The 2014 Nissan Murano is a crossover that stands out in a sea of crossovers. With its modern and stylish design, sporting personality and well-crafted interior, it is a breath of fresh air in a segment that now suffers from the saturation of so many lookalike models. The Murano looks and feels anything but homogenized.
Although it doesn't offer the convenience of a third-row seat, the spacious interior can easily accommodate five passengers and some luggage, and the stylish interior layout has a decidedly upscale look and feel. On the negative side, the Murano is expensive, and Nissan doesn't offer it with a more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine.
But for those looking for a different kind of utility, this may be the one. It's fun to drive, well equipped, comfortable and capable, with a head-turning style that's all its own. The 2014 Murano is proof that all crossovers are not the same.
What's New for 2014?
A Graphite interior color is now available with the Tinted Bronze exterior.
What We Like
Well-built; sharp handling and steering; responsive engine; compliant ride; upscale cabin; plenty of advanced electronics
What We Don't
Poor rear visibility; no fuel-efficient 4-cylinder option; pricey next to competitors
The front- or all-wheel-drive Nissan Murano gets its power from a robust 3.5-liter V6 that makes 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. This engine has Continuous Valve Timing Control and Nissan Variable Induction Control, and is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy for the Nissan Murano at 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and a slightly lower 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
For 2014, the Murano continues to be offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE. Each trim can be ordered with either front- or all-wheel drive.
The Murano S ($29,300) includes the 3.5-liter V6, Xtronic CVT, 18-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights, cloth seating, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, power windows, mirrors and door locks, remote keyless entry system, AM/FM/6-CD stereo with six speakers and auxiliary audio input, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start and rear privacy glass.
The Murano SV ($32,390) models add roof rails, integrated halogen front fog lights, automatic on/off headlights, 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, 4-way power front passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio switches, Bluetooth, a 7-in color monitor, USB/iPod integration, a rearview monitor, SiriusXM satellite radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass.
The Murano SL ($36,250) models add leather-appointed seats, heated front seats, driver's seat and outside mirror position memory, 60/40 fold-flat rear seat back with power return, dual-panel power moonroof, a power lift gate, Bose premium audio system with nine speakers plus dual subwoofers, body-color front and rear lower fascias, rain-sensing front wipers and heated outside mirrors.
The Murano LE ($38,740) models add 20-in aluminum alloy wheels, roof rails with silver accents, HID bi-xenon headlights, heated rear seats, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, heated steering wheel, interior wood-tone trim and steering-wheel-position memory.
Three option packages are available for the 2014 Murano. The Value Package, available with Murano SV, includes voice-activated navigation with 7-in touchscreen, NavTraffic and NavWeather (SiriusXM subscription required), Bluetooth streaming audio, the Bose audio system and a power lift gate.
The Navigation Package, offered with Murano SL, features a voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio and Safety Shield technologies with blind spot warning (BSW), lane-departure warning (LDW) and moving object detection (MOD) systems.
The Murano LE's Platinum Edition brings navigation, 20-in aluminum alloy wheels, exclusive Sapphire Black exterior color, Platinum Edition badge and Safety Shield technologies.
Standard safety features for the 2014 Nissan Murano include ABS, stability control, traction control, six airbags and active front head restraints. For the LE Platinum or SL with navigation, drivers can choose to add BSW, LDW and MOD as part of the Safety Shield package.
The Murano earned four out of five stars in crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the highest ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Behind the Wheel
The Nissan Murano is a crossover with noticeable athleticism. It's an agile handler that stays well planted in corners, thanks to a nicely balanced chassis. Also helping its cornering prowess is the Murano's wide stance and large, grippy tires. Turn-ins are quick and nimble thanks to a responsive and well-weighted steering system. For all these reasons, the Murano delivers one of the sportiest driving experiences you can find in a midsize crossover.
The Murano's V6/CVT combination offers powerful and responsive performance, whether from a standstill or at speed. Acceleration is strong, and the Murano's overall power is smoothly and evenly delivered throughout the rev band, thanks to the CVT.
At the same time, the Murano's ride is comfortable and composed. Regardless of its sporting personality, it delivers an on-road feel that is relaxed enough for daily commuting as well as for carting the family around town. Nissan seems to have it down in finding that just-right balance between ride and handling.
The Murano also has what it takes to tread in harsh road conditions or unpaved terrain. Large 18- or 20-in wheels coupled with more than seven inches of ground clearance and optional all-wheel drive grant the Murano enough capability to drive confidently through snow, rain or mud.
Other Cars to Consider
Ford Edge -- The Murano is more stylish and sporty, but the Edge has more technology and a more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine option.
Kia Sorento -- The Sorento is less expensive. And it's offered with a 4-cylinder engine and a third-row seat; neither of those choices are available on the Murano.
Our recommendation for the Murano is the second-from-the-top SL model. The Murano SL has all the convenience and technology features of the S and SV but adds key upgrades such as a power lift gate, leather upholstery and a Bose audio. The range-topping LE is not worth the premium for enhancements such as rear-seat heat and wood trim. We'd add the navigation system with real-time traffic and weather and, for those in colder climates, optional all-wheel drive. The Murano's all-wheel-drive system is capable and has just a negligible effect on fuel economy.