By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
As it was when introduced in 2003, the 2012 Nissan Murano SUV remains a step ahead of the competition. Where many manufacturers are just now trumpeting the efficiency of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Murano has always been equipped with the technology. And, where other small SUVs are moving away from the boxy and bland design, the Murano has always been a sleek and stylish trendsetter. The Murano crossover is packed with all manner of modern amenities. Nissan's response to the rapidly changing world of design, however, has left the automotive community bewildered on behalf of the 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet, an eccentric convertible version that appears to answer a question the market has yet to ask. While competitors such as the Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-7 and Toyota Highlander can all match the 2012 Murano for features and interior space, the Murano's driver-oriented suspension, slick styling and high-end luxury interior keep it one step ahead of the SUV still trying to keep up.
If you're looking for a crossover vehicle with plenty of space for people and cargo but that doesn't look like a rolling bread box, the 2012 Nissan Murano SUV is the logical choice.
If a low base price or fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine is on your wish list, the Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe, or Mazda CX-7 is more likely to please. Those seeking a third-row seat won't find one in the 2012 Nissan Murano SUV.
For 2012, Nissan adds a new Platinum Package that brings 20-inch wheels and standard navigation. The Murano S models gain a new 7-inch monochrome screen.
Driving Impressions We spent a few days with the 2012 Nissan Murano and came away feeling really good about this crossover's abilities. Steep hills were no problem for the Murano's torque-happy V6...engine, and the CVT transmission holds that torque at peak levels until you let off the throttle. The 2012 Nissan Murano's handling is among the best in this class, with excellent steering and brake response and a stiff suspension that keeps body roll and lean to a minimum. Unfortunately, that same stiff suspension seemed to cause our back-seat passengers to complain of a stiff ride that sometimes made it difficult to get comfortable. All agreed, however, that the Murano provided ample head and legroom for 6-footers, and the reclining rear seatbacks did somewhat help them relax. We were also very impressed not only by the quality of the Murano's interior, but by its available features that included a heated steering wheel, voice-activated navigation, a huge dual-panel moonroof and awe-inspiring Bose audio system. The available iPod adapter interface proved easy to use when scrolling through the menus and songs, but less helpful when looking for specific artists that appear alphabetically on the bottom of the list.
POWER RETURN REAR SEATS
No need to wrestle with the rear seats to get them back into the upright position; the 2012 Murano's available power-return rear seatbacks go up with the push of a button.
Auxiliary input jacks are decent for listening to iPods, but the 2012 Nissan Murano crossover also has an adapter that makes controlling your iPod through the factory radio easy, enabling you to keep your eyes on the road more when skipping between artists or songs.
Where the 2012 Murano SUV really shines is its interior, not just for the quality of the materials, but in the execution of its design. Seating both front and rear is firm and supportive, and the texture of the leather coverings is as good as in any Infiniti luxury car. With the exception of the oddly placed controls for the traction control, heated steering wheel and power liftgate down by the driver's knee, the 2012 Murano's instrument panel is logically arranged and easy to connect with. Unlike in some SUVs, Nissan designers wisely avoided the temptation to litter the dash with multiple buttons and knobs. Handsome wood inlays grace the door armrest and center console on the LE trim, while all others receive tasteful aluminum trim that looks particularly fashionable when contrasted against a black interior. Placing redundant controls for the audio, cruise and Bluetooth activation on the steering wheel helps the driver keep control of the vehicle, as does the available voice-activated navigation system. Rear-seat passengers enjoy generous head and legroom, and can be pampered with such luxuries as heated seat cushions and a DVD entertainment system complete with headrest-mounted LCD screens.Exterior
After nine years, the Murano's basic shape remains unaltered. Although it has had numerous face lifts and sheet-metal changes, the familiar profile, with its slowly rising beltline that swings sharply upward once past the rear door, remains a staple of the Murano design. The windshield A-pillars are set low and angled back to create a sports-car-like appearance that contradicts the Murano's 7.3 inches of ground clearance, a decidedly SUV-like attribute. Fancy 18- and 20-inch alloy wheels look sharp and set off the Murano's sportier side without compromising its available all-wheel-drive (AWD) ability or fuel economy. All but the S trim models include front foglights, while LE trims are equipped with HID headlights. An available dual-panel moonroof allows fresh air and sunlight to fill the cabin, but if sacrificing respectable looks for pure open-top freedom seems sounds like a reasonable proposition, the CrossCabriolet's double-lined retractable soft top is sure to raise the fun factor, and some eyebrows.
