2014 Nissan Murano Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2014
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Murano
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.
2014 Nissan Murano Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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
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