Nissan was having financial problems in the late 90’s. To prevent bankrupcy, Nissan entered an alliance with French car manufacturer Renault. The Murano was one of the first products of the new company vision. When the 2003 Murano came out in 2002, its large wheels and futuristic styling made it stand out from the crowd. Nissan calls it the “Urban SUV”; its name originates from Murano glass, a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano.
First generation (2002–2007)
EPA fuel economy is rated at 18 city / 23 highway
The Nissan Murano is a mid-size crossover SUV first sold as a 2003 model. The SUV is named after Murano, Italy and the first generation Murano was based on the Nissan FF-L platform first used by the third generation Altima.
The Murano is sized between the Xterra and the Pathfinder, but is priced slightly higher than the Nissan Pathfinder.
Available with standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) and optional all-wheel-drive (AWD), the Nissan Murano is one of the largest vehicles utilising a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The Murano received a crash test rating of 5-stars in all categories but vehicle rollover (4-stars) from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For the 2006 model year in North America, the Murano received some updates in the form of LED tailamps and turn signals, standard color information screen, available back-up camera (standard in Canada for all models), GPS and a restyled front end with some minor trim updates.
Second generation (2009–2014)
EPA fuel economy is rated at 18 city / 23 highway
Nissan skipped the 2008 model year with the introduction of the next generation Murano – as a 2009 model. The revised exterior styling bears an increased family resemblance to the Nissan Rogue, while still maintaining distinctly Murano cues with its aggressive front fascia and rear quarter windows. The interior has also been completely redesigned, with the use of a more traditional instrument cluster and notably higher-quality materials.
The 2009 Murano is offered in three trim levels:
• base S
• mid-grade SL
• top of the line LE
The performance-oriented SE model is no longer available. The S and SL are offered with standard FWD, with optional iAWD (Intelligent All Wheel Drive) available. The LE trim is iAWD only.
New features, some of them optional or available only on the LE grade, include rain-sensing wipers, double-stitched leather seats, power rear lift gate, power fold-up rear seats, iPod integration, and a hard-drive based, touchscreen navigation system. The S and SL feature aluminum interior accents, while the LE sports wood-tone trim. Like the first-generation model, there is no third-row seat.
The Murano is now based on the Nissan D platform shared with the fourth generation Nissan Altima and the new 2009 Nissan Maxima. Nissan has given the 2009 Murano a revised version of the award-winning 3.5L VQ engine rated at 265 horsepower, an increase of 20 over the previous model. Torque is rated at 248 lbf·ft. The engine is mated to a revised Continuously Variable Transmission with Adaptive Shift Control.
Standard safety features on all trims include 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake-assist, and EBD; electronic stability control; and front, side-, and side-curtain airbags. The NHTSA awarded the second generation Murano 4 stars on the frontal crash test and 5 stars for side impacts, worse than the first generation.
2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
For the 2011 model year, the Murano was refreshed to include new front and rear fascias, new headlights and LED taillights, and new 18-inch wheels on the outside. New interior changes include a new white meter color (as opposed to red/orange), new center stack plastic colours that now match the leather trim, and added equipment to various trim levels. The refresh also added a new exterior color, “Graphite Blue”.
A convertible version called CrossCabriolet was added for the 2011 model year; however, due to slow sales and lack of promotion, Nissan announced on 15th April 2014 that it will end production on the CrossCabriolet and there are no plans to replace it with another vehicle.
Third generation (2015-)
On April 14, 2014, Nissan unveiled a third generation Murano at the New York Auto Show, with production of the vehicle to be built in Canton, Mississippi and arriving in dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2014. The 2015 Nissan Murano was inspired by the Resonance Concept that was on display at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The new Murano includes a toned-down “V-Motion” nose and the trademark boomerang-shaped light fixtures, along with a “floating roof” design and an updated infotainment system and newer security features. The VQ-Series 3.5-liter V6 engine will continue to be offered in the third generation version for the 2015 model year.
Pros: Original styling, sporty handling, reasonable fuel economy, comfortable roomy interior, decent sound system.
Cons: Firm ride, road and engine noise, no seven-seat option, reliability issues in early models, maintenance and repair costs.
Overall: The Murano is not a bad choice for a city SUV. It is roomy, comfortable and fun to drive. However, we expect the maintenance and repair costs to be higher than average. Because of the CVT, the Murano is also not the best choice for towing. Read about common problems and what to look for on the next page.
1. Failing engine mounts Will cause thumping in the floor
- A thumping heard and felt in the floor is often caused by failing engine mounts.
A failing mount allows too much movement of the engine, and
will require replacement.
2. Damaged seat adjuster assembly may cause noise/rocking movement
- A damaged or broken seat adjuster assembly on the seat bottom can cause the seat to rock back and forth and possibly squeak.
It can also cause the seat to not adjust forward or backward, or up and down.
3. Faulty fuel damper may cause ticking noise
- A faulty fuel damper can produce a ticking noise, which can be heard inside the cabin when the engine is idling.
Replacement of the failed dampener should correct this problem.
4. Cannot access fuel filler compartment
- The fuel filler door actuator relay can fail and prevent access to the gas cap.
5. Air intake tube on air cleaner box may become loose.
- Various drivability problems may be caused by the air intake tube attached to the air cleaner box coming loose.
Nissan has recalled 2003-2007 models for this concern.