Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B-)

The Murano received a full redesign in 2015 and has largely carried forward with those excellent changes since. The 2018 Nissan Murano adds a few things that helped boost its score slightly for this year. Chief among those are improved safety systems and driver's aids that are now standard in the Murano.

The Nissan Murano is a more premium-level vehicle than most two-row crossovers in the midsize segment, competing more directly with premium brands than might be expected of a Nissan. It emphasizes style and comfort while offering good cargo space and a smooth driving experience.

The 2018 Nissan Murano is a five-seat midsize crossover that stands separate from the brand's Pathfinder model as a more upscale option. Packaging starts with the S model and works up through three more trim points, each adding more options. The 2018 Murano is front-wheel drive by default, with all-wheel drive as an option, but all drivetrains utilize the same six-cylinder engine and automated transmission.

What We Love About the 2018 Nissan Murano:


  • Classy, upscale look that stands out from the standard fare in this segment

  • Premium-level interior experience with lots of comfort

  • Drivetrain is operates smoothly with good mpg


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Nissan Murano:


  • No third-row option, unlike many competitors

  • Not as family oriented as some other midsize options

  • Acceleration can be hesitant, especially at lower speeds


 

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Exterior View (10/10)

The signature floating roof of this generation's Murano immediately sets it apart from the others in the midsize crossover segment. It cued Nissan's use of the design element as a marker of premium-level vehicles when the Murano was followed by the similarly-themed Maxima sedan. The 2018 Nissan Murano is eye-catching, with its pinched greenhouse, fast-paced roofline and well-shaped rear hatch.

When considering each individual element of the Murano's design, they might make the Murano seem too busy. However, one of its shining accomplishments is bringing themes often associated with car-show exhibit concepts to the real world. This creates a very showroom-friendly design that, even four years after its debut, remains unique for the segment.

Some trim points change with the 2018 Murano's options, such as the integrated roof rails added with the SV trim, and the 20-inch wheel options available in the SL trim and standard in the Platinum. In addition, a special Midnight Edition model adds blackout elements to the SL trim for a more night owl limousine appearance.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

The Nissan Murano targets families with older children and more sophisticated needs. Its interior is as svelte as its exterior, offering comfort and quality in a more upscale design. Design elements include an uplifted dashboard, good quality materials, generous use of soft touch elements and a quiet ride.

The driver, front passenger and two outboard positions of the rear bench are extremely comfortable. Each use Nissan's Zero Gravity seating technology, derived from NASA designs aimed at holding the occupant's posture for optimal comfort. This takes some adjustment to perfect, especially for the driver who moves around more than others in the vehicle. But it's worth the effort to adjust exactly right.

The center position of the rear bench is adult-friendly when three across is required, though shoulder room becomes a bit tight. Meant for occasional use, this seat is more comfortable than most three-seat benches on the market.

Roominess and comfort are the keys for the Murano's interior expectation. The driver has a good driving position, plenty of visibility and all controls are at hand. Gadget and small-item storage is plentiful in the 2018 Murano, as are USB plugs and 12-volt outlets.

Cargo in the 2018 Nissan Murano is equally good, with the 60/40 rear split-fold seating being standard. With the seats up, there is just over 32 cubic feet of cargo space available in the back. With the seats folded, that grows to a useful 67 cubes thanks to the second row folding almost completely flat. The wide hatch opening reveals a long, flat-loading floor.

Outside of the premium segments, the 2018 Nissan Murano sports one of the best interiors in the midsize market.

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Technology (10/10)

The Murano continues to add more technology to its suite of infotainment and driver's aid offerings. Last year we noted that the Murano added useful connectivity and elements to its Nissan Connect app suite. For 2018 more has been added to include mobile apps, which brings streaming music, limited Facebook and other social connections to the 2018 Murano.

The Nissan Connect app now also allows connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and allows the phone to direct navigation and other items on-screen. A connected smartphone with the app can control remote starting, climate and door locks. It can also be used to locate the vehicle in crowded parking lots. This setup has made the offerings in the Murano one of the most robust in the business.

