Best Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano

The Nissan Murano earned more awards in the last two years than any other SUV in its class, according to the manufacturer. Parents magazine listed the Murano as one of the best family crossovers of 2016; J.D. Power tabbed the SUV as its “Most Dependable Midsize SUV” for the second consecutive year.

Now, Nissan can add another trophy to its shelf for its Murano model. SUVs.com named the Nissan Murano as the best midsize economical SUV. When you examine its offerings closer, you’ll see why this is the case.

Style

The Murano features a lower roofline, the V-Motion grille, and fluid body lines to provide it with its distinctive profile. The SUV’s aerodynamic design aligns more with the style tastes of the modern buyer, boosting the Murano’s profile over its counterparts.

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Price

One of the main reasons why the Nissan Murano scored so high was because of the value it delivers. The SUV’s price of $29,740 is affordable especially when you compare it to the cost of other models in its class. According to AxleGeeks estimates, you could save on average $5,650 by choosing the Murano.

Fuel Economy

The savings extend further when you examine the Murano’s excellent fuel efficiency of 24 combined mpg. This gives it a nine percent advantage over its immediate peers, who, on average, generate 22 combined mpg.

With the Murano, you’ll also receive better fuel range per fill-up. Due to its solid fuel economy, you’ll be able to squeeze 25 extra miles on the highway or through city commuting with each tank. While that might seem negligible on the surface, if you drive often these costs will save you money over the life of owning the Murano.

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Performance

Most SUVs are made with families and commuters in mind, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the one area where the Nissan Murano struggles in is its power capabilities. This crossover comes equipped with the 3.5L V6 engine which generates a respectable 260-horsepower, meaning you’ll have more than enough power to tackle steep hills with ease.

However, when compared to other midsize SUVs, the Murano falls a bit short. It has a slight deficiency in horsepower output (3.7 percent) compared to its competitors. That disparity grows when you move to towing capacity. The Nissan Murano has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds whereas the average for its class is closer to 3,500 pounds. Again, this won’t matter much if you don’t plan to tow many items, it’s just an important consideration to be mindful of if you do.

Interior Space

Another big reason why we love the Nissan Murano is its generous interior space, providing ample room for passengers and cargo. With the rear seats folded, the Murano has a maximum cargo capacity of 67 cubic feet.

Trunk space is another area where the Murano holds an edge on some of its competitors. It has a trunk space of 32.1 cubic feet, which is more spacious than the trunks of the Chevrolet Equinox L (31.50 cubic feet) and the GMC Terrain SLE-1 (31.60 cubic feet.)

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Safety

The Nissan Murano earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, the highest safety rating bestowed by the IIHS. A big reason for this honor concerns the ample safety equipment the Murano comes with.

Similar to other Nissan models, the Murano comes with a suite of respond safety features such as brake assist, a traction control system, and vehicle dynamic control. This crossover also possesses seven standard airbags, the LATCH system to keep children secure during commutes and roof-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags.

Nissan is also proud to offer its Safety Shield technological features for the Murano. This includes available equipment like blind spot monitoring, rearview and around view mirrors to capture a 360-degree vision of your surroundings and predictive forward collision warning, which monitors your speed and distance from vehicles in front of you. If it senses a vehicle slows it alerts you so you have ample time to react. Overall, the Murano comes with a unique mix of standard and proactive safety equipment to make you feel confident and secure on your drives.

Competition

The Nissan Murano has some fierce competition. Here’s a closer look at some of its competitors and how they measure up to the best.

The Honda Pilot possesses many enticing features. It has a low starting price of $30,145, placing it in firm competition with its counterparts like the Murano from an affordability standpoint. The Pilot also earned a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA and the Top Safety Pick+ honor from the IIHS.

When compared to the Nissan Murano, the Honda Pilot’s edge concerns power. The Pilot’s 280-horsepower output is better than the Murano’s (260). That aside, the Nissan Murano is more fuel efficient, less expensive and possesses more trunk space. Therefore, while the Pilot is a worthy competitor, the Murano is better in key areas.

Another worthy competitor is the Mazda CX-9 Sport. The CX-9 Sport has an affordable price of $31,520 and a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg, both huge selling points for SUV buyers.

Even with the Mazda CX-9’s affordability, the Nissan Murano is less expensive. The Murano also has more horsepower and holds a significant edge in trunk space (32.1 cubic feet to 14.40 cubic feet.) With these factors in mind, the Mazda CX-9 is a great option, but the Murano is even better if you want a spacious and affordable SUV.

Our Take

It’s easy to see why the Nissan Murano continues to receive critical acclaim. The SUV is stylish and spacious. From a budgetary standpoint, it’s hard to beat the Murano’s low starting price and excellent fuel economy. Tying it together is the Nissan Murano’s excellent safety features, leading many to conclude that this is a well-equipped SUV that performs exceptionally in the most critical areas.

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