2009 Nissan Murano SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Nissan Murano SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Murano Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 265 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Nissan Murano

  • Nissan retains the Murano's attractive qualities while making some key improvements to keep this sporty crossover more than competitive in the midsize segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Responsive powertrain, sporty handling and smooth ride, luxurious cabin in LE trim.

  • Cons

    Cargo space behind second row a few cubes shy of some rivals, compromised rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2009

    After a model-year hiatus, the 2009 Nissan Murano returns fully redesigned. Given its popularity, styling changes are kept evolutionary, while an upgraded cabin and key mechanical refinements further its appeal.

Full 2009 Nissan Murano Review

What's New for 2009

After a model-year hiatus, the 2009 Nissan Murano returns fully redesigned. Given its popularity, styling changes are kept evolutionary, while an upgraded cabin and key mechanical refinements further its appeal.


It's a balancing act that would test a Cirque du Soleil performer: the task of redesigning a popular vehicle without diluting its appeal by making it too different. Such was the challenge Nissan faced when it decided to revamp its popular Murano midsize crossover SUV as an early 2009 model year release.

The first-generation Murano (it debuted back in 2004) was known for its sporty styling and sharp handling. For that first quality, not much changed for the new 2009 Nissan Murano. At a glance, especially in profile, one might have trouble discerning the new model from its predecessor. The same kicked-up beltline and triangular rearmost side windows remain, as does the general silhouette. The face is more aggressive, however, with its rather strange grille that incorporates squinty headlights. The tail retains the unique back window design (that's thankfully a bit bigger) but takes on new, more horizontal taillights.

It's also more of the same in regards to handling ability. Part of the old Murano's handling credentials came about as it shared some lineage with Nissan's athletic Altima sedan. The 2009 Murano continues that trend, though it's now related to the latest-generation Altima that recently debuted. Meanwhile, the peppy 3.5-liter "VQ Series" V6, already highly regarded, gains 25 horsepower for a total of 265, while the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) -- one of the old model's more disappointing qualities -- has been tweaked for sharper response.

What we notice the most on the 2009 Nissan Murano is the much nicer cabin. Inside, higher-quality materials and an upscale ambience replace the mediocre quality and avant-garde look of the previous interior. New features like a hard-drive-based navigation system and a dedicated iPod interface are also part of the redesign. One thing that didn't change, however, is the lack of a third-row seat. No doubt, Nissan's designers felt pressure to add one, as it's offered on most other competing models. But in a (logical) show of defiance, Nissan felt a third row would be rather small and take up valuable cargo space, especially considering that the Murano is on the smaller side of the midsize crossover segment to begin with.

If you're interested in this type of vehicle, you'll find that there are more choices than ever this year. There are larger models to think about, such as the Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander. But the most direct rival to this Nissan is Mazda's CX-7, as its fun-to-drive factor rates even higher than the Murano's. However, the CX-7 does give up some practicality due to its relatively meager maximum cargo space, and some may find its turbocharged four-cylinder a little too head-snapping for comfort. Other similar choices include the Ford Edge, the Mitsubishi Outlander V6, the Pontiac Torrent GXP and the Toyota RAV4 V6. These models typically offer more cargo space or passenger capacity, but they don't offer the same level of athleticism, interior refinement or flair that Nissan's star performer does.

Not surprisingly, this was pretty much what the first Murano was all about, too. But with a nicer interior and an overall increase in refinement and ability, it seems that Nissan did indeed find a balance that would please even the crew from Cirque du Soleil.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Nissan Murano is a five-passenger, midsize crossover SUV that comes in three trim levels: S, SL and LE. Buyers have a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

The S comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, split/folding rear seat, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. The SL adds privacy glass, a power driver seat, a power return feature for the rear seats (if lowered, they return to their upright position at the touch of a button) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls. The top-shelf LE has 20-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, roof rails, automatic xenon headlights, leather upholstery, heated seats (front and rear), a power passenger seat and a pop-up cargo area organizer. An upgraded Bose audio system, iPod integration, satellite radio, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera and Bluetooth connectivity are also standard for the LE.

Many of the LE's luxury features are optional for the SL trim via various packages. Other options include a dual-panel sunroof, a hard-drive-based navigation system with digital music capability, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

All Muranos are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 265 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission sends the power to either the front or all four wheels. The S and SL are available as either front-wheel or all-wheel drive while the LE is AWD only. In our testing of an LE, the Murano scampered to 60 mph in 8 seconds flat. Fuel economy estimates for the 2009 Murano with AWD stand at 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.


Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, active front head restraints, side- and side curtain airbags are standard across the board.

Interior Design and Special Features

The difference between the 2009 Murano's cabin and its predecessor is like night and day. High-quality materials and excellent fit and finish make it easy to confuse this Nissan for an Infiniti. Although a third-row seat is not available, passengers in the second row will enjoy an abundance of leg- and headroom. Prepped for cargo, the Murano has 64 cubic feet available, a small figure for a midsize crossover SUV.

All the state-of-the-art electronics gizmos one could want are available, including a genuine iPod interface (which is one of the best we've used), a rear-seat DVD system (with a generous 9-inch screen) and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic plus 9.3GB of memory allotted for music storage.

Driving Impressions

A re-engineered suspension with lightweight aluminum pieces and a new steering system make the 2009 Nissan Murano a willing and surprisingly communicative partner in daily driving. No doubt the combination of these chassis upgrades and a new predictive (not reactive) all-wheel-drive system (first introduced by the Nissan Rogue) contribute to the Murano's genuine agility and overall feel of predictability. And, contrary to what some might expect, the 20-inch wheels and tires standard on the LE trim don't degrade the ride either.

The 3.5-liter V6 provides plenty of power for almost all situations. Of special note is the revised CVT, which incorporates adaptive shift control software and boasts ratio changes 30 percent faster than before. As a result, the reactions of the CVT are so good that Nissan decided that it's unnecessary to offer a manual-shift mode with this CVT -- and we totally agree.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Meh. we are trying to

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

This is the first review that I have written on Edmunds. We have had our 2009 Nissan Murano SL since early 2011. I am not a fan. Here is why: -- Not a comfortable ride. Very stiff and not agile at all. It is like driving a boat. The seats are comfortable but there is something with the suspension. --Doors are very wide. Hard to park in a normal parking spot. -- CVT (Transmission) is wonky. Not responsive and sluggish. -- Acceleration in general is bad. Not responsive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Fantastic car.

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano S 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Nissan murano is the best car i ever owned, no problems, fun to drive, very good looking inside and outside, Bose surround system included, could not be happier, THE ONLY NEGATIVE side on the truck is how expensive the gas is, (is better on highway, that inside the city with traffic), but the MURANO is so cool and reliable that you sacrifice that part for having a fantastic car.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Drive train failures. cvt and

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

It's too bad Nissan won't stand behind THIER product. They did replace the CVT (now that they extended the factory warranty to 10yr/120K) but our transfer case was leaking too (as so many of them have) and we were told it couldn't be rebuilt since it was one that had been made with a bad part! What floored me was we got NO help from Nissan at all with the cost of the replacement part. I even contacted the executive offices in TN. $3K later, I still have a metallic rattle when the CVT is trying to kick out of the first "gear" and after reading about how many others had the same issue, I am VERY worried I will have to replace both drive train components again if we hang on to the car.

Still running strong

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

My wife got the SL in '09 and it's now passed 80.000 miles. I've read all the bad reviews here and all I can say is: we're either lucky with our Murano or those other cars haven't seen a lot of maintenance. Of course, it's gone through 2 batteries but that is due to the fact that my better half never turns off any of the electrical consumers and her regular commute is generally short. ...And like other MO users, we've experienced that strange phenomenon when you have to call the Ghostbusters to scare the electrical gremlins that keep you from starting the car. Other than that, it has been a trusty companion. Powertrain runs strongs, the plastic interior holds good, all it needs is oils&fil

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Not reliable!

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano LE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

I bought my 2009 Murano new and within the first year my battery died listening to music in my car for 10 mins. I had battery checked and they said its fine. After that I made sure no interior lights or seat warmers were left on and still got stuck 4 more times!! Can't get rid of this car fast enough. Reliability is everything!! Even though its awd, it's not that good in snow compared to my other vehicles. I replaced tires to snow tires and helped a little. But after they changed tires, the tire maintance light went on and won't go off. Hate the start button feature. Both my key batteries are low already. Have to go to dealership to replace. Also costs over $200 to replace if lost.

Great new, but not wearing

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Vehicle: 2009 Nissan Murano S 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Bought this car new in Fall '08. I was a fan of the Nissan line, and this car seemed a good value. Yet, fit and finish and wear has been a source of pain and expense. I would not recommend, wished I'd bought something different (and paid more), and won't be buying any more Nissans in the future.

Talk About The 2009 Murano

2009 Nissan Murano Discussions See all Started By

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Read more about the 2009 Nissan Murano

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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