The 2019 Nissan Murano continues to stand apart from the crowd, with a radically-styled exterior, long list of innovative features and advanced safety systems. Where many 5-passenger SUVs seem to be returning to a boxy, upright design, the Murano boldly goes the other direction. Despite is wild exterior, the 2019 Murano’s interior space and available all-wheel-drive system keep it squarely in the zone for which most people shop an SUV. Up against newer competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Subaru Forester and the Ford Edge, the Murano still looks pretty good, although it does come up short in off-road capability and overall utility arenas. With more SUVs riding like stiff performance sedans, those seeking isolation from the harsh realities of today’s roads may find the 2019 Murano to be exactly what they’re looking for.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, the Murano gets a facelift, touting a more pronounced V-motion grille, LED headlights and new wheels. The Platinum trim gets a revised semi-aniline interior, while new standard features include Rear Door Alert (warns drivers to check the rear seat before departing the vehicle), two USB Type C ports and Intelligent Driver Alertness. Optional on the SL and standard on the Platinum trim is Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 that includes forward and reverse emergency braking with pedestrian protection, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams and rear cross-traffic alert.
What We Like
Dramatic styling; lots of high-tech options; luxurious interior; good fuel economy; strong V6 engine
What We Don’t
Not as fun to drive as the first- and second-generation Muranos; big blind spot in the rear-quarter panel; high price with options added
The 2019 Murano is powered by Nissan’s venerable 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Murano’s fuel economy at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Those figures remain unchanged on cars equipped with AWD.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Nissan Murano comes in four trims: S, SV, SL and Platinum. All four are available with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or AWD.
The Murano S ($32,315 FWD, $33,915 AWD) includes a manual tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, automatic emergency braking, intelligent forward-collision warning, Rear Door Alert, Intelligent Driver Alertness, cruise control, power accessories, rear privacy glass, auto-on/off headlights, Zero Gravity seating, a 6-way manual driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, an AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers and an auxiliary input jack, NissanConnect with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and music-streaming capability, SiriusXM radio, an 8-in color display and a rearview monitor.
The Murano SV ($35,485 FWD, $37,085 AWD) adds roof rails, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, remote engine start, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar control and a 4-way power passenger seat.
The optional SV Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof, Bose audio, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, intelligent cruise control, intelligent driver alert, an intelligent around-view monitor and 18-in gunmetal alloy wheels.
The Murano SL ($40,275 FWD, $41,875 AWD) brings leather seating, a Bose audio system, heated outside mirrors, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, intelligent cruise control, a motion-activated power lift gate, heated front seats and the around-view monitor. Options for the SL include a Technology package that brings a power panoramic moonroof, traffic sign recognition and Safety Shield 360 system.
The Murano Platinum ($44,575 FWD, $46,175 AWD) comes loaded and includes a heated power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, heated rear seats, 20-in alloy wheels, heated and cooled front seats, Safety Shield 360, traffic sign recognition and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
The Murano comes standard with front, front-side impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags. It also features automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, electronic traction and stability control, hill-start assist and a driver’s-knee airbag. Optional safety equipment includes rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, reverse automatic braking, pedestrian and traffic sign recognition and lane-departure warning.
In crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Murano four out of five stars overall, with four stars in the frontal crash test, five in the side-impact test and four in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Murano its best rating of Good in every category, and a Superior in the crash avoidance and mitigation test.
Behind the Wheel
After spending some time behind the wheel of the Nissan Murano, our editors came away with some very strong opinions. Everyone agrees the ride is very quiet, handling is confident but not sporty, and the 3.5-liter V6 is perfectly matched to the CVT transmission. Site editor Brian Moody said, "Nissan has been using CVTs for a while, and the one found in the new Murano is the best version yet. There’s no lurching or constant high revving. Nissan has added shift points that make the Murano’s CVT act like a more traditional automatic transmission under heavy acceleration. Still, some enthusiasts won’t like the CVT no matter what."
We expect most buyers will think the CVT feels just fine, and they’ll definitely appreciate its role in helping the Murano achieve such good gas mileage.
But while our team praised the Murano’s luxurious new feel and improved efficiency, those who prefer a sportier ride were somewhat let down. Enthusiasts may not find the Murano to be a perfect fit, but we think the vast majority of consumers will appreciate the balance Nissan has struck between good handling and a soft, comfortable ride.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe — The Santa Fe can match the Murano for comfort, features and style, but its base 4-cylinder engine isn’t that powerful, and the optional turbocharged 4-cylinder still falls short of the Murano’s standard horsepower. The AWD Murano gets much better fuel economy than its Santa Fe Sport counterpart, but the Hyundai has a better warranty.
2019 Ford Edge — The Edge offers less polarizing styling and a bit more interior room, plus the choice of three powerful engines. Fuel economy is on par with the Murano.
2019 Kia Sorento — The Sorento has a lower base price, a more powerful V6 engine and the option of a third-row seat. It isn’t as modern-looking as the Murano, but it does have a better standard warranty.
Used Lexus RX 350 — For about the same price as a Murano SL or Platinum, you can pick up a nice 2014-2017 Lexus RX 350. Go with a certified pre-owned vehicle and you’ll get a car that’s been thoroughly inspected to Lexus‘ standards and comes with a warranty that lasts 3 years from your date of purchase or until the vehicle reaches 100,000 miles.
If you can live without a power driver’s seat, a panoramic sunroof and safety features such as blind spot monitoring, we think the base S model is a great value. Even with AWD, the price still stays right around $34,000. If you can’t live without the aforementioned goodies, go for the SL with the Technology package.