These upgrades come when the standard 7-inch touchscreen is upgraded to the 8-inch with navigation. You can then upgrade further to the Nissan Connect and Mobile Apps suites. These are all standard in the Platinum package, but optional in the SV and above.

A Bose audio upgrade is available in the SV and upper trims. Several driver's aids are standard in the Murano, coinciding with safety options added as standard features for the 2018 model year.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

When done well, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) can deliver both confidence and excellent fuel economy. The Murano typifies how Nissan has largely perfected the CVT. Fuel economy estimates for the 2018 Nissan Murano are the same whether a front-wheel or all-wheel drive option are chosen.

The 2018 Murano is EPA-rated at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. These are exceedingly good numbers for the segment. In the real world, we saw those same numbers last year in a Platinum edition and this year in an SV model.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

The predicted reliability ratings for the Murano dropped again this year, following a similar drop last year. Although the 2018 model year has not seen any recalls, indicating that the problems plaguing the 2016-17 models have been resolved, the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study rating for the 2018 Murano dropped to "About Average."

Safety (10/10)

Excellent safety ratings have been a mainstay in the Murano and this generation of the vehicle has topped safety tests from the get-go. New this year are standard features like standard automated forward collision avoidance braking. Most trim levels now include adaptive cruise control as well. These items coincide with excellent crash test results.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Murano a four-star crash test result overall. These include four stars for frontal crash and rollover, and five stars for side crash test results.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2018 Murano a top rating of "Good" for all crash tests conducted. It's also received an "Acceptable" rating for child safety anchors and a "Superior" rating for its advanced active safety equipment.

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Performance (9/10)

The 2018 Nissan Murano continues with this generation's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which outputs 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. This travels to a CVT to either the front wheels or to all four wheels, depending on drivetrain choice. The automated CVT offers good acceleration and power output in most situations, while also giving better than average fuel economy returns.

The Murano runs quietly at highway speeds with good power delivery in daily driving situations. When hard pressed, the Murano may become louder, largely due to the CVT, but doesn't give off a weak impression.

Despite the pinched appearance of the exterior's windows, the Murano has excellent visibility for the driver, making for easy maneuverability. This coincides with the Murano's well-done chassis and steering. Adding the optional 360-degree SurroundView camera system only makes this better.

The 2018 Murano is a very driveable vehicle with a confident feel.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

The premium price normally associated with upscale vehicles doesn't apply to the Murano. The middle trims offer fair pricing for excellent returns and accouterments. Most will find themselves well heeled in a $35,000 Murano without difficulty. Resale values are average for the segment.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (65/80, 81%)

The midsize crossover segment has no lack of competion. The top choices for 2018 include the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and Hyundai Santa Fe. New to the segment is the Volkswagen Atlas.

The Murano is not a three-row crossover and is more premium than are most of those offerings. Its closest competitors are more akin to the Buick Envision, GMC Terrain and upper-level offerings in the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe. Comparatively, the Murano offers more upscale appeal without the price tag usually associated with that.

The 2018 Nissan Murano is a continued evolution in the current generation of the Murano's appeal. The added items boost the Murano's score, though a few hiccups are still holding it back. It remains an A-class choice, thanks to its premium-level design.

The 2018 Murano offers a great value proposition for the premium-level buyer that isn't a stickler for nameplate requirements. With good drive quality, a great interior and highly upscale appeal, the 2018 Murano is an excellent choice in the midsize segment.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
S AWD S V6 AWD 32600
SV AWD SV V6 AWD 35900
SL AWD SL V6 AWD 40300
Platinum AWD Platinum V6 AWD 44030
SUV - FWD
S FWD S V6 FWD 31000
SV FWD SV V6 FWD 34300
SL FWD SL V6 FWD 38700
Platinum FWD Platinum V6 FWD 42430

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Nissan Murano ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Nissan Murano rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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