The 2009 Nissan Murano displays a level of styling, interior workmanship and power that places it in a league above rivals such as the Mazda CX-7 or Toyota Highlander. In fact, many owners consider the Murano to be on par with such high-end crossovers as the Acura RDX and Lexus RX350. The Murano's roomy cabin is more than adequate for four adults, though the rear cargo bay is somewhat small, and the upward bent of the rear quarter windows creates a rather noticeable blind spot.
The Murano's sleek styling and powerful V6 engine are two of its stronger selling points, along with its available all-wheel drive and long list of decadent luxury features. Sporty handling is another of the Murano's strengths, and it doesn't come at the expense of a smooth, comfortable ride. Nissan's Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) performs flawlessly and is one of the better CVTs on the market.
What We Like
Strong V6 engine; luxurious interior in LE trim; smooth operating CVT; contemporary styling; smooth ride
What We Don't
Not terribly fuel efficient; no 3-row seat option; 18- and 20-inch tires expensive to replace; no manual shift mode on the CVT; rear blind spot
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. There is only one transmission choice, a CVT automatic. Fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive Murano is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 18 miles per gallon city/23 mpg highway; the all-wheel-drive version attains the same 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy rating.
Standard Features & Options
The Murano is available in three trim levels: S, SL and LE. Although the S trim is the entry-level model, it is by no means Spartan.
Standard equipment for the Murano S includes an AM/FM stereo with 6-disc CD changer and auxiliary input jack, a tilt/telescopic steering column, 18-in wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and power operations of the windows, mirrors and door locks. Standard safety features include Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, Brake Assist and front-side and side-curtain airbags.
The SL adds an 8-way power driver's seat, power return rear seat backs, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated audio controls and fog lights.
The luxurious LE brings 20-in wheels, a power lift gate, heated outside mirrors, leather seating, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, push-button start and keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers, HID headlights, power lumbar support for the driver's seat and a 9-speaker Bose audio system with dual subwoofers, iPod interface and Bluetooth connectivity.
Options for the Murano include a hard-drive-based voice-activated navigation system, dual panel moonroof, rearview camera and rear-seat entertainment system. Many of the LE standard features are optional on the SL trim.
As the Nissan Murano holds better-than-average resale values, you may have to do some bargaining to get a good deal on a nice, low-mileage model. You can likely get a lower-mileage or better-optioned Mazda CX-7 or Ford Edge for the same money. To get a good idea of the Murano's price range, we suggest using the used car values at KBB.com. You also can search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2009 Nissan Murano:
A recall was issued for a possible problem with corrosion of the nut securing the tire pressure monitor sensors (TPMS) in areas of the country that use road salt during the winter. Two more recalls were issued regarding a possible problem with the electronics used by the passenger-seat airbag that may result in the unit's failure to deploy.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The Murano boasts good scores in NHTSA crash tests, earning four out of five stars in the front-end and roof-strength crash tests, and five stars in the side-impact test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gives the Murano its highest ratings in the offset front-end and side-impact crash test, but only a moderate rating in the roof strength test.
The 2009 Murano entered service backed by a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Also, Nissan extended the warranty for the CVT transmission to 10 years/120,000 miles. If you purchase your Murano through Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program, the vehicle not only goes through an extensive 150-point check, it also comes with an extended factory warranty of seven years/100,000 miles from the original date the vehicle entered service. Other advantages of the program include a free CARFAX report, 24-hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and towing benefits and a 3-month free trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite radio. To qualify for the Nissan CPO program, vehicles typically are no older than five years and must have less than 60,000 miles.
Other Cars to Consider
Mazda CX-7 -- The CX-7 has the same sporty attitude as the Murano but offers a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The CX-7 costs less but doesn't offer as many luxury features or hold its value as well.
Ford Edge -- The Edge offers the same horsepower and fuel economy as the Murano, as well as many of the same high-end features. But the Edge's styling isn't as slick, its interior isn't as nice and its resale values are far from great.
Toyota Highlander -- The Highlander can be equipped with a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines, offers a hybrid model and can be equipped with a third-row seat. Though not as sporty or luxurious as the Murano, the Highlander offers better resale and fuel economy figures.
We think most people will be very happy with the front-wheel-drive SL trim. Many of these models had additional options added to them, such as leather seats, push-button start and the Bose audio system. We also think the smaller 18-in tire/wheel combo creates less noise and a smoother ride.