The 2012 Nissan Murano earns a respectable Total Car Score, as reviewers like aspects of both models, the conventional four-door Murano and the thoroughly non-conventional two-door CrossCabriolet convertible.
Critics judge the Murano as a machine that drives well and makes a solid stab at crossover-style practicality -- at least in the hard-roof version -- rather than a practical SUV that does its best to drive well.
They recognize the fine and feisty V6 engine, the composed handling (although the 20-inch wheel option with lower-profile tires tends to be somewhat jarring) and excellent build quality.
The Murano also represents one of the few occasions where critics do not show displeasure at a continuously variable transmission, as CVTs are notorious for being slow-witted and noisy. Instead, this CVT unit is often lauded as among the best in the business (although there are quicker-reacting and quieter conventional auto transmissions in this segment).
Total cabin space in the four-door is 64 cubic feet, which isn't as good as some rivals. At least the rear seats can fold completely flat. They can also recline. The odd-shaped rear pillars can hinder a driver's sight lines.
The Murano entered its second generation for the 2008 model year and is not expected to see any radical changes for a few years. Changes for 2012 include a Platinum option package and a seven-inch monochrome screen in the most basic trim.
The 2012 Nissan Murano comes in two flavors: a four-door, five passenger crossover or a two-door, four-passenger convertible crossover called the CrossCabriolet. The fixed-roof Murano is available in S, SV, SL and LE trims, while the CrossCabriolet is offered in a single trim level similar to the Murano LE.
Propulsion for both Murano models comes from a 3.5-liter V6 developing 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives either the front or all four wheels (though the CrossCabriolet is AWD only).
Generous equipment levels are found even in the S, such as climate control, tinted glass, keyless ignition, power accessories and 18-inch alloy wheels. The SV has a dual-panel moonroof, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, roof rails, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an iPod connection and satellite radio. The SL brings leather, heated front seats and steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors and an upgraded Bose sound system. The LE adds heated rear seats, 20-inch alloys and wood trim.
Navigation is optional, as is a new Platinum edition that includes navigation, 20-inch alloys, exclusive Sapphire Black paintwork and dedicated badging.
Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, six airbags, and ABS with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution.
EPA estimates for the 2012 Murano four-door are 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined for FWD models, 18/23/20 mpg with AWD. The CrossCabriolet returns 17/22/19 mpg.
When properly equipped, the 2012 Nissan Murano four-door can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Nissan does not list a tow-rating for the CrossCabriolet.
Total Car Score is not affiliated with, associated, authorized, or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected to any of the Expert Resources, nor does Total Car Score endorse any of the Expert Resources, or its affiliates.
Click here to see more.