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Nissan’s Murano Platinum AWD – As Nissan moves forward, we take a look back

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Nissan’s Murano Platinum AWD – As Nissan moves forward, we take a look back

Nissan’s Murano Platinum AWD – 

As Nissan moves forward, we take a look back


Most car buyers look at the newest models on the market and naturally believe those models should be at the top of their shopping list.  It’s an obvious notion, one that seems to be the right move, especially since those models are splashed across all of our screens. Besides, who doesn’t want to be driving one of the newest models and be the envy of your neighbors?

When new car shoppers ask me what I recommend, I often tell them to check out cars that have been around for a few years. My thinking? Once a vehicle has been on the market for a while, the carmaker has the opportunity to work out any kinks that might only appear once the car gets out into the marketplace. Vehicles that have experienced a major refresh (as opposed to a complete redesign) have often had more than just their front and rear fascias restyled; they’ve enjoyed updates and enhancements to powertrain and technology. And the customer is offered a better vehicle, although one that is no longer the newest kid on the block.

One such vehicle is the Nissan Murano, now in its third generation, which hit dealerships in the 2014 model year and underwent an exterior design refresh for the 2019 model year. Recently I drove a Boulder Grey Pearl 2021 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD that carried a $49,380 MSRP price tag, right at the top of the Murano food chain.  (A base Murano comes with the much more affordable price point of $32,610.) The only powertrain available is a 260 hp, 3.5 liter V6 engine mated to a continuous variable transmission (CVT).  EPA estimated fuel economy ratings are pretty typical, delivering an EPA estimated 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. 

The exterior of the Murano benefited from the 2019 refresh with a more angular appearance. The interior of the Platinum trim takes some cues from Nissan’s Infiniti, with the inclusion of diamond stitching in the leather seats.  And Nissan’s latest safety technology, the advanced Nissan Safety Shield 360 system, comes standard on all Murano trims.  With new car shoppers eager for the latest safety tech, that’s a big bonus for Murano buyers.

The engine under the hood of the Murano is the naturally-aspirated VQ series 3.5 liter V6, which has been thoroughly tested through the years.  While refined and retuned, the bones of the engine are still strong, and this powerplant consistently makes it on to Ward’s 10 Best Engines list almost every year.  At a time when almost everything is turbocharged or wired for hybrid, there’s a lot to be said for the simplicity of a naturally-aspirated V6.

So there you have it. The 2021 Murano looks great, is loaded with all the newest safety tech, and provides a refined a powertrain that has earned a reputation for reliability.  It may not be the newest thing on your block (look online to check dealer inventory), but offers – if you were to ask me! – a winning combination. 

Steve is a veteran automotive journalist and former head of Ford Public Relations in its South Central region. He’s a native New Yorker who fell in love with a Texan (and Texas) over 20 years ago. Steve’s been living here happily ever since. His current automotive ‘want’ is an early 3-Series convertible, while his daily driver is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma.

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