Long before automakers rushed to create swoopy-styled crossovers of all shapes and sizes, Nissan launched the design-conscious Murano. Now in its third generation, the Murano continues its tradition of being a stylish, luxurious CUV, but adds a bit more convenience and tech features for 2019 to help it stay competitive against this growing class of crossovers.
Redesigned LED headlights and taillights are the most noticeable exterior changes, complemented by new wheel options, including 20-inch rollers on the SL and Platinum trims. Three new colors come online for 2019, too, including Sunset Drift Chromaflair, which is a neat, red-to-gold transitional color. You can even get the 2019 Murano in Deep Blue Pearl, a hue taken right from the GT-R supercar.
Much like the updated Maxima sedan, the 2019 Murano gets a new rear door alert feature and an intelligent driver alertness function, the latter of which can detect drowsy or distracted driving habits. Traffic sign recognition tech is optional, and the Murano gets USB Type-C ports in addition to the usual smattering of Type-A outlets.
Also like the Maxima, Nissan's new Safety Shield 360 pack of driver assistance tech is on hand, standard on the high-end Platinum trim and available on the SL. This adds automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, rear automatic braking, lane departure and blind spot warning along with rear cross traffic alert.
The Murano runs the automaker's NissanConnect infotainment system, which is what you'll find in pretty much everything else in the company's lineup. Here, it's housed in an 8-inch touchscreen, with a relatively easy-to-read layout and bright graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are bundled as standard equipment, too.
Other Maxima-like updates (notice a pattern here?) include semi-aniline leather for the seats, and a new diamond-stitch pattern on the top-of-the-line Platinum trim. A new dark wood tone is available on the Murano Platinum, while mid-level Muranos get new light wood and brushed metal offerings. The "Zero Gravity" seats I love so much are standard for both front and rear passengers -- except the middle seat in the rear bench, anyway. Sorry, fifth-wheel.
The 2019 Murano is as nice to drive as its ever been, with a comfortable and quiet ride quality. Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 sends power to either the front or all four wheels, depending on spec, with output rated at a respectable 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a continuously variable transmission, the V6 takes a while to really get cooking while accelerating from a standstill, but once the engine is in the heart of its power band, mid-range punch is excellent.
The Murano's CVT mimics the action of a conventional automatic, kicking down when I stomp the throttle, and offering "shift" points throughout its action. It's not as bad here as it is in the Maxima, thankfully. With the CVT keeping things as efficient as possible, Nissan rates the Murano to return 23 miles per gallon combined, regardless of front- or all-wheel-drive layout. That's not great, but keep in mind, it matches the fuel economy rating of a 2.0-liter, all-wheel-drive 2019 Ford Edge.
As before, the Murano moves down the road with ease. The steering is light and feedback is mostly absent, and there's expected amounts of body roll in turns. This certainly isn't a sporty car -- though, unlike the Maxima, it isn't claiming to be.
Pricing only increases slightly for 2019, with the base Murano S starting at $31,270 -- an increase of just $270. SV, SL and Platinum trims up the ante a bit, the most loaded of which coms in at $43,530. All-wheel drive can be added to any Murano for $1,600.
The 2019 Murano isn't a whole lot different than its predecessor, but really, it didn't need to be. Easy to drive, quiet and comfortable inside and really appealing to look at, the Murano continues to be a stylish, five-passenger offering for hungry CUV shoppers.
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