KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/7/2012
As it did a decade ago when introduced, the 2013 Nissan Murano SUV offers trend-setting looks and features that others are just now beginning to implement. The Murano continues to buck the blocky-SUV trend in favor of a rounded, organic shape. As it has from the start, this 5-passenger carryall uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a setup that tends to offer better fuel economy than traditional automatics. Available in front- or all-wheel-drive, the Nissan Murano has a strong V6 engine and a driver-oriented suspension that helps it further stand out from competitors such as the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe and Chevrolet Equinox. The Murano is also available as a 4-passenger convertible called the CrossCabriolet that has become something of an odd duckling in the automotive world.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a crossover SUV that has sports-car styling and room for people and cargo, the 2013 Nissan Murano is a tempting option. If you take the plunge on a CrossCabriolet version, well, let's just say that you'll stand out.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If class-leading fuel efficiency, a low price, or a 3rd-row seat is a requirement in your SUV, you'll have to look beyond the Murano. Vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento have higher fuel economy and a lower starting price, and others such as the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander offer three rows of seats.
What's New for 2013
Safety features such as blind-spot warning and Moving Object Detection are optional. An SV Value Package is available and includes Bose audio system, power liftgate, and navigation. SV models now include auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink remote transceiver.
We are impressed overall with the Nissan Murano's road-going abilities. The SUV's stout V6 easily tackles hills, and its CVT automatic transmission holds torque at peak levels until you let off the throttle. The Murano's handling is among the best in its class. Steering and brake response are excellent, and a stiff suspension keeps this SUV planted with minimal body roll. On the flip side, that stiff suspension can translate to a rougher ride for occupants. Rear passengers may find it difficult to get comfortable, though the reclining seats help. The Murano does offer ample headroom and legroom for 6-footers. An available iPod interface makes it easy to find songs – but not specific artists – while driving.
POWER-RETURN REAR SEATS
In addition to folding with the pull of a lever, in SL and LE trims the Murano's 60/40 split rear seats have a power return feature that automatically brings them back up. Instead of arm wrestling with upholstery, all you have to do is press a button.
DRIVER'S POSITION MEMORY SYSTEM
This feature on top-trim LE Muranos automatically adjusts the driver's seat, steering wheel and side mirrors to preselected spots for up to two drivers. Consider it his and hers seating arrangements.
The Murano's 5-passenger interior shines in both quality and design, especially in higher-trim models. The front and rear seats are firm and supportive, and the leather used in SL and LE trims feels as if it could have come from Nissan's Infiniti premium brand. Dash controls are arranged well, except for the location of buttons for the available heated steering wheel and power liftgate. The cargo hull is relatively spacious with over 31 cubic feet of storage capacity, an amount that more than doubles with the rear seats folded. The CrossCabriolet has a 4-passenger interior, and its rear seats do not fold.
The Murano has been around for a decade, but its profile still feels fresh despite not changing much. The 2013 Murano has a sporty design that begins with sweeping headlight enclosures, a high beltline along the sides, and an athletic rear highlighted by twin exhaust outlets, hexagonal rear window, and wraparound taillights. The 2-door CrossCabriolet, introduced two years ago, bills itself as "the world's first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible." With its high beltline and limited visibility with the top up, this duckbilled platypus of an automobile is odd indeed, and seems to answer a question few were asking.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2013 Nissan Murano comes in four trims, each with front-wheel drive standard or all-wheel drive as an option. Base S versions are rather skimpy on features compared with even the next level trim, SV. S trim models do come with dual-zone automatic climate control, pushbutton start/stop, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD changer with auxiliary input, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Missing in action on that base trim, but found on others, are Bluetooth connectivity, roof rails, automatic headlights, a power liftgate, illuminated steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a vehicle security system, and power front seats. Murano CrossCabriolets come in just one, well-equipped trim that includes all-wheel drive, Bose premium sound system, leather seats (heated up front), and a heated steering wheel.
Notable Optional Equipment
Major options for the 2013 Murano are bundled according to trim, with higher versions receiving features such as leather interior, power front seats, and color monitor with rearview camera display. All-wheel drive is optional on every trim and standard on the Murano CrossCabriolet convertible. A navigation package on SL and CrossCabriolet models adds, obviously, a touch-screen nav system along with Bluetooth streaming audio. A similar bundle called Platinum Edition on top-level LE trims includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Accessories include roof-rail crossbars to accommodate extra gear, and dual 7-inch LCD monitors with DVD playback for rear-seat entertainment.
Under the Hood
2013 Muranos are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes an ample 260 horsepower in regular models and slightly more in CrossCabriolet versions. All Muranos use Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission. CVTs essentially feel like a 1-speed automatic and take a little getting used to, since there are no traditional shift points. The Murano is rated to tow up to 3,500, but here again the CrossCabriolet is an exception, as Nissan says towing is not recommended for that model.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (Front-wheel drive), 18/23 mpg (all-wheel drive)
3.5-liter V6 (CrossCabriolet)
265 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg
The 2013 Nissan Murano has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $31,000 for a base model with front-wheel drive. A loaded Murano with all-wheel drive, the Platinum package and rear-seat DVD entertainment system can add up to more than $45,000. The Murano's soft-top alter-ego, the CrossCabriolet, starts in the mid-$40,000 range. The Murano's price is in line with the Honda Pilot and V6 versions of the Toyota Highlander, and is higher than the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox and Kia Sorento models with V6 engines. The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport also has a lower starting price, including the trim with a 264-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Before you buy, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2013 Nissan Murano. We expect the Murano to retain its value well, but for its residuals to not quite match those of the Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot.