This week I am behind the wheel of the very stylish 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum Edition.
For 2015, the Murano was completely redesigned. The exterior styling of the Murano is radical, it’s in your face, it’s bold, and Nissan was not afraid to take risks. They decided to make it edgy and grab people’s attention.
It has a bold, swooping front end with boomerang headlights that flow into the fenders. The beltline takes a sharp turn upward just above the rear wheels and those transition into large, rear boomerang taillights. This is one of the most aerodynamic SUVs on the road, which contributes to much better fuel economy than previous years.
Then there is the roof. At a glance, it appears the roof is floating above the Murano due to the blacked out windows on the side, where the glass meets the rear window. There is no doubt, even at a glance, that this is the new Murano. From behind, dual chrome exhaust tips look great, and the 20” wheels are a nice touch to fill the large wheel wells.
Going under the hood, there is only one engine and transmission combination, and it is a carryover from previous years, but that is fine, because this 3.5-liter V6 has an excellent record of reliability. It is putting out 260-horses.
Hooked to the engine is a continuously variable transmission, often referred to as the CVT. Over the years, I’ve made it clear that I was not a big fan of the CVT, but I have to say this one doesn’t behave like a typical CVT. It is smooth and responsive and is another key to great fuel economy for a pretty large SUV that weighs in at over 4000 pounds.
Murano comes in front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, which is what I am testing this week. It is also interesting and unusual that the 2-wheel and all-wheel versions get the same miles per gallon.
The 2016 Murano comes in 4 trim levels. The base model is the S and it starts at $29,660. Then you go up to the SL, the SV, and finally to the one I am reviewing, the Platinum model.
Moving to the interior, I think that even people who don’t like the space age exterior, will love the interior. On this model, you get plush leather seats that among some of the most comfortable I have ever driven. Nissan calls the seats zero gravity, and NASA-inspired. I just call them outstanding. Faux light colored wood flows across the dash and into a large area on the door panels, and it continues around the center console. It is funky and unusual, but it works.
Above a large center console is an 8” color screen that houses the NissanConnect system, which gives you your own hand-picked music and podcasts, SiriusXM Sports, movie listings, traffic updates and more, and it works very much like your smart phone, with just a push or a swipe of the screen. It is one of the best systems in the industry. You also get one of the best front and rearview cameras you can get, and the surround view camera gives you an overhead view that is spectacular. The navigation system is easy to use and quite intuitive, and I found their traffic updates to be spot-on.
Around the gauge cluster, you get a programmable 7-inch screen that gives you info like turn-by-turn navigation, tire pressure readings, fuel stats, and safety system alerts.
My tester has heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel with power adjustment, a terrific, blow you out of the car Bose stereo, and a power lift gate. There are USB ports in the front, as well as for the rear passengers.
You also get at no charge, keyless entry, pushbutton start, blind spot monitoring, power seats, remote start, power front seats, heated rear seat, and ambient lighting.
The only option on this one is the $2260 Technology package, which includes a full-length panoramic moon roof, intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning and emergency braking.
Murano has a very spacious back seat and a lot of headroom. Cargo area is big at 40 cubic feet with the back seat up, and 70 cubic feet with the seat folded down, which folds very flat by the way.
In summary, this is an outstanding SUV. When Murano came out in 2003, and was redone in 2009, I just wasn’t a fan, but that has all changed now. It is rated at 21 MPG in town, 28 on the highway, and I am actually topping 30 MPG at 65 miles per hour cruising on the highway.
A couple of things of note, there is not an option for a 3rd row seat, and don’t plan on towing much, it’s rated at 1500 pounds.
MSRP on this ultra-loaded, near-luxury SUV is $44,070 and that is in line with other similar sized, loaded SUVs.
- What I liked most: The interior, exterior looks, and fuel economy.
- What I would change: I would prefer a 7-speed automatic transmission.
- MSRP: Base price $40,700, as equipped $44,070.
- Fuel Economy: 21 City/28 Highway, 24 Combined.
- Fuel Tank: 19 Gallons
- Dimensions: 192.4” long/75.4” wide/66.6” high.
- Weight: 3935 Pounds.
- Trailer Towing: 1500 Pounds
- Miles When Tested: 450 miles.
- Final Assembly Point: Franklin, TN.
- 2016 Murano in a few words: Great SUV value, very enjoyable daily driver.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/60,000 mile powertrain coverage, with roadside assistance.
- Manufacturer’s website: Nissan