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Auto review: Nissan's 2019 Murano gets a freshening

The 2019 Murano got an exterior makeover

The 2019 Murano got an exterior makeover  that includes three new colors, including Deep Blue Pearl, seen here. Credit: Nissan USA

Nissan’s five-passenger midsize Murano crossover returns for 2019 with a “freshened” exterior design and some new premium interior features, along with additional safety and driver-assistance technologies.

Styling tweaks include a new, bolder V-motion grille; restyled LED headlights (now standard) and LED taillights; and new 18- and 20-inch wheel designs. But the changes are not dramatic, so it’s still clearly identifiable as a Murano — continuing the unique edgy styling that has always set this vehicle apart from its competitors.

The 2019 Murano comes in four trim levels, starting with the base front-wheel-drive S ($31,270 plus $1,045 freight), followed by the front-drive SV ($34,440), our tester for this report; SL ($39,230); and Platinum ($43,530). All-wheel drive can be added to any trim level for an additional $1,600.

As before, the Murano seats up to five people. There is 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat (31.1 with the panoramic moon roof), or 67 cubic feet (65 with the moon roof) with the rear seatback folded down.

All models continue to be powered by a normally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 260 horsepower and 240 foot-pounds of torque. It’s connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission.

The third-generation Murano’s heavily sculptured look brought lots of creases and folds, eliminating the smoother lines of the previous model. One of the coolest features is the panoramic moon roof, which gives the Murano a convertible feel.

Murano’s interior was designed to give occupants the feel of an upscale social lounge, Nissan says. To help with that, our SV model came with comfortable brown leather seats, with buckets up front and a three-person bench in the rear.

Our rear seat had a pull-down center armrest that also had dual cupholders, and, at the front, a gadget cubby for smartphones and such. At the rear of the front console, in easy reach of the rear passengers, there was a USB port, along with dual vents for heating and air conditioning.

The NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats for the driver/front passenger and rear outboard passengers help keep occupants comfortable on long drives, just as they were designed to do for astronauts on long space flights. The rear seats have a three-cushion design, a first for a Nissan vehicle.

Knee room is a bit limited in the rear seat, though, especially when the front seats are set to accommodate larger people.

Our SV came with a navigation system combined with the Bose audio system (including two subwoofers), and AM/FM/HD/satellite radio. NissanConnect with Mobile Apps was standard, along with Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. The nav system can be operated by voice commands.

We had heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment on the driver’s side, and four-way on the passenger’s side. The steering wheel and shifter were leather-wrapped. Remote entry with pushbutton start was included, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-inch in-dash DriveAssist display above the steering column, and a driver’s side memory system for outside mirrors and seat position.

Three 12-volt outlets are provided along with the two USB ports, which can be used for charging of smartphones and tablets.

Outside, our Arctic Blue Metallic-painted Murano had fog lights, silver-painted roof rails, a power tailgate, heated outside mirrors, and rear tinted privacy glass.

There was more than ample power from the V-6 engine, and the standard traction control helped keep the car going smoothly.

Originally introduced for 2004, the Murano’s name was taken from a style of fine Italian glass. It fits into the Nissan crossover lineup between the compact Rogue and the larger, seven-passenger Pathfinder. Rogue and Pathfinder are assembled in Tennessee, while the Murano is a product of Nissan’s Mississippi plant.

2019 Nissan Murano

Base price: $31,270

Price as tested: $34,440

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, normally aspirated

Transmission: Continuously variable automatic

Power: 260 hp

Length: 192.8 inches

Curb weight range: 3,823-4,137 pounds

EPA fuel economy: 20 mpg city, 28 highway

Competitors: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe

 Bottom line: Freshened up


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