By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
As it did when introduced over a decade ago, the 2014 Nissan Murano SUV offers trend-setting looks and features that others are just beginning to implement. The Murano continues to buck the blocky-SUV style 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 deliver better fuel economy than traditional automatics. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the Nissan Murano has a strong V6 engine and a driver-oriented suspension that help set it apart from competitors such as the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Chevrolet Equinox. Another Murano distinction is the CrossCabriolet, a 4-passenger convertible that's unique in this class.
If you're looking for a crossover SUV that has sports-car styling, nimble handling, and room for people and cargo, the 2014 Nissan Murano is a tempting choice. If you're tempted by the CrossCabriolet version, well, let's just say that you'll stand out.
If miserly mpg, a conventional automatic transmission or 3rd-row seats are among your SUV priorities, the 2014 Murano may not be for you. Vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Kia Sorento have higher mpg ratings and lower starting prices, while others – the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander – offer 3-row seating.
Aside from a CrossCabriolet price reduction, the Murano is basically unchanged for 2014. Muranos with a tinted bronze exterior finish offer a new black interior option, and the CrossCabriolet adds new colors and a new 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheel.
Driving Impressions We are impressed overall with the Nissan Murano's road manners. 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 on par with the best in its class. Steering and brake response are excellent, and a stiff suspension minimizes body roll in cornering and quick transitions. On the flip side, that stiff suspension can translate to a rougher ride on patchy pavement. Rear passengers may find it difficult to get comfortable, though the reclining seats help. The foregoing applies to the conventional Murano. The CrossCabriolet is heavier and not nearly as nimble as the conventional hardtop versions.
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 and seatbacks, all you have to do is press a button.
Vehicles in this class are all about utility, and this optional feature adds to the Murano's usefulness. Increasingly common in SUVs, the power rear hatch makes loading and unloading easier, and also keeps hands clean – no need to put both hands on dirty sheet metal to close the gate.
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 hold provides over 31 cubic feet of storage capacity, an amount that more than doubles with the rear seats folded forward. The CrossCabriolet has a 4-passenger interior, and its rear seats do not fold.Exterior
The Murano has been around for over a decade with only minimal styling updates, but its profile still looks fresh and contemporary for 2014. It's a sporty design that begins with sweeping headlight enclosures, a high beltline, wide fender flares and a muscular rear highlighted by twin exhaust outlets, hexagonal rear window and wraparound taillights. Introduced three years ago, the 2-door CrossCabriolet bills itself as "the world's first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible." Visibility is limited with the top up, and this strange platypus of an automobile is odd indeed, an answer to a question few were asking.
The 2014 Nissan Murano comes in four trim levels, with front-wheel drive (FWD) standard or the option of all-wheel drive (AWD). Base S versions come with dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button starting, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD changer with auxiliary input, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Other trim levels (SV, SL, LE), include Bluetooth connectivity, roof rails, automatic headlights, a power liftgate, illuminated steering-wheel 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.
Major options for the 2014 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. AWD is optional on every trim and standard on the Murano CrossCabriolet convertible. A navigation package on SL and CrossCabriolet models adds a touch-screen 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.
The 2014 Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes an ample 260 horsepower in regular models and slightly more in the heavier CrossCabriolet version. 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, and in hard acceleration it sometimes takes a while for the transmission to catch up with the engine. The Murano is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but here again the CrossCabriolet is an exception, as Nissan says towing is not recommended for that model. Fuel economy is a little behind the leading edge for vehicles in this class.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (FWD), 18/23 mpg (AWD)
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
With the exception of the CrossCabriolet, Nissan Murano prices are unchanged for 2014. The basic front-drive Murano S has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $29,300. A loaded Murano LE with all-wheel drive, Platinum package and rear-seat DVD entertainment system is almost $45,000. Nissan has trimmed the CrossCabriolet MSRP by $2,545, to $43,715. Murano pricing is a little lower than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander V6, and higher than the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox and Kia Sorento models with V6 engines. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport also has a lower starting price, including the 264-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder version. 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 2014 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.
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)."
2 people out of 4 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"
5 people out of 10 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."
15 people out of 21 found this review helpful