It’s easy to answer the question, “What is a Murano?” If you look out your nearest window, you’re likely to see one of the Nissan crossovers driving or parked in front of a house or business. The automaker has been manufacturing them since the 2003 model year and is now three generations deep into the popular model.
If you don’t know your European geography, it’s much harder to answer the question, “What does Murano mean?” It’s not a made-up name. Murano is a set of islands near Venice in northern Italy. For centuries, it’s been known for its beautiful glassware.
Like its namesake’s artisan-made goods, the Murano was designed and sculpted to be sleek and attractive, even if it’s only partly made of glass. The current version debuted as a 2015 model with dramatic and curvaceous styling, V-6 power, and a long list of standard and available safety features.
The 2017 Murano is available in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trim lines, each of which can be equipped with front-wheel drive or Nissan’s Intuitive All-Wheel Drive.
We had our own questions regarding Nissan’s beloved people-mover. The company was kind enough to send us a 2017 Murano Platinum AWD so we could answer them.
2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD Exterior
Making something desirable out of just glass is challenging enough. Nissan’s designers had to combine glass with metal and rubber, and create something that image-conscious customers would want to invest years of payments into.
To do that, they concentrated on three main areas of the Murano’s design. The V-motion front grille has a wind-swept appearance to it. An active front shutter manages airflow and, along with other aero-focused exterior parts and the lessons learned after extensive wind tunnel testing, contributes to the Murano’s coefficient of drag of 0.31 (a Ferrari 488 GTB has a Cd of 0.32). In other words, the Murano is as sleek as it looks.
Another area Nissan’s designers focused on was the Murano’s front and rear “boomerang” lighting. Inspired by the shape of the exterior illumination on the 370Z sports car, the Platinum model’s LED headlights (signature, daytime running, low beams, and high beams) make it stand out even more in a parking lot and, of course, at night. The same goes for the striking LED tail light casings filled with ribbons of red and white.
The third key area of the Murano’s design, the “floating” roof, arcs over the space between those two pairs of boomerangs. By blackening the D-pillars, Nissan’s stylists made the roof look as if it’s disconnected from the rest of the Murano. The Arctic Blue Metallic body of our test vehicle below it was a metal sculpture which sat on top of an eye-catching set of machined 20-inch wheels.
Thanks to those styling choices, the 2017 Nissan Murano stood out everywhere we took it. It was proof that you don’t have to pay high-end vehicle prices for the luxury of a distinctive automobile.
2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD Interior
Nissan wanted the cabin of the Murano to feel like an upscale “social lounge.” This writer certainly felt comfortable and at ease inside of it. The Zero Gravity seats were heated and cooled in the front and heated in the back, perfect for a trip from Austin to San Antonio, Texas on a cool night to celebrate my mother’s birthday over plates of spicy Mexican food. Lovably old-fashioned knobs for the audio system and dual-zone climate control made dialing in the perfect volume and temperatures quick and easy. Taking Bluetooth calls or adjusting the speed and following distance settings of the Intelligent Cruise Control (part of the optional Technology Package) was just a matter of thumbing a button or switch on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The power full-length panoramic moonroof (another part of the Technology Package) gave yours truly a calming view of the night sky on the way back from dinner as my mother enjoyed the ample legroom in the back seat.
What also helped the interior of the Murano feel like a relaxing lounge was its color scheme. The light cashmere was easy on the eyes. We found the pearlescent wood-tone trim on the door panels, dashboard, and center tunnel to be the most soothing sight. It made the light and airy cabin feel even more pleasant.
2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD Performance
Nissan offers the 2017 Murano with one engine. It chose wisely. The naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 generates 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Those figures were more than enough to get the Murano up to speed at a satisfying pace.
Engineers paired that hearty V6 with a smooth Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Its D-Step Logic gave it the feel of shift points that most of us are familiar with from traditional automatic gearboxes. We appreciated Nissan’s effective efforts to make the relatively foreign gearbox seem more everyday.
According to the EPA, our Murano media special was capable of achieving 21 city, 28 highway, and 24 combined mpg.** We were able to slightly exceed that last figure.
2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD Safety
The Murano Platinum comes standard with a long list of safety features. Those include front airbags, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both rows, and a driver’s knee airbag. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System kept its electronic eyes on our rubber’s PSI. We had peace of mind no matter which direction we moved thanks to Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. We didn’t worry about rain because we had the safety net of Nissan’s Intuitive All-Wheel Drive. The Technology Package added Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Forward Emergency Braking. It was comforting to know we had all of that around us–and that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Murano a five-star overall safety rating.
2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD Overall
Prices for the 2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD start at $40,780.* Our press loaner, which was outfitted with the Technology Package and floor and cargo mats had an as-tested price of $44,165. If you’ve read this entire review and still have questions about the Murano, the friendly staff at an AutoNation Nissan dealership will be happy to answer them for you. You already know what a Murano is (and where Murano is), but they can tell you even more about why the Nissan Murano may be the right vehicle for you.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.