2012 Nissan Murano SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Nissan Murano SUV

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Nissan Murano Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Nissan Murano

  • The 2012 Nissan Murano stands out among other midsize crossovers thanks to its unique styling, engaging driving experience and overall sophistication.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    High-quality cabin; spacious backseat; responsive powertrain; precise steering and confident handling; smooth ride; user-friendly controls.

  • Cons

    Less cargo space than many rivals; compromised rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Nissan Murano sees only minor changes, including a new Platinum Edition option package for top-of-the-line LE models and a new 7-inch monochrome screen on the entry-level S trim level.

Full 2012 Nissan Murano Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Nissan Murano sees only minor changes, including a new Platinum Edition option package for top-of-the-line LE models and a new 7-inch monochrome screen on the entry-level S trim level.


In a segment where many of the choices are little more than uninspired boxes on wheels, the Nissan Murano has long stood out from the crowd. And while familiarity has made its rounded design seem somewhat less radical than when it was introduced nearly a decade ago, the Murano's look is still distinctive enough to turn heads.

Thankfully, there's more to the 2012 Nissan Murano's appeal than just its sheet metal. The combination of the strong 3.5-liter V6 and continuously variable automatic transmission -- one of the best CVTs in the business -- with a sport-tuned suspension results in a crossover SUV that's more enjoyable to drive than the norm. The Murano's five-passenger interior also earns points for its attractive styling, high-quality materials and many standard features.

The Murano does have a couple minor drawbacks, however, including compromised rear visibility and a maximum cargo capacity that's a bit smaller than its rivals. You might want to comparison shop the Murano's main competitors, the equally stylish Ford Edge, the more wagonlike Toyota Venza or the more off-road-capable Jeep Grand Cherokee. But overall the Nissan Murano still stands out thanks to its blend of keen styling, upscale design and lively performance.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Nissan Murano is a midsize five-passenger crossover SUV available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE.

The entry-level S comes well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent wipers, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a reclining 60/40-split rear seat, a 7-inch monochrome screen, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio input jack.

The SV adds automatic headlights, foglights, a panoramic sunroof, roof rack side rails, power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), a 7-inch color display, a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio and iPod integration.

Stepping up to the SL trim gets you rain-sensing wipers, heated outside mirrors, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, driver seat memory, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with digital music storage. The LE trim adds 20-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, heated rear seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column and wood interior trim.

Optional on SL and LE models is a navigation system that includes voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather, Bluetooth streaming audio and increased digital music storage. Those two trim levels can also be had with a twin-screen headrest-mounted rear DVD entertainment system. New for 2012 is a Platinum Edition option for LE models that bundles exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels, a special Sapphire Black paint color and the navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Nissan Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to a CVT and a choice of standard front-wheel drive or an available all-wheel-drive system. EPA estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 18/23/20 with all-wheel drive.


All 2012 Nissan Murano models feature standard antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive Murano with 18-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet -- a good performance for this class.

In government crash testing, the Murano received an overall rating of four stars (out of a possible five), with four stars for overall front impact protection and five stars for side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Murano its highest rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the 2012 Nissan Murano's cabin you'll find an attractively styled space that rivals that of its upscale Infiniti FX cousin for quality of materials and assembly. The Murano also gets high marks for the intuitive operation of technology features including the navigation system, rear seat video entertainment setup and iPod interface.

There's also seating for five passengers, including a backseat with abundant head- and legroom and seatbacks that recline for greater comfort. Behind those rear seats is 31.6 cubic feet of cargo room, a number that's on par with the Murano's competitors. Folding those rear seatbacks down creates a nice flat load floor with 64 cubic feet of room, which falls a tad short of the space available in other midsize five-passenger SUVs.

Driving Impressions

While the 2012 Nissan Murano has its share of imitators, none can quite measure up to it in terms of the driving experience. For example, the nicely tuned suspension gives it nimble handling while still managing to deliver a comfy ride (at least on models without the available 20-inch wheels). Precise steering feel adds to the enjoyment.

The marriage of the eager V6 engine and CVT also works well. While other CVTs tend to respond sluggishly or keep the engine revving at a nearly constant drone, this unit performs as well as any traditional automatic.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Very happy with my murano

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

I looked at the Enclave and Acadia. I looked at the Equinox and Terrain. I thought about the Forrester. But at the end of the day the Murano was the best of the bunch. I wanted a quiet vehicle and I wanted a smooth ride. The Murano is whisper quiet and smooth as silk. The Nissan V-6 is a proven engine and highly regarded. I highly recommend the Murano.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

So far, we love this

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano SV 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

We bought an SV front wheel drive, and traded in a 2005 Toyota Matrix. With about 3000 miles on it, we've been very impressed. The interior is very upscale, with excellent fit and finish. Motor is very strong. One it's best traits is one of the worst in other vehicles: the CVT transmission. In most other vehicles I've driven with a CVT, the engine drones and the vehicle is sluggish. Not so the Murano! The drivetrain is quiet and this thing takes off! Plenty of room. We love the tilt back rear seats and dual sunroof. Gas mileage has been 25-27 highway.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

2012 sl awd with navigation

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Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

I really enjoy the ride of this car. We went to upstate NY in a snow storm and the car did very well. Overall driving is very smooth. I miss the additional power my Maxima had eventhough they share the same engine.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Glad to have it!

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano SV 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

My wife and I have not been able to afford a Murano until now, and are glad to have it. You truly can't beat the comfort or power in this thing. We had a 2010 Altima with all the specs, and that doesn't even compare to the Murano. We averaged about 23MPG from Florida to Illinois and back with a fully loaded and weighed down vehicle (plenty of space). Handled excellent in Chicago and Atlanta traffic with plenty of power when I needed it. No issues at all. If I baby it, it will get close to 28MPG, or 19MPG if I have too much fun. Was hoping it got closer to 28MPG with normal highway driving (70-80MPH), but 23MPG is still great. LOVE IT!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Extremely bad mileage car!

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Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano S 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Don't have a hope that the car will give you 18-23 mpg city/highway! In fact, it may be way below fine printed 14-20 mpg. I was unlucky to by Nissan Murano S AWD 2012 in July 2012. The car makes only 11-13 miles per gallon even if I drive very smoothly. It is bad in city and bad on highway. Checked with the service in the dealership - they found nothing wrong with the car. Third time the service director took the car on the series of test drives and measured the mileage himself. Not looking at the cluster display but actually running the car, measuring miles, topping the fuel and calculating the mileage. The numbers went out the same: 11-13 mpg. Nissan doesn't want to take the car back!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

Excellent crossover!

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Murano SL 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

After driving several Crossovers like a Buick Enclave, GMC Terrain and a few others we drove this and loved it. It has a great response and handling and the interior is well put together, fun and sophisticated. It has a lot of technology built in it and it is all user friendly too. Strong engine and we look forward to having a lot of fun in it for a long time

Talk About The 2012 Murano

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
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Identifix Reliability Ratings

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