Wednesday, December 19, 2018


If you like the Nissan Rogue compact crossover (and many do as it is the company’s best seller) but want an SUV with a little more size, you can get it without even leaving the Japanese automaker’s showroom.

Though it is actually older than the Rogue by five years, the Murano looks kind of like a Rogue that has grown up.

At 192.8 inches long with a wheelbase of 111.2 inches, it has 8.3 and 4.8 inches over the Rogue, respectively, with an interior volume of 108.1 cubic feet to the Rogue’s 105.8.

The Murano also has a bigger engine under the hood with a 3.5-liter V6 with horsepower and torque figures of 260 and 240 respectively. The Rogue gets 170 hp and 175 lb.-ft. from its inline-4.

Both engines are mated to the company’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission that helps boost fuel economy to 20 miles-per-gallon city, 28 highway in both FWD and AWD Murano models compared to 26/33 for FWD Rogues, 25/32 for AWD Rogues.

But it’s not mere size that sets the Murano apart not only from the Rogue but a good many of its competitors as well. The Murano has the kind of refinement and high quality materials usually reserved for higher end models.

If it had an analog clock in the middle of the center stack, it would have the feel of a crossover from the company’s Infiniti luxury stable. (But at considerably less cost.)

Yes, it’s that nice.

The Murano comes in four flavors starting with the base S model that starts at $31,000 with front-wheel drive. The SV opens at $34,300, the SL $38,700, and the Platinum at $42,430 with all-wheel drive adding $1,600 and destination and delivery taking on another $945.

As is often the case, my vehicle for the week was the top-of-the-line Platinum AWD edition that is chock full of so many standard features that options and packages are unnecessary, which makes up for at least some of the difference in price.

Standard exterior items included a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights, and silver roof rails. Standard safety features included automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, around-view monitor with rear cross traffic alert, and numerous airbag systems that help earn it a 5-star overall safety rating from the federal government.

The list of standard and comfort features goes on, and on, and on, and on, and then on some more.

It’s almost easier to state isn’t included than what is. That would be Nissan’s ProPilot Assist program that helps keep your vehicle traveling in the flow of traffic as well as centered in the proper lane.

It is offered on the 2018 Rogue, but not the Murano.

But the refreshing for the 2019 Murano offers as an option (standard on Platinum models) the Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology that encompasses Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking.

Frankly, I prefer lane departure “warning” over the slightly more aggressive lane departure “assist” any way in the ProPilot system, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in that.

ProPilot Assist is not the only advantage the Rogue holds over the Murano, however. Surprisingly, despite its slightly large size, the Murano’s storage capacity does not measure up to the Rogue’s.

Not that its cramped. Listed space at the rear of the Murano is 32.1 cubic feet to the Rogue’s 39.3. Behind the second row, the Rogue holds the advantage with 70 cubic feet to the Murano’s 67.

The Rogue also offers up to 43 inches of legroom upfront to the Murano’s 40.5, but the Murano holds the advantage in the second room, offering 38.7 inches to the Rogue’s 37.9.

In many ways, it’s a wash between the two vehicles. Both are good choices.

What I liked about the 2018 Nissan Murano Platinum: The cabin has the ambiance of a luxury model with lots of user-friendly technological features and lots of leather throughout. Designers were not afraid to include knobx for audio and climate control functions. Front seats are heated and ventilated, and  rear seats are heated. Actual use matched the stated mileage figure of 21 mpg city.

What I didn’t like about the 2018 Nissan Murano Platinum: Response to vice commands was somewhat spotty. For some reason, I got a prompt that there was no subscription to satellite channels, but I was able to tune to SXM via the touchscreen. I don’t care for CVTs, but at least Nissan has eliminated the quirks of earlier tries. Fabricated shift points mimic manual gear selection, though with no paddle shifters the driver must reach over to the shifter on the console to take advantage of them.

Would I buy the 2018 Nissan Murano? Yes. Frankly, the Rogue fits my personal needs better at this time, but the classy Murano is a good choice. The driving experience isn’t all that thrilling, but its utility, fuel efficiency and classy interior makes up for that.

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