Premium Interior with Head-turning Style
Nissan gives you a choice of four SUVs or crossovers, with the 2016 Murano—size-wise—slotting just above the compact Rogue and below the full-size Pathfinder. With so many sizes, has Nissan confused you or made your life easier being able to find one that fits your lifestyle perfectly?
Smarticd had the opportunity to drive Nissan’s five-passenger midsize SUV, the 2016 Murano Platinum AWD, for a week and found it to be one of the best-looking and riding crossovers on the market and one we did not want to return to Nissan.
All 2016 Nissan Muranos, either FWD or AWD, use the same 3.5L, 24-valve, V6 engine putting out 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Running on unleaded regular, all power is delivered through Nissan’s Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which the EPA has rated at 21 city/28 highway/24 combined for both AWD and FWD models. In 389 miles of 70-percent highway/30-percent city driving we averaged 24.2 mpg.
Driving Experience: On the Road
The five-door Murano (four doors a power liftgate) weighed in at 4,021 lbs. that at first would seem to be a bit too much heft. However, the 59/41 front-to-rear weight distribution, with the
electric power-assisted and speed-sensitive steering provided good road feel, confident handling and little body roll through most cornering situations.
The handling and ride elements include 235/55R20 all-season tires on 20-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels with a titanium finish (standard on the Platinum trim level), front independent struts, coil springs, twin tube struts and a stabilizer bar, and a rear independent multi-link set-up with twin tube shocks and a stabilizer bar. Towing is rated at 1,500 lbs.
The CVT-equipped Murano was, as I have found with other cars using CVT transmissions, to be a good overall driving experience. Nissan’s continued development of CVT technology has resulted in a transmission with no “natural” shift-points (because there are no gears to shift) that helps deliver increased fuel economy through a reduction in friction and changes to pulleys and other internal CVT workings. Because of customer feedback (is the customer always right?) Nissan added artificial “steps”, so, when accelerating hard, drivers get the feeling of going through the gears. I found this unnecessary and counterintuitive to the smoothness and technology achieved by the CVT.
The 3.5L 6-cylinder ran smoothly, is reasonably quick off the line and will meet most owner’s expectations. Once to a desired highway speed, the Murano cruised and kept up with traffic easily with plenty of passing power when needed.
Smarticd’s 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD had solid and consistent stops with a braking system consisting of vented front and rear discs, an anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which adjusts brake proportioning to compensate for added weight from passengers or cargo, and even adjusts as fuel is consumed. Also aiding in stopping and handling is traction and vehicle dynamic control.
Driving Experience: Exterior
Nissan has taken the lead in transforming the public’s perception of SUVs being squared-off and clunky to an extremely contemporary design. Termed as “Lightness of Form,” Nissan’s signature
design language triad is the V-Motion front end, boomerang front and rear lighting and a floating roofline. All three lend themselves to The Lightness of Form concept as, when looking at the 2016 Murano, you do get a sense of an aerodynamic form with flowing lines. Do you like LED lighting? Nissan sure does. The Murano has LEDs for its daytime running lights, headlights, taillights, and even LED turn signals incorporated into the heated and power exterior mirrors. Nissan has worked on the aerodynamics to achieve an impressive 0.31 drag coefficient with the outside mirror shapes, rear roof spoiler, silver roof rails and taillights that seem to be all one smooth piece with the fenders and rear hatch. I especially liked the rear view look of the dual, wide-set chrome exhaust tips. A concerted effort was made to have the Murano design be void of any unnecessary cladding or chrome, with just enough brightwork to play against the body color, which in our case was a spicy Cayenne Red.
Driving Experience: Interior
First impressions are important. When reviewing as many cars as we do here at Smarticd, I am occasionally impressed with something that deserves calling out. In this case, the inviting, open and airy lounge feeling of the 2016 Murano Platinum AWD welcomed me into the heated and cooled leather driver seat (with memory) that was eight-way power adjustable, including power lumbar. The four-way power adjustable passenger seat also gets the same heating and cooling treatment with both front seats having Nissan’s Zero Gravity design, where their articulated shape provides continuous support, comfort and reduced driver fatigue. The power adjustable tilt and telescoping steering column made sliding into the driver’d seat just that much nicer.
The dash layout is simple and clean, starting with the analog tachometer and speedometer gauges, which were easy-to-read with white lettering on a black background, and the seven-inch vehicle information center display—all under a covered hood to reduce glare. Operating the infotainment system was easy and met Smarticd’s minimum requirement for a driver-friendly system as it had knobs for the radio channel and volume functions. Our 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum came with an eight-inch HD color touch-screen controlling the Bose Premium audio system (with 11 speakers and two subwoofers) for the SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription) and AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3/WMA radio. Other features include USB ports and 12-volt power outlets, iPod connectivity, aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio, with NissanConnect for text messaging assistant and voice recognition. Many of these are controlled by buttons on the multi-function, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel.
One of the coolest driver aids is Nissan’s wonderful Around View Monitor that gives a 360-degree virtual bird’s eye view as if looking down onto the Murano. Used primarily when parking, the
Around View Monitor makes slipping into a tight space a breeze.
Smarticd’s 2016 Murano Platinum AWD came with the optional Technology Package that included a power panoramic sunroof. When fully opened, the sunroof allows the rear passengers, sitting in the heated leather 60/40 folding seat, to have a clear view of the stars and moon. The low center console has vents and USB ports for the rear passengers as well as a 12-volt power outlet for the three full-size adults riding out back.
Adding to the interior comfort and convenience was remote keyless entry and engine start, push button start, dual-zone automatic temperature control with second row A/C vents, power windows with one-touch up/down, power door locks, power heated outside mirrors that automatically rotate down when in reverse, HomeLink transceiver, carpeted floor mats and cargo area protector (an option), auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, outside temperature display, map lights and multiple beverage holders.
Safety and Convenience
The 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD came with safety and convenience features including eight air bags, predictive forward collision warning, blind spot warning, moving object detection, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, traction control system, hill start assist, rear cross traffic alert, vehicle dynamic control and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer with a vehicle security system.
All 2016 Muranos have earned a US Government 5-Star side crash and a 4-star rollover rating, where 5 Stars is the highest safety rating, and the gave the Murano its Top Safety Pick.
Smarticd’s 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD had a MRSP of $43,170 that included the optional floor mat, cargo protector and Technology Package, which made up $2,470 of the MSRP. All 2016 Murano pricing excludes the $900 destination charge:
S FWD $29,660
SV FWD $32,720
SL FWD $37,050
Platinum FWD $39,100
S AWD $31,260
SV AWD $34,320
SL AWD $38,650
Platinum AWD $40,700
The 2016 Murano comes with these warranties:
- Basic – Three years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
- Anti-Perforation – Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2016 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD
Smarticd does not have a star or point rating system for the cars we review. But if we did, the 2016 Murano would get a 10 on styling, 8 for fuel economy (get the highway average to 30 mpg and that bumps to a 10), 9 on interior comfort and, well, you see the trend here. The 2016 Nissan Murano is among the best in its class in a number of areas. Plus, the 2016 Murano having both a front wheel and all-wheel drive option is a selling point for Nissan as it means everyone looking for a midsize SUV or CUV (crossover utility vehicle) could be their customer.
The Murano will appeal to a family of four, but probably more-so to empty nesters with an eye for style and comfort. And if you are looking for a highly equipped all-wheel-drive SUV that will pretty much get you anywhere you need to go, then the Platinum model we drove should impress you like it did us.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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Smarticd is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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