By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
Nissan describes the 2016 Murano as a “social lounge” and who are we to disagree? This is not, exactly, a family SUV, but aimed more at style-conscious adults looking for supple comfort, quiet refinement, a full complement of features, driving ease, assured capability, peace of mind and all at a reasonable price. Extravagantly shaped outside, luxuriously finished inside, the Murano is available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), powered by a silky 3.5-liter V6 and outfitted with every technological feature the market, and the buyers, demand. Fully competitive with the Lexus RX, BMW X5 and others, it’s priced more in line with a Chevy Traverse or Ford Edge. Here’s a clue: The more we drove it, the more we liked it.
If style plays a part in your life, if you’re not a shrinking wallflower, the Nissan Murano may be in your future. You will look a long time to find a more distinctively styled SUV.
Got kids? Lots of family activities? Need room for the Labradors? You’ll find better choices elsewhere. In fact, right across the Nissan showroom floor sits the Pathfinder. Hauls more people, greater interior volume, about the same amount of money.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016 the Nissan is essentially unchanged from 2015.
Nissan’s marketing for the 2016 Murano may be built around the concept of upscale sociability, but it’s still a motor vehicle and will be driven. Thankfully, the Murano handles getting...
... down the road with competence and ease. It’s comfortable on any surface, deals admirably with traffic, handles with response and precision, delivers nice steering feel and secure braking. The 260-horsepower V6, matched with Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission, has plenty of power whenever it’s needed. One trait of the Xtronic CVT is its “D-Step Logic”; it holds the engine at the optimum rpm for varying operating conditions, and adds the feel of a conventional stepped automatic. Conceptually, it’s a little odd, but it works just fine and eliminates some of the quirks of many CVTs. In short, whether considered as a social lounge or a sport-utility vehicle, the more we drove the 2016 Murano the more we liked it.
Did we say we liked the interior? Just looking at it feels comfortable and inviting, seating front and rear is roomy and relaxing, the flowing design is easy on the eyes and the 7-inch customizable display and optional 8-inch touch-screen display are welcome features that make the drive easier.
PARKING WITHOUT PEER
With four onboard cameras, three radar systems and a computerized brain, the available Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection combined with Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Cross Traffic Alert creates a parking system in which the driver is the weakest link.
This is where Nissan put a lot of time and effort. There isn’t a straight line in sight, with big, sweeping curves, and even the surfaces you know are hard appear to be soft. Evidence the Murano is intended for adults is found in the accommodating “zero gravity” seats at the four outboard seating positions. Choose the optional (and expansive) panoramic sunroof, and the interior is washed in natural light as if it’s a back-porch sunroom. Behind the rear seat is over 30 cubic feet of space, and flipping the rear seat flat offers over 65 cubic feet.
You won’t miss the 2016 Murano in the strip-mall parking lot. Up top is a “floating roof,” leading the way is the “V-Motion” front end, at both front and rear are “boomerang” lights that wrap into the fenders, along the sides are curves so pronounced they presented engineering challenges in forming the stamping tools that make them. Aerodynamic details include a lower shutter grille, front and rear spoilers, rear-tire air deflectors, rear-suspension fairings and even a fuel tank shape optimized for efficient airflow. There isn’t one square inch that isn’t artfully folded and molded.
Standard equipment for the 2016 Murano base S trim level includes Advanced Drive-Assist Display with a 7-inch screen, Bluetooth, RearView Monitor, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescoping steering column, three 12-volt outlets, cloth seating surfaces, reclining rear seatbacks with center armrest, AM/FM/CD audio with MP3/WMZ CD capability and six speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, speed-sensitive volume control, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, a full complement of occupant-protection features and NissanConnect with Mobile Apps.
The Murano SV adds navigation, 8-way driver and 4-way front-passenger power seats, 8-inch color monitor with multi-touch control, remote start, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights and roof rails. Our recommendation, the SL, adds leather-appointed seating, 11-speaker Bose audio, Blind Spot Warning, Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors and driver’s-seat memory. The Platinum level adds 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, power-folding 2nd-row seats and a heated steering wheel with power tilt, telescoping and memory. Stand-alone options include a Technology Package, Premium Package and Navigation Package.
A 3.5-liter V6 with 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque powers the Murano. The transmission is Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable automatic, with D-Step Logic. The result is a smoothness common to CVTs, but with the feel of a traditional stepped automatic. In operation, the 2016 Murano is smooth, quiet and silky and has plenty of ready response and power for any reasonable driving situation. The Murano is also available with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) for those who must occasionally deal with bad weather and slick roads. Fuel consumption is remarkably thrifty, with both the FWD and AWD Murano models EPA-rated at 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (FWD), 21/28 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Nissan Murano S model has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of roughly $30,500; depending upon options, a fully loaded Platinum version could be above $42,000. We think the SL trim, at around $38,000, would be a good recommendation and would include most of the equipment preferred by most potential buyers. Those prices place the Murano below such rivals as the Lexus RX and BMW X5, and somewhat more in line with certain trim levels of the Ford Edge and Chevrolet Traverse, but few – if any – are as outright stylish, both inside and out, as the Murano. Before heading to the dealership to buy your Murano, be sure and check the KBB Fair Purchase Price and find out what others are paying. As for residual value, we expect the Murano to maintain Nissan’s record of being higher than the average when compared to its likely market competitors.