2012 Nissan Murano ST Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

Excellent engine and gearbox combination, solid build.

What’s Not

Thirst for premium petrol.

X Factor

Car-like handling and SUV practicality, all rolled into one.

  • Country of Origin
    JAPAN
  • Price
    $47,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    191 kW / 336 Nm
  • Transmission
    Constantly Variable Transmission
  • ANCAP Rating
    N/A
  • Airbags
  • L/100 km
    10.9
  • C02
    259 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    510 L
  • Towing (braked)
    1500 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Tony O'Kane | Mar 14, 2012 | 13 Comments

2012 NISSAN MURANO REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Medium SUV
Price: $47,990 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy (claimed): 10.9 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 13.7 l/100km

Facelifted in the middle of last year and upgraded with a modest increase in standard equipment, not much has changed with the second-generation Nissan Murano.

That’s not such a bad thing. From the outset, the second-gen Murano has impressed us with its classy interior and good performance.

None of that has been messed with; Nissan has simply made its good qualities better.

INTERIOR

Quality: This is one of the nicest interiors in the mid-size SUV class. There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces and high-quality plastics; and the seats are upholstered in soft, perforated black leather.

The solidly-built Murano feels quite upmarket for a sub-$50k SUV.

Comfort: The front seats are like armchairs - incredibly comfortable and quite commodious.

The driver’s seat in the ST is eight-way power-adjustable, including for squab height and lumbar support. The steering column also adjusts for tilt and reach, so getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy.

The front passenger seat features four-way power adjustment, and leg and headroom is generous. The rear bench is also amply cushioned, but the centre position would only provide enough comfort for a small child.

The 60/40 split rear backrests can be adjusted for rake, and B-pillar mounted air outlets provide additional comfort on long trips.

Equipment: Standard features on the Murano ST include dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone integration, cruise control, xenon headlamps, an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system with two subwoofers, keyless entry and ignition, a reversing camera and 18-inch alloys.

It’s certainly well-equipped but the large touchscreen display for the phone and audio system doesn't work as well as it should ergonomically - it's just a little too far away from the driver.

Storage: The Murano’s boot is smaller than the average mid-size SUV wagon, although there’s enough room for a pram and a few other odds and ends. It may be a little too small for some families.

In-cabin storage is plentiful thanks to the multitude of cubbys, storage bins and door pockets - not to mention an enourmous drawer under the centre console.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: The Murano is blessed with same powerful 3.5 litre petrol V6 as the Maxima 350ST, which is itself also similar to the V6 used by the 350Z sports car.

With exceptional refinement, power and torque, the Murano’s 191kW/336Nm V6 is more than muscular enough to motivate the car’s 1800kg frame with gusto.

The engine is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission, but, unlike other CVTs on the market, this one is both impressively smooth and quick to respond to driver inputs.

While some CVTs can be slow to adjust their 'gearing' to the driver's driving style, the Murano’s transmission responds rapidly and decisively, picking the right ratio nearly every time.

More abrupt demands for extra power (such as when overtaking) are met with swift kickdowns.

The downside of having such a powerful naturally-aspirated engine in such a heavy car is poor fuel economy. Nissan claims the Murano will use 10.9 l/100km on the combined cycle, but we couldn’t get our tester to dip below 13.7 l/100km.

Refinement: Noise and vibration suppression is excellent. The Murano’s engine is whisper-quiet at cruising speed, and its CVT exhibits none of the chain whine that plagues some other CVT gearboxes.

Suspension: The Murano rides reasonably flatly (if a little taut down below), and has excellent roadholding for an SUV. It also deals well with corrugations with a ride that isn’t jarring despite its firmness.

The Murano’s AWD drivetrain ordinarily has a front-wheel bias, but can be locked in 4WD mode to help get through slipperier terrain.

It automatically disengages the 4WD lock at speeds over 40km/h though, so that particular drive mode is only really meant to help get you out of the occasional sticky situation, not for genuine off-roading.

Braking: We had no complaints with the Murano’s powerful brake system. With ventilated discs at each corner, it has no trouble slowing the 1800kg Murano.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Not rated

Safety features: Standard safety features include ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.

Passenger safety is provided by three-point seatbelts (pretensioning for front seat occupants) and anti-whiplast front headrests, as well as front, front side and full-length curtain airbags.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3 years/100,000km

Service costs: Under Nissan’s myNissan capped price servicing scheme, all scheduled services for the first six years or 120,000km of ownership have a fixed price.

A basic service costs approximately $248, while the cost of a major service can be up to $650.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Ford Territory TX AWD diesel ($48,240) - It’s a big car, the Territory, and its powered by a grunty turbodiesel that’s more economical than the Murano’s petrol V6

It’s more expensive and less well equipped though, but families will surely appreciate its more spacious boot and cabin. (see Territory reviews)

Toyota Kluger KX-R AWD ($44,490) - The Kluger KX-R doesn’t carry as many standard mod-cons as the Murano.

However, its squarer cabin dimensions endow it with a more usable boot space and unlike the Murano, it has a seven-seat option.(see Kluger reviews)

Mazda CX-9 Luxury AWD ($56,225) - The CX-9’s 3.7 litre V6 is more powerful and more torquey than the Murano’s 3.5 litre, and it offers seven seats as standard. It’s massive inside too, with plenty of sprawling space.

