2012 Nissan Murano Overview

Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - February 14, 2012

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.

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