The 2012 Nissan Murano S crossover features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, Xtronic CVT automatic transmission, dual-zone automatic climate control, 6-disc MP3 compatible CD changer, auxiliary audio input jack, Intelligent Key with push-button start, driver's-seat lumbar support and a 60/40 split folding rear seat with cargo area-accessible releases. To this the SV adds a dual-panel moonroof, power front seats, auto on/off headlights, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, USB port for iPod, and Bluetooth. The SL trim brings leather seating, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, memory for the driver's seat, a power liftgate, 11-speaker Bose audio and rain-sensing wipers. The LE adds HID headlights, 20-inch wheels, heated rear seats and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Standard safety features on all Muranos include Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), and six airbags (front, front-side and side-curtain.)
Most options on the 2012 Nissan Murano SUV are bundled according to trim, so if you want rain-sensing wipers, for example, you'll have to order the SL or LE trims. The Navigation Package, available only on SL and LE, brings Nissan's hard-drive navigation with 7-inch touch-screen monitor, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather, Bluetooth streaming audio and a 9.3 GB music box hard-drive storage system. Some stand-alone options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, mudguards, retractable cargo cover, illuminated kick plates, rear-bumper protector and roof-rail cross bars.
The 2012 Nissan Murano SUV offers only one engine: a 3.5-liter V6 with Continuous Valve Timing Control and Nissan Variable Induction Control. This strong performer is linked to Nissan's newest Xtronic CVT transmission, which provides even power distribution whenever it's needed and contributes to the Murano's impressive 3,500-pound tow rating.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg (Front-wheel drive), 18/24 mpg (AWD), 17/22 mpg (CrossCabriolet)
By retired principal on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,250overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great ride!!"
Cons: "need more cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this suv for travel and overall quality. It has not failed to meet my needs. A VERY comfortable ride with enough room for three adults to travel including my golf gear. The only thing I did wrong was fail to get the nav system when I bought it. That will change on my next purchase. The car has two very minor negatives-- mpg and interior space design. The mpg is a steady23-24 on highway, and I would have liked a bit more cabin storage around the driver, especially a cup holder in the door. Overall, I am very happy with this car"
By Baron on Sunday, June 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality ride, fun to drive, great for long trips."
Cons: "Overly reflective windshield and rear blind spots."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"After a full year with the car, I am still surprised each day by the quality of this vehicle. The build quality and the driving dynamics of such a large vehicle are truly amazing. The vehicle has outstanding breaks, very good acceleration and I have found the CVT transmission to be noise free and quite amazing, especially in the mountains. We have averaged 25 mpg over the 14100 miles we have driven. The seats are comfortable and supportive. The multi-zone climate control is flawless. The stereo system is high-quality and quite enjoyable. The only deficiencies I have observed are vision related. The inside of the windshield is overly reflective, especially early in the morning or late in the evening. The vehicle also has large blind spots to the rear. The free maintenance which was included with the vehicle is also quite nice. It came with the added security of knowing the vehicle was inspected by factory mechanics every couple of months. I thoroughly love this vehicle and would readily purchase another."
