The Murano has many curves and angles that make it stand out, for better or worse. But those swoops interfere with outward visibility and the mundane driving experience doesn’t live up to the promises of the styling.
Like other Nissans with the sweet 3.5-liter V6, there is plenty of oomph on tap. But while the CVT is one of the better ones on the market, this combination seems happier in around-town cruising. Fuel economy is 21 mpg overall, which is average for the category. Whether on the street or our test track, we found the Murano’s handling predictable. It managed a modest speed through our avoidance maneuver, but at its limits the overly light steering detracted from driver confidence and enjoyment. Handling is ultimately secure, but don't expect the agility of the Ford Edge competitor.
The ride is steady and absorbent, and highway travel is a smooth cruise, particularly with the standard 18-inch wheels. But steer clear of the 20-inch wheels, which don’t do any favors for comfort. Passengers will enjoy the hushed cabin, which effectively keeps engine and road noise at bay.
Interior materials and trim in our SL are almost on par with the Lexus RX. The leather seats are welcoming, though they incrementally lose support on long trips. Backseat legroom is generous, even for adults. The Murano’s intuitive infotainment system combines an easy-to-use interface, traditional volume and tuning knobs, and a row of on screen buttons, making it easy to find a desired function.
For 2021, Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 becomes standard for all trim lines, This package includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic warning, lane departure warning, high beam assist and rear automatic braking. The optional surround-view camera system is also a great help in parking, given the lousy visibility to the sides and rear.