The 2020 Nissan Murano continues to stand apart from the crowd, with a radically styled exterior, a long list of innovative features and a healthy offering of 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 its wild exterior, the Murano’s interior space and available all-wheel-drive system keep it worthy of consideration by most people in the market for a 5-passenger SUV. Up against newer competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Honda Passport and the Ford Edge, the Murano still looks pretty good, although it does come up short when it comes to off-road capability and overall utility, instead prioritizing style and on-road prowess. With more SUVs riding like stiff performance sedans, those seeking isolation from the harsh realities of today’s roads may find the 2020 Murano to be exactly what they’re looking for.
What’s New for 2020?
After receiving a face-lift for 2019, the Murano glides into 2020 pretty much unchanged. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety tech has been expanded to lower trims. Certain optional equipment is now standard on particular trims, while some option packages have been tweaked. Finally, “super black” has joined the Murano’s exterior color palette. See the 2020 Nissan Murano models for sale near you
What We Like
- Dramatic styling
- Lots of high-tech options
- A luxurious interior
- Good fuel economy
- A strong V6 engine
What We Don’t
- Not as fun to drive as the first- and second-generation Muranos
- Has a big blind spot in the rear-quarter panel
- Low on utility
The 2020 Murano is powered by Nissan’s venerable 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Murano’s fuel economy at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in combined driving, regardless of whether it’s a 2-wheel-drive or AWD model.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Nissan Murano comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum. All four are available with either front-wheel drive or AWD, which comes with a $1,600 price premium.
The Murano S ($32,575 FWD, $34,175 AWD) includes a manual tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Nissan Intelligent Key system with push-button start, automatic emergency braking, intelligent forward-collision warning, rear door alert, Intelligent Driver Alertness, cruise control, power accessories, rear privacy glass, automatic 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 ($36,205 FWD, $37,805 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 Alertness, an Intelligent Around View Monitor and 18-in gunmetal alloy wheels.
The Murano SL ($40,675 FWD, $42,275 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 Intelligent Around View Monitor. Options for the SL include a Technology package that brings a power panoramic moonroof, traffic sign recognition and a Safety Shield 360 system.
The Murano Platinum ($44,775 FWD, $46,375 AWD) comes loaded with 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: 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 score of Superior ratings 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 that most buyers will think the CVT feels just fine, and they’ll definitely appreciate its role in helping the Murano achieve such respectable fuel economy.
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.
While offering refinement, the Murano’s interior feels a bit dated — a reminder that this vehicle has been on sale since the 2015 model year without a major redesign.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Honda Passport — The new Pilot-derived Passport is pretty great. As far as 5-passenger, car-based midsize SUVs go, the Passport offers huge interior space and great, functional features, making it one of the more utility-oriented offerings in the segment and a polar opposite from the style-focused Murano.
2020 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.
2020 Ford Edge — The Edge offers less polarizing styling and a bit more interior room, plus the choice of three powerful engines. The performance-oriented Edge ST offers something that no Murano can match.
2020 Kia Sorento — The Sorento has a lower base price, a more powerful V6 engine and the option of a third-row seat. It doesn’t look as modern as the Murano, but it does have a better standard warranty.
Used Lexus RX 350 — For about the same price as a brand-new Murano SL or Platinum, buyers can pick up a nice 2016-2018 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 three years from your date of purchase or until the vehicle reaches 100,000 miles.
When looking for any new car, it’s generally worth considering a middle-of-the-pack trim level first. In the case of the Murano, these are the SV and SL trims. Both come with active safety features like automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, plus a power-operated driver’s seat, remote start and automatic climate control. The SL adds leather seating, a 360-degree camera system and Bose audio, among a few other things. Given that every Murano offers the same infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, we’d probably opt for the SV trim. If you live in a climate that sees snow, you may be glad if you have AWD. Otherwise, we’d probably skip it and save the $1,600. Find a Nissan Murano for sale