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Mdiaz14160 on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, spacious"
Cons: "big blind spot on pass. side, poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I like this car but not enough to say I love it. It seems like the girl you ALMOST marry, but leave at the altar. It would probably be a better car if I had a family to transport or groceries to buy from a big box outlet every week. I live in NYC and while the car is reliable and comfortable, it's turning radius, pick up and driveability leave something to be desired. However, since I put big new tires on it-the ride is better."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Laura R on Sunday, May 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Narrow door slot and rear view could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love just about everything about this car. If I had to point out one negative which seems to be across the boards with most crossovers these days is that it does have a blind spot due to the thick pillars in the back. The rear view camera makes up for it though. It is fun to drive and has the pick up that I would except from a car not an suv. Nissan knows what they are doing to say the least!"
6 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By bigbob1954 on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A head turner in style, Good performance."
Cons: "I like more horsepower, I'm a performance nut."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle was purchased used with 70000 miles in 2012, its a 2004 garage kept and loaded, with silver exterior. It has all wheel drive and black leather interior, the seats are large and very comfortable. I have the original window sticker and it was $43000 in 2004. I have made some minor repairs, the paint is excellent, like almost new. This vehicle has enough performance, luxury and style that even as a 2004 model can compete with newer vehicles. I've owned many types of vehicles in my 65 YOA and I can say this Murano pushes all the right buttons for me. Its styling was a little hard for me to take at first, I'm very conservative but upon driving it I was hooked. I would recommend this Vehicle to anyone. I believe Murano was the first to create this style and has been copied by just about all other manufactures. I can't say enough about this vehicle, I love it. It's no longer the new kid on the block and gets over looked by all the Car magazines who push the newest model's offered. Drive the Murano don't over look it."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By crossoversRule42 on Monday, April 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, highway cruising, quiet ride, features"
Cons: "small door pockets, some features, a/c just ok"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"It's a good crossover with a decent/fairly quiet ride. I own the 2012 SV version which still gave me (as standard) a backup camera (very necessary), driver and passenger power seats, dual moonroof (which wasn't important to me, but should help the resale value), and dual zone a/c with rear vents while still offering cloth seats which I prefer (not leather like other car companies force you to get with those features and charge you more for). Other good things about this car is the excellent handling, large screen backup camera in the middle of the dashboard,auxillary input jack for my mp3, and fantastic exterior looks with the sweet merlot red color. I've also had no major repairs done in the year and half of ownership. It excells at highway cruising and steering is dead on. Cloth armrests on doors are also nice as well as the pushbutton start and the pushbutton door handles that allow for easy entry. The not so great is the narrow door pockets with no cupholders, no gray cloth interior offered (had to take black which I still like better than the beige that most usually come with), just average size cargo capacity, the cupholders behind the gearshift that's just too tall, narrow rear passenger side air vents that barely work and no seperate controls for them, ride needs to be just a little softer for front and more so for the rear passengers, standard tires don't do well in snow and makes you feel little cracks in the road, dual zone a/c doesn't always work correctly, speed sensitive stereo volume control doesn't work at all, steering is a little light at low speeds, brakes are a little touchy, cvt doesn't downshift low enough for good highway passing, had to order special windshield sunshade because store bought versions weren't long enough to fit right under the visors, rearview mirror (which is too small) gets too weak on hot summer days so can't use a clip on extended mirror for better visibility, lowbeam headights need to be greatly improved, view between side mirrors (which are too tall) and door sills (just too thick) are too obstructed for good outward visibility to the sides, front wipers should be hidden better from driver's view when not used, windshield defroster doesn't work with recirculating air so outside smoke/exhuast usually comes in (not fun in winter) and windows fog up a lot when heater is used, and speedometer is sometimes hard to see in the evening. Also had to drive out of state (around 7 hours) to purchase exact car I wanted since dealership wasn't willing to bring the car to it's store which would have been within a fourty five minute drive of where I lived. Even with these complaints, I still haven't seen any SUV crossovers that were better than the Murano for standard features (without leather), style, and handling ability, and any car on the road today will have it's fair share of imperfections or problems. The Murano isn't perfect but it's still better overall than most cars I've seen, owned, or test drove!"
25 people out of 35 found this review helpful