2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Driving the 2017 Nissan Murano is like driving a premium luxury car without the premium luxury price tag. The interior is superb, the V6 engine provides plenty of spunk and the technology is sophisticated. If you are in the market for a mid-size SUV, the Murano should absolutely be on your test drive list.

Murano sales have been strong since the third-generation model was introduced in 2015. New for the 2017 model year is the availability of Apple CarPlay and a driver attention alert system.

The new Murano is offered in four grades: S, SV, SL and Platinum, which was our test car for the week. Even this top of the line Murano, loaded with 20-inch wheels and lots of other available options, had an out-the-door price of less than $45-grand, including freight.

The Murano S in FWD starts at $29,740, the SV starts at $32,800, the SL starts at $37,130 and the Platinum starts at $39,180. AWD is available for each model and costs $1,600 more. If you have the money, my advice is to spring for the safety of AWD.

The Murano’s strongest asset is between its five doors. The cabin of our test car was exquisite with leather seats and very nice detailing. Nissan touts its car seats as “zero gravity” and says the Murano has an upscale “social lounge interior.” Soft touch materials are in all the right places and the panoramic sun roof spans back over row two.

The audio and navigation systems on the center stack have just 10 buttons combined, making these systems intuitive and easy to use. Other interior features include dual-zone air, pushbutton start, a heated steering wheel with controls, power folding rear seats and remote start.

The 192.8-inch-long Murano has a very generous 39.9 inches of headroom in the front seats (38.1 inches with the sun roof). Legroom in row two is 38.7 inches. With the second row upright, cargo space is 32.1 cubic feet. With row two folded flat, cargo space expands to 67 cubic feet.

The 2017 Murano also offers features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safer. Up to four cameras and three radar sensors give the driver input, including: Blind Spot Warning, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Rear Cross Traffic Alert 3, which can help warn the driver about vehicles approaching from either side while backing up.

And parking a Murano is made much simpler with the available Around View Monitor with moving object detection. The system gives the driver a bird’s-eye view 360 degrees around the vehicle. The company introduced the system years ago, and now many manufacturers are following suit.

Driver Attention Alert 2, which helps alert the driver when inattentive driving is detected, is standard on SL and Platinum grades. For 2017, it will also be available as part of the SV’s Driver Assistance Package. The system provides an audible and visual warning if the driver’s steering inputs indicate he or she may not be paying attention to the road.

Powering the 2017 Murano is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is an Xtronic CVT. This powertrain isn’t what you’d call overpowering, but it has what you need for the 4,017-pound AWD Murano Platinum.

On the road, the 2017 Murano handles well and has scant body roll in hard cornering. The steering feel was a little light for my taste, but it was precise and on center.

Since we’re between model years, the 2017 Murano has not yet been safety tested by the Insurance Industry. But the government gives the 2017 Murano a Five-Star safety rating. The 2016 Murano was a “Top Safety Pick +” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and I’d expect that to be the same for the 2017 model.

2017 Nissan Murano Platinum AWD

Engine:

3.5-liter V6

Horsepower/Torque:

260/240 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

Continuously Variable

Base price:

$40,780 ($44,165 as tested including freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

532 miles