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3/4 Front Glamour 2012 Nissan Murano

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Expert's Rating

4.4Excellent

MPG 18 City / 24 Highway
Pros
  • Many standard safety features
  • Smooth ride
  • Many interior conveniences
  • Rear visibility better than others in class
Cons
  • Styling may not be for everyone
  • Cabin less luxurious than competitors
, Automotive Editor -
Nissan doesn't pretend the Murano is a machine for charging off-road. Instead, it's marketed as a comfortable tool for running around town and hauling passengers, or taking them on a long, comfortable road trip - or what most people use these tall vehicles for. It's equipped with a powerful 3.5-liter V6 and a smooth CVT transmission to keep the well-appointed interior quiet. The Murano also achieves up to 24 MPG on the highway. All models are available with the added security of all-wheel drive. Rear passengers are treated to a comfortable bench seat that reclines. And instead of putting in a small third row, Nissan gives the Murano a respectable cargo area.

Introduction

Even the base Murano S comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, reclining and split-folding rear seat, keyless entry and start, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and alloy wheels. Moving up to SV adds a panoramic sunroof, backup camera, Bluetooth and iPod integration. SL models get leather seats, power liftgate, heated front seats and steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers. The top-of-the-line LE boasts power adjustment for the steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, heated rear seat and Xenon lights. Optional on SL and LE is a navigation system with streaming audio and traffic and weather.

See our picks for best crossovers in the CarsDirect Crossover Buying Guide.

The Ford Edge boasts a wide engine lineup, from a standard 3.5-liter V6 to a fuel-efficient turbo four-cylinder and 3.7-liter V6. The Edge also offers high-tech features like MyFord Touch. But MyFord Touch complicates controls and the powertrains aren't as refined as the Nissan's. The Toyota Venza offers both a four-cylinder and a V6, as well as Toyota's Entune infotainment system, but isn't as spacious inside and actually costs more than the three-row Highlander. The Subaru Outback comes with standard all-wheel drive and is also available with four and six-cylinder engines. But the Outback's utilitarian styling isn't as appealing as the Murano's and the interior quality is more agricultural. The Dodge Journey offers a third row seat for additional passengers and has the useful UConnect Touch infotainment system, but its interior isn't as nicely finished as the Nissan's and the styling is fairly bland.

The Nissan Murano stands out among two-row crossovers because it offers daring styling and a long list of features that would look more at home in a premium branded vehicle, even an Infiniti. The Murano also has lots of room for five passengers and their cargo and it provides a comfortable driving experience thanks to a refined powertrain. And the list of standard features is more generous than many of its competitors, as it comes equipped with modern conveniences like keyless entry and start and dual-zone automatic climate control. If space and refinement are at the top of the priority list, and the price of luxury crossovers makes you balk, the Murano should be given a hard look.

Which Style To Buy?

2012 Nissan Murano
Starting price
$15,800

2012 Nissan Murano LE

Recommended for: buyers looking for the most luxurious Murano

The LE comes standard with features that rival equipment lists on most premium crossovers. Standard 20-inch alloy wheels distinguish the LE from other Muranos. Also included are xenon headlights, a heated rear seat, power adjustment for the steering wheel and wood trim inside. The Platinum Edition Package includes the navigation system and adds different 20-inch wheels and a rear bumper protection plate. The DVD Entertainment System is also optional.

2012 Nissan Murano
Starting price
$15,800

2012 Nissan Murano S

Recommended for: shoppers looking for a stylish, well-equipped crossover

The S includes most features crossover buyers look for in this segment. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, power windows, locks and mirrors, keyless entry and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker audio system with AUX input and 7-inch screen. Bluetooth is optional.

2012 Nissan Murano
Starting price
$15,800

2012 Nissan Murano SL

Recommended for: buyers looking for more luxury and technology in their crossover

SL trim opens buyers up to more advanced features. Standard items include leather seats, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power liftgate and a 9-speaker Bose audio system with hard drive music storage. An optional Navigation Package includes a 7-inch touchscreen hard drive-based system with voice activation. SiriusXM traffic and weather is included with the package, as is Bluetooth streaming audio. A rear-seat entertainment system with screens mounted in the back of front headrests is also optional.

2012 Nissan Murano
Starting price
$15,800

2012 Nissan Murano SV

Recommended for: buyers who want more convenience features

The SV builds on the standard equipment offered on the S with more comfort features to keep the driver and passengers happy. Automatic headlamps are included, as are foglights. A panoramic roof, roof rack, power driver's and front passenger's seats, 7-inch color dash screen with backup camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio and full iPod integration are also standard.

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