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2017 Nissan Murano: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2016

The 2017 Nissan Murano is a 5-passenger SUV notable for its radical styling and innovative features. Some of those features, such as available voice-activated navigation and Bose audio, are expected. Others -- a separate rear-seat USB port, for example -- help set the Murano apart from its competition. Even the base trim offers innovative items, such as NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats specifically designed to alleviate back and leg discomfort on long trips. However, compared to many SUVs, the Murano comes up short in off-road capability and overall utility -- but that's OK, given that most Americans use their SUVs in exactly the same way they use a car. And with more SUVs riding like stiff performance sedans, those seeking isolation from the harsh realities of today's roads may find the 2017 Murano to be exactly what they're looking for.

What's New for 2017?

For 2017, the Nissan Murano gains Apple CarPlay, while the SV trim can now be equipped with Nissan's Driver Attention Alert system

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

How Much?

$30,680-$45,000

Fuel Economy

The 2017 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 all-wheel drive (AWD).

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 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 ($30,680 FWD, $32,280 AWD) includes a manual tilt-telescopic steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, 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, Bluetooth phone and music-streaming capability, SiriusXM radio, a 7-in color display and a rearview monitor.

An optional Navigation package adds an 8-in touchscreen display, NissanConnect with mobile apps, Apple CarPlay, voice-activated navigation and a USB/iPod interface.

The Murano SV ($33,740 FWD, $35,340 AWD) adds the above-mentioned Navigation package, roof rails, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote engine start, an 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar control, a 4-way power passenger seat and HD Radio.

The optional Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof and a 9-speaker Bose audio system. The Driver Assistance package adds a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, Driver Attention Alert, moving-object detection, Nissan's Around View monitor, Homelink and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Murano SL ($38,070 FWD, $39,670 AWD) brings leather seating, the Bose audio system, heated outside mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, Driver Attention Alert, heated front seats, a power rear lift gate and the Around View monitor.

The Murano Platinum ($40,120 FWD, $41,720 AWD) comes pretty loaded and includes a heated power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, heated rear seats, 20-in alloy wheels, heated and cooled front seats and LED low-beam headlights.

Both the SL and the Platinum offer the Technology package, which adds adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, collision mitigation and a panoramic sunroof.

Safety

The Murano comes standard with front, front-side impact and front and rear side-curtain airbags. It also features anti-lock brakes, electronic traction and stability control, hill-start assist and a driver's-knee airbag. Optional safety equipment includes rear cross-traffic alert and collision mitigation.

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.

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 that the ride is very quiet, that handling is confident but not sporty and that 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 new Murano to be a perfect fit, but we think the vast majority of consumers will appreciate the balance that Nissan has struck between good handling and a soft, comfortable ride.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport -- The Santa Fe Sport can match the Murano for comfort, features and style, but its base 4-cylinder engine is weak, and the optional turbocharged 4-cylinder isn't all that much better. The AWD Murano gets much better fuel economy than its Santa Fe Sport counterpart.

2017 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.

2017 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 2012-2016 Lexus RX 350. Go with a certified pre-owned vehicle, and you'll get a car that has 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.

Autotrader's Advice

If you can live without a power driver's seat, a panoramic sunroof and safety features such as forward-collision warning and a blind spot monitoring system, we think the base S model is a great value. Even with AWD and the Navigation package, the price still stays right around $33,000.

If you can't live without the aforementioned goodies, go for the Platinum with the Technology package. It's only about $2,000 more than the SL, and at this price point, the difference in your monthly payment will hardly be noticeable.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Nissan Murano: New Car Review - Autotrader