Auto review: Nissanís 2019 Murano midsize crossover gets an exterior freshening, new features

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 4, 2018

             

The 2019 Murano's exterior has a more pronounced front V-motion grille, redesigned LED headlights and taillights, new LED fog lights, new 18-inch and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs and three fresh new exterior colors Ė Sunset Drift Chromaflair, Mocha Almond Pearl and Deep Blue Pearl.

Nissanís five-passenger midsize Murano crossover returns for 2019 with a ďfreshenedĒ exterior design and some new premium interior features, along with additional safety and driver-assistance technologies.

Styling tweaks include a new, bolder V-motion grille; restyled LED headlights (now standard) and LED taillights; and new 18- and 20-inch wheel designs. But the changes are not dramatic, so itís still clearly identifiable as a Murano ó continuing the unique edgy styling that has always set this vehicle apart from its competitors.

The 2019 Murano comes in four trim levels, starting with the base front-wheel-drive S ($31,270 plus $1,045 freight), followed by the front-drive SV ($34,440), our tester for this report; SL ($39,230); and Platinum ($43,530). All-wheel drive can be added to any trim level for an additional $1,600.

New exterior colors for 2019 are Sunset Drift Chromaflair, Mocha Almond Pearl and Deep Blue Pearl.

The Platinum modelís premium interior comes with new semi-aniline leather with diamond-quilted inserts and contrasting micro-piping trim for the seats, door armrests and center console lid.

New interior trim schemes include Dark Wood-Tone (Platinum), Light Wood-Tone (SV, SL) and Metallic (S, SV, SL).

Included on all models are the new Rear Door Alert and the Intelligent Driver Alertness system, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention.

Optional are the new Intelligent Around View Monitor and an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, both of which come in the SV Premium Package ($3,500), which was included on our tester. We also had 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Optional are new 20-inch satin-black alloy wheels ($1,730).

The SV Premium Package also included a power panoramic moon roof, intelligent cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, LED fog lights and heated front seats.

All models come with Zero Gravity front and outboard rear seats, NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-inch color touch screen.

SL and Platinum models add NissanConnect with Navigation, which now features door-to-door navigation with 3-D building graphics and satellite images, online POI search and traffic information.

Available is Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes driver assistance, crash avoidance and pedestrian detection systems. Itís part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology. Other features include Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking. These are standard on the Platinum model, and can be added to the SL with the Technology Package ($1,970).

Among new standard safety features are second-row side air bags and a front passenger knee air bag. Also available are Intelligent Lane Intervention and Traffic Sign Recognition.

As before, the Murano seats up to five people. There is 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat (31.1 with the panoramic moon roof), or 67 cubic feet (65 with the moon roof) with the rear seatback folded down.

All models continue to be powered by a normally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 260 horsepower and 240 foot-pounds of torque. Itís connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission.

EPA ratings are 20 mpg city/28 highway/23 combined (front- or all-wheel drive).

The third-generation Muranoís heavily sculptured look brought lots of creases and folds, eliminating the smoother lines of the previous model. One of the coolest features is the panoramic moon roof, which gives the Murano a convertible feel.

Muranoís interior was designed to give occupants the feel of an upscale social lounge, Nissan says. To help with that, our SV model came with comfortable brown leather seats, with buckets up front and a three-person bench in the rear.

Our rear seat had a pull-down center armrest that also had dual cupholders, and, at the front, a gadget cubby for smartphones and such. At the rear of the front console, in easy reach of the rear passengers, there was a USB port, along with dual vents for heating and air conditioning.

There also are map pockets in the backs of the two front seats, and door pockets all four doors with a small bottle holder in each.

The NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats for the driver/front passenger and rear outboard passengers help keep occupants comfortable on long drives, just as they were designed to do for astronauts on long space flights. The rear seats have a three-cushion design, a first for a Nissan vehicle.

Knee room is a bit limited in the rear seat, though, especially when the front seats are set to accommodate larger people.

Our SV came with a navigation system combined with the Bose audio system (including two subwoofers), and AM/FM/HD/satellite radio. NissanConnect with Mobile Apps was standard, along with Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. The nav system can be operated by voice commands.

We had heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment on the driverís side, and four-way on the passengerís side. The steering wheel and shifter were leather-wrapped. Remote entry with pushbutton start was included, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-inch in-dash DriveAssist display above the steering column, and a driverís side memory system for outside mirrors and seat position.

Three 12-volt outlets are provided along with the two USB ports, which can be used for charging of smartphones and tablets.

Outside, our Arctic Blue Metallic-painted Murano had fog lights, silver-painted roof rails, a power tailgate, heated outside mirrors, and rear tinted privacy glass.

There was more than ample power from the V-6 engine, and the standard traction control helped keep the car going smoothly.

Originally introduced for 2004, the Muranoís name was taken from a style of fine Italian glass. It fits into the Nissan crossover lineup between the compact Rogue and the larger, seven-passenger Pathfinder. Rogue and Pathfinder are assembled in Tennessee, while the Murano is a product of Nissanís Mississippi plant.

Underneath, the new Murano has a four-wheel independent suspension with a front strut/rear multi-link arrangement. It comes with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and electronic stability control. Also standard are front the new rear seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows, and two front knee air bags.

The Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection gives the driver a birdís-eye view of the car from above. The system has cameras on each side and on the front and rear, which combine to feed images to the dash screen.

Besides the Premium Package, our front-drive SV tester came with carpeted floor mats ($245). Total sticker price was $39,230, including freight and options.

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2019 Nissan Murano

The package: Five-door, five-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive, V-6, midsize crossover utility vehicle.

Advantages: Nissanís midsize crossover moved into its third generation for 2015, with new, bolder styling, a refined interior and more available technology. Styling updates have been included on the 2019 model, along with new technology and interior appointments.

Negatives: Rear seat has limited knee and legroom.

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, normally aspirated.

Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.

Power/torque: 260 HP./240 foot-pounds

Length: 192.8 inches.

Curb weight range: 3,823-4,137 pounds.

Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.

Side air bags: Front and rear seat-mounted; side-curtain for both rows.

Electronic stability control: Standard.

Cargo volume: 32.1 cubic feet (behind 2nd seat, 31.1 with panoramic moon roof); 67 cubic feet (rear seat folded; 65 with moon roof).

Fuel capacity/type: 19.0 gallons/unleaded regular.

EPA fuel economy: 20 mpg city/28 highway/23 combined for all configurations.

Major competitors: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe.

Base price range: $31,270-$43,530, plus $1,045 freight (add $1,600 for all-wheel drive).

Price as tested: $39,230, including freight and options (SV front-wheel-drive with Premium Package).

On the Road rating: 8.7 (of a possible 10).

Prices shown are manufacturerís suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.