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2019 Nissan Murano First Drive Review | Comfortably cruising

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2019 Nissan Murano

marks the fourth model year for the big two-row


, and

Nissan has given it a mild refresh for the occasion

. And we do mean mild. It has a revised front fascia that adds black trim in the middle of the front bumper to make the grille look larger and deeper, and the headlights and taillights are fully LED now. These changes, while very minor, do give the car a slightly crisper look.

Besides the styling changes, the


gets three more paint colors, new faux wood trim, and a few safety features. These safety additions include driver alertness monitoring, knee


, additional rear-seat side airbags, and availability of Safety Shield 360,


suite of driver aids: automatic emergency braking, automatic rear emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam headlights.

What isn’t included in the list of changes is anything mechanical. As such,

one of the many things that carries over

is the 3.5-liter V6 that makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Power goes through a CVT to either the front wheels or all four. On our test drive, we found that acceleration is adequate and the engine feels responsive. It’s a bit rough sounding, though, and competitors in this midsize two-row crossover segment offer both smoother and punchier engine options, including

the Ford Edge’s turbocharged offerings

. Pleasantly, the CVT is smooth and doesn’t get hung up at specific rpms.

2019 Nissan Murano2019 Nissan Murano2019 Nissan Murano2019 Nissan Murano

Equally smooth is the ride, which manages to avoid being floaty. Handling is secure, but there’s moderate body roll, and it doesn’t turn in particularly quickly or eagerly. Steering has good weight to it, but other than some muted feedback from the road, it’s vague and imprecise.

The Murano may not be exciting to drive, but it is a pleasant place to spend time. The interior is airy, and the dashboard and materials are attractive. There’s nice contrast between plastics, shiny trim and faux wood that is definitely identifiable as such, but has a matte finish that keeps it from being to garish or distracting. The driving position is a bit strange, as you sit very far from the windshield and instruments, but it’s comfortable and there’s plenty of head- and legroom. The rear seats are spacious, too.

That interior is really what makes the case for the Murano, because otherwise the $32,365 crossover is just average. The

Hyundai Santa Fe

offers a much better price at $26,480, and the

Ford Edge

is sportier. But if style and comfort are the paramount concerns, there’s a case for the Murano.

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