It's all about style. The 2019 Nissan Murano makes no attempts at pretending to be an off-road adventurer, nor does it try to be sporty. Instead, the Murano offers flashy looks with new headlights and taillights. The roof also sweeps backwards giving it a sleek appearance, and the addition of black trim at the rear makes it appear to be floating.
Inside, the Murano is less of a standout. Many of the switches is from the Nissan parts bin, but fancy looking diamond stitched leather seats are available.
Comfort over performance. While the Murano does get a 260-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine, it's paired to a continuously variable transmission that emphasizes gas mileage over acceleration. However, it does allow the Murano to stay relatively quiet when on the throttle, making getting up to speed a less jarring experience.
The Murano's suspension attempts to insulate the drive as well, smoothing out the road instead of providing flat cornering and maximum speed retention during dynamic driving. All-wheel drive is available, but many other automakers do it better; snow and ice are likely to require some winter tires for those in northern climates.
Lots of safety tech. The Murano now includes a couple of neat safety features as standard equipment, including the Rear Door Alert System which monitors the back doors and lets you know if you may have forgotten something important like your child in the back seat. Considering the number of tragic headlines we see during the hotter months, this feature could be a legitimate life saver. More cars should come standard with rear seat monitoring.
Additionally, new standard LED headlights allow Murano drivers to see farther at night than before, and all Murano trims get forward automatic emergency braking. Higher trims get more advanced safety equipment like lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and rear automatic emergency braking, but Nissan has made those features available as options on lower trims as well.
Less room than you'd think. The Murano may be a mid-size crossover SUV, but its interior dimensions rival that of hatchbacks. With the rear seats up, the Murano offers 31 cubic feet of room and 65 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
That's an improvement over something like a Maxima, but the much smaller and less expensive Nissan Rogue offers nearly 40 cubic feet in the rear cargo area, and 70 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The Murano's similarly-sized competitors, the Honda Passport and Jeep Grand Cherokee, also manage to beat it out by a significant margin.
The stylish roofline is partially to blame, and while a panoramic sunroof is nice, it doesn't help the situation either. Opting for an open roof will cut two inches of head room from the Murano, so you may want to skip that option if you're tall.
Final thoughts. The 2019 Nissan Murano is a great option for those who don't care about performance, nor who want to pretend they can go off-road. It looks great, has a comfortable ride, and comes with notable options that make it feel more luxurious than many rivals.
That said, it does make some sacrifices to be stylish, particularly in the realm of interior cabin space. We also wish that lower-end models came with some more features, and the infotainment system can be a chore to use sometimes.
Those looking for a more fun to drive mid-size utility vehicle will find the Ford Edge to be more up their alley, especially the ST model. The Mazda CX-9 also offers a great ride, a stowable third row, and significantly more cargo space for around the same price.