The Exciting New Nissan Murano Crossover

Reading about the 2019 Nissan Murano Crossover, you’d swear different reviewers are talking about very different vehicles. “Semi-luxury” upgrade says one. “Quirky,” says another. Simply “updated” is yet another reports. Nissan themselves are spinning it as already a “classic premium crossover.” The price – low $30,000s base – doesn’t help resolve the question, either. And then there’s the Murano “crosscabriolet.” This is where we sort a bunch of it out.


The Murano, introduced in 2003, was an early example of the mid-size two-row crossover. Is it still a leading example of how the crossover is done?

It is. From day one, the Murano has taken liberties with style and lead with new technologies such as CVT, and it continues to do so. In addition to making points which look good in reviews and press, it provides creature comforts and driving assists which are valuable in a practical sense. The 2019 Murano is a balance between pushing the design and feature envelope and holding firm to an accessible price point. There has been a lot of pressure on the crossover market to increase competition and let cost move a bit to absorb the new upgrades. While the Murano is not competing against some of the new upscale crossovers, at half the price of some of them, that's ok.


How is the 2019 Murano's interior? What kinds of comfort features are there, front and rear?

The interior of the 2019 Nissan Murano is upgraded with features from other lines such as the Maxima's diamond-quilted semi-aniline leather seating with contrasting micro-piping, along with brushed metal trim and dark wood-tone finishers. Buyers have more available interior customizations with three new trim finishes. The power Panoramic Moonroof is available on the Platinum trim level. The electronics have also received a much-needed update. USB-C charging ports are available to the front and rear passengers - this is a good thing since we're always running out of battery power while playing Candy Crush.


What are the electronics and infotainment system like? Is this new equipment, or a carryover from previous years?

It's very easy for the Murano to listen to your every word what with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, plus Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant included in the Murano's latest electronics package, along with over-the-air updates to keep features fresh. A premium navigation package, Nissan Door to Door Traffic, provides advanced nav features including directions linked seamlessly to your smartphone, including walking directions back to the parked vehicle. Nissan ProPilot Assist partial autonomous driving features are not yet available in the 2019 Murano, which may lead some buyers to choose the Rogue, where it is already available.


What kinds of changes has the exterior experienced? Are there lighting and visual identity design flairs to note?

The more dynamic V-Motion grille design which aligns the Murano with other Nissan models is joined by brighter colors which bring the Murano into the fold with Maxima and Altima including Sunset Drift, Mocha Almond, and Deep Blue. The LED headlamps taillights and fog lamps have been updated, and there are several larger-diameter wheel options available.


What powertrain options are there? Anything hybrid or electric?

It's the same 24-valve 3.5 liter V-6 as in 2018 with 260 hp. The gearbox, as it were, is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving either the front wheels or optional all-wheel drive. There was a 2016 hybrid, but the Murano line has been refocused on the V-6 since then.


How are the ride and handling? Is the Murano fit for offroad to any degree, or like many crossovers just a ruggedly good-looking street vehicle?

The 2019 Murano is aimed even further into the luxury, around-town market with plenty of great driving features but not a lot beside decent clearance to recommend it for off-road use. Handling and ride are both as presented in the original 2003 model, comfortable and not particularly rugged or responsive, designed for on-road use.


What kinds of active safety and driver assist features are there? Is there anything innovative or exclusive?

Each model year of crossovers brings a spread of standard active safety features and the addition of a few more advanced ones. The 2019 Murano brings Nissan's Safety Shield 360 driver-assist bundle in the Platinum Murano and as an option in the SL. It includes automated emergency braking in both forward and reverse mode, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. There's also a lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam headlamps. All trim levels include driver-attention monitoring and the rear-seat reminder. Further safety options include rear door alert, intelligent lane intervention, and traffic sign recognition.


Why did Car and Driver call the updated 2019 Muran "semi-luxurious?" What about The Drive calling it "quirky?"

The term "quirky" describes the Murano's styling, which goes beyond the raised hump look of many crossovers which provides the attractive headroom and passenger space. The Murano aims to provide some more dynamic lines to enhance the increased interior space and avoid the static hump, and apparently, it comes across as quirky. Semi-luxurious is what Nissan is aiming for, so C&D is right on. It's a tough target between the Audi and Lexus products and the basic Ford and Jeep packages. Nissan adds features and styling and keeps interior space and performance fairly standard.


What the heck is/was a crosscabriolet? Is it still available for 2019?

There have been a few detours on the Murano timeline including a short-lived hybrid model and the two-door convertible "crosscabriolet." Nissan said farewell to it in 2018, recommending that customers consider 370Z convertibles instead. The crosscabriolet was a unique AWD convertible, loaded with premium options like leather and a skylight plus room for five adults.


Where does the Murano stand in Nissan's range of crossover SUVs? What's the jump to higher-end luxury?

The 2019 Nissan SUV lineup includes the Kicks, the Rogue and Rogue Sport, the Murano, the Pathfinder, and the Armada. The Armada provides a host of upscale features, especially in the Platinum Reserve trim, but the Murano line is aimed at pushing the limit of luxury for Nissan crossover-class buyers.


Other Nissan models like the 2019 Maxima are also getting incremental improvements. Is there a renewal period due in the years to come?

In exterior styling with V-motion grilles, new colors, implementation of Nissan Safety Shield 360 and interior styling, both the Murano and the Maxima have been updated for 2019 to align with other models such as the Altima and Rogue. Once the company's U.S. lineup is coordinated, buyers will be looking for the company's response to energetic competition, especially in the crossover domain, but no concrete indicators of what that response will be have been seen.

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