NISSAN MURANO SL AWD

The new Nissan Murano SL AWD Crossover SUV is the latest in a long line of crossovers from Nissan. For a while, they were all the same, taking that two-box design and making it boxier. The end result was a look, that while practical, did nothing inspiring to make you truly just want to get in and drive.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

That was until the new Nissan Murano SL AWD hit the scene. Now 16 years and three generations in, the Murano has continued onward. After receiving a comprehensive freshening for 2019, it is back and ready for its, uh, close up.

 

 

A PROMINENT LEAD IN.

For 2019, the new Nissan Murano is available in four trim levels including S, SV, SL and top-of-the-line Platinum grade.

Leading in, the Murano receives a more pronounced version of the V-Motion grille that separates the boomerang-inspired LED head- and tail lights. LED foglamps shine from openings in the front bumper and they help to define the grill which leads to the aero-formed clamshell hood.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

Lower body cladding helps to give definition and depth to the overall side view of the vehicle, while the well-angled side body panels extend the overall length to add interest to what could easily have just been another slab-sided monster of an SUV. A floating roof D-Pillar that looks as though it was borrowed from its Maxima sibling, is here, too.

Inside, our new Murano SL AWD featured a black leather interior that would make any Hog-riding biker proud.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

Covering the entire dash, armrest area, steering wheel, shifter knob and NASA-inspired zero gravity seats, it veers towards Infiniti quality for Nissan money. The use of the Zero-Gravity technology in the rear seats extend that innovation to more than just the front row seats.

The controls were logically arranged so they were within easy reach of the driver, and occasionally the front row passenger.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

 

We did think the starter button might be placed in a better position but easily found it after activating some muscle memory as to its location. The height of the Murano, coupled with its wide-opening doors offered ease of entry that will be appreciated by an aging citizenry.

We liked the exceptional roominess inside the Murano but think that the sculpted dashboard arrangement might take up a tiny bit of legroom that other vehicles still maintain. On the other hand there was enough shoulder room across the second row which managed to sit three adults side-by-side.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

From a technological standpoint, it’s all here, although in a somewhat dated style. The 8-inch color display is well-executed and offers quick response to touch applications, although we think it could go much further with up-to-date graphics. An available Bose 11-speaker Premium Audio System offered good, clear highs and managed to even acquit itself in the mid-range and bass frequencies. There’s even smartphone connectivity via the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps that mimics your iPhone on the well-sized 8-inch display.

Cargo space in the rear rivals many others in the segment. For sunroof-equipped Murano SUVs behind the second row, expect 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seats forward, and you’ll see a total of 65.0 cubic feet up to the front row of seating, available with 2.5-feet of ground clearance.

MURANO MOTIVATION

Nissan Murano SL AWD

 

We found the Murano’s tried and true 3.5-liter V6 engine to be adequate for the job at hand. Muscling its way out with 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, it was capable of towing up to 1,500 pounds, which is generally equivalent to the weight of two jet skis and a trailer. That power is sent to Nissan’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) which doesn’t actually change gears as much as it increases the gear ratio. Although it’s not our favorite type of transmission, but in the case of Nissan, no one is building a better example of it. And if you really can’t live without the sound of gear shifts, switch your gear selector lever over to sport mode where the transmission can “simulate” the feel and sound of gear shift changes.

Although offered in standard form as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle, the new Murano can be ordered with an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, that although Land Rover-like, cannot be relied upon to do much more than travel down gravel roads and trails.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

The new Nissan Murano rides on a suspension comprised of MacPherson-style struts and shocks with a stabilizer bar at the front and a twin-tube shock / multi-link arrangement with stabilizer bar at the rear. Steering comes from a speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion system that offered a light touch at slow speeds but increased its heft while at speed.

Power from the 3.5-liter V6 was instantaneous when squeezing the skinny pedal. Torque was delivered on-demand in a steady fashion resulting in easy merging onto Interstate highways and Turnpike interchanges, alike.

Nissan Murano SL AWD

Overall, we are big fans of the new Nissan Murano SL AWD. It’s a stylishly good-looking example of the state of the art in Crossover vehicles today and manages to make good with the latest features, while eschewing the tragically hip controls found in some other vehicles costing considerably more. While not a speed-demon, it does manage to do everything and do it very well.

 

 

2019 Nissan Murano SL AWD

SPECIFICATIONS:

Type:                                     Five passenger, four-door with hatchback.

Power:                                 3.5-liter V6

Horsepower:                     260 horsepower at 6,000 rpm

Torque:                               240 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm

Transmission:                    Xtronic CVT

Drive:                                   Intelligent All-wheel-drive

Suspension:                        Front: Macpherson Strut with twin tube shocks

Rear:                                     Multilink with twin-tube shocks

Steering:                              Power-assisted rack and pinion.

Length:                                192.8 inches

Wheelbase:                        111.2 inches

Width:                                 75.4 inches

Height:                                67.8 inches

Liftover height:                 30 inches

Curb Weight:                     4,039 pounds

Towing weight:                  1,500 pounds