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 Nick on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent handling and comfortable ride"
Cons: "Maybe a little more storage for nick nacks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second Murano and I love it. It handles well and looks great! Maybe some improvement in the gas mileage would be nice. My 1st Murano has gotten up to 26MPG. This one is getting 19MPG. Im seriously thinking of purchasing the hot new 2015! Id love to see some sharp new colors."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Jim on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A really good suv. Great value!"
Cons: "With 20 inch wheels, replacement tire are expensiv"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 55,000 miles not a single problem. This vehicle has excellent handling, an extraordinary ride with comfort that compares to a Land Cruiser (my previous vehicle)."
17 people out of 26 found this review helpful
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"
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
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."
20 people out of 29 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."
5 people out of 11 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!"
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful