rear legroom is on the tighter side. Headroom is sufficient all around even with the large sunroof, but the short overall length will mean that the rear seat accommodations are restricted to shorter and more occasional passengers. It still feels considerably roomier than the Rogue (reviewed here), but Nissan’s own Pathfinder is at a similar price point and offers more space including availability of a third row. Interior materials overall have also been improved on the Murano, including quilted seating surfaces in the Platinum trim tested here.
Technology on board is where the 2019 Murano gets the most significant updates including Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 system. This includes active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, collision prevention assistance front and rear, and much more. A high beam assist system is also on board, and proved very helpful navigating the roads to Mont-Tremblant in the darkness only a Canadian winter can bring. Intelligent Driver Alertness is standard, and other new tech includes a Rear Door Alert system, traffic sign recognition, and a USB-C port in the dashboard.
The 2019 Nissan Murano is a welcomed update to a crossover that already has established popularity. The new Honda Passport is similar in size and power output, it’s targeted at more of an adventure-seeking crowd, while the Murano seeks to attract a more mature and financially established clientele. This refreshed model does little more than bring the Murano up to spec on the technology side of things, and that’s always a welcomed thing. They took a successful formula and gave it an added bit of style and a few new features. This will allow the Murano to stay relevant for a while longer while Nissan works on its full replacement.
While out in snowy Tremblant, we also had the chance to experience the 2019 Nissan Altima, now offered to Canadians with all-wheel-drive standard. A full comprehensive review on the Altima can be found here, but the news is how it behaved on an ice course. We were able to sample the AWD system and equipped with winter tires, and can say with confidence that this car is a legitimate contender to the Subaru Legacy (reviewed here), and a solid choice for buyers in the mainstream sedan segment.