Don’t’ be fooled by the 2021 Nissan Murano’s bold exterior styling; underneath its aggressively creased sheetmetal lies a comfy cabin and a soft-riding chassis. All Muranos come with the same engine and transmission—a 3.5-liter V-6 and a continuously variable automatic transmission—offered with either front- or all-wheel drive. This setup doesn’t deliver a pulse-raising driving experience but it does provide adequate power that matches the Murano’s relaxed demeanor. Four adults will find plenty of room to stretch out inside the Murano’s interior but those looking for massive cargo space might consider one of the Murano’s boxier rivals—such as the Honda Passport or the Hyundai Santa Fe.
What’s New for 2021?
Nissan has given the Murano’s safety game a boost for 2021 by making its previously optional suite of driver-assistance features standard across the range. Called Safety Shield 360, this package of features includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beams, among others. Gone is the SV Premium package and in its place Nissan will offer the Special Edition package, which includes a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree exterior camera system, faux-leather upholstery, heated front seats, and 20-inch wheels.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Since the 2021 Murano is one of the older options in this class—and it finished last in a comparison test—we’d avoid the more expensive models. That pushes us toward the Murano SV, which has a nice mix of style and substance at an appropriate price. Its standard highlights include adaptive cruise control, power-adjustable front seats, and remote start. We’d also select the new Special Edition package. Those who want all-wheel drive can add it for an extra $1550.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood of all Murano models is a 3.5-liter V-6 making 260 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be added to any trim, and both setups utilize a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The last Murano we tested had decent performance on our test track and delivered peppy performance around town. Bury your foot in the throttle—an exercise few Murano buyers will do frequently—and the CVT spikes the engine revs and holds them there, resulting in a loud, droning growl from under the hood. The Murano is in its element on long-distance highway jaunts, where the powertrain fades into the background and delivers a peaceful journey. With a suspension tuned for comfort, the Murano makes easy work of road trips, and its suspension damps out even the roughest of potholes to deliver a smooth ride. Encounter a twisty road and the Murano will safely deliver you to the next intersection, but it won’t entertain you along the way. The steering delivers good highway stability but is dull and uncommunicative on meandering two-lanes. The Murano offers a low tow rating of 1500 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the Murano will earn 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The addition of all-wheel drive also doesn’t diminish either rating. In our real-world testing, the Murano fell short of its highway fuel-economy estimate—27 mpg—but still managed to post one of the best results of the rivals we sampled.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Murano’s cabin is among the nicest, most well-equipped interiors in this comparison and outluxes most of the other Nissan products. Our Platinum test vehicle wore soft leather on the seats, door panels, and armrests, with a sweeping dashboard design divided by a band of dark teak-wood trim. Both front-seat occupants should easily find a pleasant seating position in the heavily cushioned chairs. Rear-seat passengers are treated to a comfortable, reclining bench seat with plentiful padding. Since the Murano’s cargo bay is below average in size for this class, it comes as no surprise that behind its rear seat we managed to fit only nine of our carry-on suitcases while other rivals held more. However, with its rear seat stowed, the Murano out-hauled the Jeep Grand Cherokee and we fit 26 cases inside the cabin. Most of the interior-storage cubby bins are adequately sized except for the Murano’s glovebox, which is huge.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All Murano models feature an 8.0-inch color touchscreen display running Nissan’s NissanConnect infotainment system; navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM with Travel Link weather and traffic updates also are now standard across the range. The Murano has both USB-A and USB-C ports, including a pair on the back of the center console so those in the rear seat can juice their smartphones.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Decent scores from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the Murano an average safety report card. Nissan offers a slew of standard driver-assistance technology on all models. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nothing about the Murano’s standard warranty package is noteworthy. Rivals in this segment all offer longer roadside assistance plans, while the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe both beat the Nissan with a nontransferable 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain policy.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs