Most owners enjoy the Murano’s upscale styling, upscale cabin, feature content bang for the buck – and solid, comfortable, and confident ride.
The current-generation Nissan Murano hit the road some five years back, and for the third time in as many generations, it entered the scene geared up to raise the bar in the mid-size crossover utility vehicle segment with advanced design, cutting-edge technology and big-time on-road presence.
New for this generation were features like LED headlamps, zero-gravity seats, weight-saving design and materials, and new slew of advanced safety features including blind spot warning (BSW), predictive forward collision warning (PFCW), forward emergency braking, intelligent cruise control, cross-traffic alert (CTA), and more. Nissan’s popular around-view parking monitor camera system was also on board.
Designed to stand out in the segment, Murano intended to give competitors like the Santa Fe Sport and Ford Edge a run for their money.
Upscale feature content included a Bose stereo system, climate-controlled seats, a panoramic sunroof, touchscreen navigation, and more.
This generation of Murano helped bolster owner confidence by way of top safety ratings from the IIHS, as well as other awards including the “2016 Best 2-Row SUV for Families” (US News & World Report) and a top position in the 2015 J.D. Power APEAL study.
All units are V6-powered and offer two seating rows.
Look for a 3.5-litre V6, good for a competitive 260 horsepower. Nissan’s XTronic CVT transmission was standard on all units. Most used copies of this-generation Murano included Nissan’s Intelligent AWD, though a front-wheel drive unit was also available. If you’re set on AWD, make sure the model you’re considering has it.
What Owners Like
Most owners enjoy the Murano’s upscale styling, upscale cabin, feature content bang for the buck – and solid, comfortable, and confident ride. Feature content favourites include the Bose stereo system and panoramic sunroof. Many say they appreciate the added traction of the Murano’s fully automatic AWD system in inclement weather, too. By and large, Murano seems to have satisfied the needs of many shoppers after an upscale crossover driving experience at a reasonable price.
What Owners Dislike
Most owners report few gripes, though some wish for slightly better fuel economy, as well as some easier-to-use technologies, including the NissanConnect system.
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Pro Tip: CVT Requires Specific Maintenance
Nissan has sold countless vehicles with their Xtronic CVT transmission, which works just like a regular automatic from the driver’s seat. This transmission has no pre-set gears, which helps boost performance and fuel mileage.
Like all transmissions, the Murano’s Xtronic CVT requires occasional servicing, inspection, and maintenance to keep it running properly, and to maintain its coverage under the vehicle’s powertrain warranty. As such, shoppers should take steps to confirm that the transmission isn’t overdue for a fluid change or servicing. Like any transmission, stretching or skipping the servicing requirements can lead to problems that are not covered by warranty. Obtain proof that all previous transmission fluid changes were performed by a Nissan dealer, not an independent lube shop, for maximum peace of mind.
Further, to ensure optimal operation, shoppers should work with a Nissan dealer service department to ensure that the transmission in the Murano they’re considering has had all available software updates installed. Software updates are sometimes performed to give the transmission a new set of instructions that help improve operation or prevent possible issues.
Translation? Ensuring your Murano’s transmission isn’t overdue for a fluid change or software update is a great idea. The details on service intervals for the CVT (and other components) are listed in the owner’s manual.
Pro Tip: Make the Most of the Warranty
If the Murano you’re considering is still covered by remaining factory warranty, be sure to report any concerns to your local Nissan dealer, and have them investigated and documented, as soon as possible. This may help speed up future warranty claims, if applicable.
Pro Tip: Check the Recalls
This generation of Murano was subjected to five recalls, which are issued to remedy some latent safety defect. Four of these recalls relate to the braking system. Not all Murano units are subject to these recalls, though shoppers are advised to ask a dealer service advisor which recalls (if any) may be outstanding for the model they’re considering. Have any outstanding recall work performed as soon as possible. Dealers perform recall work free of charge, but you’ll probably need to make an appointment ahead of time.
The Test Drive
Spend some portion of your test drive on the roughest road you can find. While here, turn off the climate control fan and stereo, and listen very carefully for unwelcomed sounds (clunking, popping, smashing) from the underside of the Murano. Murano’s ride should slightly stiff, soft around the edges, largely dense, and fairly quiet. Any sounds that suggest metal on metal contact, or a rhythmic clunking when driven over bumps, could be an indication that one or more suspension components is in need of replacement. Have a technician investigate further if you detect any such sounds, noting that some suspension components can be pricey to replace.
Also, note that unwanted sounds can come from more minor problems. One owner reported a problematic rear-end clunk that was caused by a missing mud-flap clip (which was remedied for $4 in about five minutes).
Murano’s smart-key system allows drivers to work the door locks and ignition by a simple touch, provided they have the smart-key fob on their person. A wireless signal between the keyfob and vehicle automatically validate each other, and allow access when in close proximity. According to this discussion, some owners have reported less-than-stellar battery life from the keyfobs.
The Murano may light up a “low battery” warning message when low keyfob battery power is detected. At this point, make plans to change the battery, ASAP. Ensuring you store the vehicle keyfobs far from the vehicle (e.g. not on a nearby shelf in the garage) may help prevent unwanted battery drain. When replacing the battery, use a high-quality unit from a reliable brand. If neither of these tips fends off battery drain, a dealership may be able to reflash or reprogram the system to help eliminate the problem.
Windows and Tailgate
Some owners have reported issues with slow or non-functional power windows, and power tailgates that fail to open and close as expected. Most of the reports listed in this discussion indicate that these issues are relatively rare, and that they may be more likely in cold weather. Try all of Murano’s power windows, from each switch, confirming proper functionality of the auto up/down setting, and ensuring that all windows open and close as expected, at the same speed, and with no sign of hesitation. Open and close the power tailgate several times as well, confirming proper operation. A technician should investigate any issues, if detected.
Here’s some more helpful reading on potential rear hatch problems.
Note that, after washing the vehicle in the winter, using a towel to dry the weather seals around the tailgate and doors can fend off possible problems. Also, consider leaving all windows down a crack, immediately after a car wash, to reduce the amount of ice allowed to build up and thereby reducing the strain on the power window motors the next time they’re used.
According to this discussion, some owners have had the wheel bearings in their Murano replaced at relatively low mileage, and sometimes, more than once. This problem doesn’t look widespread – but is one that shoppers should be aware of. A bad wheel bearing or bearings may result in a loud growl or groaning sound, perhaps most notable around 60–80 km/h. Listen carefully for this sound and have a technician investigate if you hear it. A faulty wheel bearing can eventually wear heavily and become a safety hazard.
Some savvy owners have reported a potentially annoying rattle from the dashboard, and come up with a fix, too. Especially in colder temperatures, it seems that the dash-mounted speaker cover may emit continual clicking, popping, or buzzing sounds. Some owners have remedied this problem by removing the speaker cover, adding something soft around the edges (a thin strip of duct tape, for instance) and replacing the cover.
A few additional checks are advisable if you’re considering a Murano with the panoramic sunroof. First, open and close the roof, several times, to ensure it moves as expected through its full range of motion. Any sign of binding, straining, or a reversal in direction are signs of issues that should be investigated.
With the sunroof open, look down into the opening in the roof, in the gutter-like area where the metal roof and glass sunroof opening meet. Carefully check for signs of rust, bubbling paint around the edges of the sunroof, or signs of poor-quality rust repairs. Excessive buildup of debris (leaves, sand, etc.) in this area should be cleaned promptly, and ideally with a vacuum.
Finally, while inside of the vehicle, be on the lookout for any sign of water staining, dampness, or water damage to the ceiling liner around the sunroof opening, which can be evidence of a water leak. If you detect a water leak, the likely culprit is one or more blocked sunroof drain tubes, which channel water away from the sunroof opening. Clear blocked sunroof drain tubes regularly with a piece of weed-whacker wire or a blast of compressed air. If you’re not sure how, ask a dealer service advisor for help. Here’s some more reading.
Murano’s more commonly reported problems are mainly minor in nature, and should be easy to detect on a test drive. Importantly, this-generation Murano seems, at this point, to have lower-than-average reports of major electronic problems, and problems with the driveline were reported with insufficient frequency against total sales volume to warrant much concern. Obtain a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) for maximum peace of mind, ensure that all servicing is up to date, and buy confidently.
IIHS: Top Safety Pick (2015)
NHTSA: 4/5 Stars (2015)