2015 Nissan Murano Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
February 13, 2015
What Did We Get?
The Nissan Murano is one of the few midsize SUVs that has remained truly midsized. While some of its competitors have become bigger to accommodate a third row of seating, the Murano has stuck with its five-passenger setup while the smaller Rogue and larger Pathfinder cater to those looking for seven-passenger capacity.
The Rogue and Pathfinder have been significantly refreshed over the last couple of years, so for 2015 it was the Murano's turn for a complete redesign. The result is a more unique overall look that incorporates some of Nissan's signature design cues like the boomerang-shaped headlights and aggressive grille. One thing that hasn't changed is the 3.5-liter V6 under the hood. It's paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that helps it to deliver an EPA rating of 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway), up from 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) last year.
Nissan also did extensive work on the interior. The Murano's cabin is covered in plastics and leathers that look and feel as if they could serve duty in an Infiniti. The center stack now incorporates a new touchscreen infotainment system, and physical HVAC controls are laid out logically. All seats save the rear middle are Nissan's so-called "Zero-Gravity" seats, which are similar to the ones we love in our long-term Rogue.
The creature comforts, styling and solid power make a strong case for the Murano. To see if these features continue to impress in the real world, we added one to our long-term fleet.
What Options Does It Have?
The 2015 Nissan Murano starts at $30,445 in base S trim with front-wheel drive (adding all-wheel drive tacks $1,600 onto all trim levels). For that you get 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a rearview camera, keyless entry and cloth seats. Stepping up to the SV increases the price to $33,505 and adds features like navigation and a leather-wrapped wheel. The price jumps to $37,835 for the SL trim. Included here are silver roof rails, heated outside mirrors, a power liftgate, 360-degree cameras and leather seats.
Our tester is in king-of-the-hill Platinum trim with front-wheel drive. The jump from SL to Platinum adds LED headlights, a power tilt-and-telescoping wheel, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and 20-inch wheels. It also increases the price to $39,885. The only option available at the Platinum level is the Technology package. At $2,260, the suite adds a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with emergency braking. With that option, our 2015 Nissan Murano carries a sticker price of $42,145.
Why We Got It
The five-passenger midsize SUV has gone from the industry standard to the odd man out. Most vehicles in the class now at least offer a third-row seat if it's not already standard. This has pushed the overall size of most midsize SUVs up dramatically, a change that leaves a hole in the market for those who don't need that kind of passenger capacity but still want a spacious midsize SUV.
The Murano has offered that for years, but it got lost in the crowd. That won't happen this time around thanks to its dramatic styling and near luxury appointments. We'll be looking to see if these upgrades are enough to make it a compelling alternative to the larger, more popular midsize SUVs that dominate the market. The 2015 Nissan Murano has 12 months and 20,000 miles in our Long-Term Road Test fleet to convince us.
Best MPG: 18.7
Worst MPG: 16.7
Average MPG over 276 miles: 18.2
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.