It guzzles fuel though, and the high price of entry for the AWD models makes the 2WD variants a better value proposition. (see CX-9 reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

With its quasi-luxurious cabin feel and excellent drivetrain/powertrain combo, the Murano could best be summed up as a jacked-up Maxima (funnily enough, both cars share their chassis architecture).

It’s a thirsty beast, but, sitting under $50,000, it represents quite decent value in a solid package.

For quality and the driving experience, we'd put the Murano is at the pointy end of the pack.

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Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, Nissan, awd, automatic, murano, CVT, nissan murano, family, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 5door

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  • Smart us says,
    3 years ago
    not bad for SUV - im averaging 13.5 l/100km in my v6 sedan... but im stack in the traffic most of the time - only 35 km/h average speed on my work runs... would be interesting to try this car on my work runs
  • Henry says,
    3 years ago
    " Nissan " Put a grunty 2.5L turbodiesel in the Murano’s, and i will get one!!!!
  • Fred says,
    3 years ago
    1 like
    My Murano runs great with standard unleaded (a few ponies less) and I average 12 litres and below.
    I do 50% freeway and 50% Urban driving.
    So far I have done over 40k k's in one year.

    The car isn't designed to be a "Family SUV"
    So why comparing it to 7-Seat cars?
    It is designed for the US market to compete with Lexus, Honda, Ford and so on.

    Show me any other SUV the same size, weight and engine capacity that is more economical.

    You and your Territory comparisons all the time.
    The 6-Cyl. Petrol drinks at least 3 litres more, and the Turbo Diesel is a castrated version of the original engine with no get up and go.
    The built quality of a Territory is no match for the Murano.

    I agree with the Diesel option though. The Murano is available in Europe with the 2.5 Diesel from the Pathfinder.
  • Marty McDonell says,
    2 years ago
    Have done 100 k in our 2009 TI and on our fourth set of rubber, is ours a dud?
    Also when hitting rough roads the back sways that bad I think we have lost the kids out the windows. Again do we have dud?
    Your thoughts appreciated. Drive safe.
    Marty
  • JamesG says,
    2 years ago
    Just drove a friend's new Murano, my thoughts:

    Likes - heated seats; layout of interior - everything looks and feels nice; keyless start; feels planted well on the road; silent wipers.

    Dislikes - no digital speedo option; has 3.5L engine and yet truly feels like 2.0L when floored - lacked urge; no visual indicator of when cruise control is set, only if youve got it on/off; accelerator pedal slightly small and takes a few degrees to respond (same deal in Maxima i hired a year ago, slightly annoyance).
  • Dvdsam says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Very interesting cooments, we have just bought one. Trading in an Audi Q 7, this is a well built car even when compared to the Audi.
    • Miguel caruana says,
      2 years ago
      I just got a 2012 Murano any comments regarding fuel??
  • Vadim says,
    2 years ago
    Just purchased our TI Murano.

    After 2 weeks of hunting and testing.
    What was the conclusion. Most luxuries best features of anything close.

    Closest was the Volvo xc60 with 6-9 options ticked makin it $83,000 unlike the murano $54,000 with the same spec.

    So the depost was left today. Another test drive just to make me happy and signed.

    Could use a bigger screen and 7 speed....blah blah.

    But tuis is what Infinity is for . Like Lexus for toyota.

    But 9ercent there for 60 percent of the price.

    We are looking forward to it. 4 weeks and counting.

    2 parents and 1 child.
    • Gabriel says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      Congrats Vadim. $54k is a good price. Was this a demo? and which dealer?
      • Fred says,
        2 years ago
        I have just clicked 60k in 18 months. Still on first set of tyres, which have about 15k left before I need new ones.

        Fuel consumption on average 11-12l with Unleaded 91.

        Have a problem with windscreen wipers, which is now escalated to Japan. Also had a few rattles, all but one are fixed.

        Paid $52.5k 18 months ago with towbar, tint, floormats.

        Plenty of floow stock at this price available, and now with 1.4% Finance. Even I am thinking of getting a new model.

        Can't share the opinion that the Murano doesn't have enough get up and go. Because it is very quite and has a CVT gearbox, one can have the impressions it doesn't go. Floor it and you can easily keep up with a VE Commodore.
        From 0-50 k's it's a bit sluggish, but once the revs are up it goes!

        Every person has different likes and tastes. I wouldn't want a digital speedo, but agree with the light for the cruise control.

        No other car in this class comes even close with features for the price!
  • Anna says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    I have had my Murano for 3yrs now and I love it . I think it's the best car that we have ever had it drive very well, it has plenty power ,it drives very smooth .We are very happy.
  • Phil murray says,
    7 months ago
    Had my 2012 Ti now for 16 mnths and 16,000 kms. Love my car. I think fuel consumption has improved as engine gets more use. Worst feature is large turning circle... But thats front wheel drive cars anyway. Every luxury i want in a vehicle. Knowing now what i know having owned the car, yes it was the right decision. Spent 6 months test driving and comparing other SUVs as this was my first new car. Oh, GPS Iisnt very good... Audio instructions often/ sometimes wrong.
  • GT says,
    3 months ago
    I have a 2006 Maxima 3.5, and am thinking about a recent model (2011+) Murano as a replacement. I guess it is essentially a Maxima wagon in many ways, but I hate the Maxima's vague steering and floaty handling. Is this the same with the Murano? Thanks.
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