Like all Nissans I have driven of late, the Murano shows the marque’s signature user-friendly character and emphasis on passenger comfort. The seats certainly won’t draw any complaints, nor the nice squishy arm rests. The large controls are easy to figure out and backlit “fine vision” gauges are wonderfully legible at all times. No peering into the binnacle with this ute.

2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum. Click image to enlarge

The Murano’s interior has a nice airy ambience, helped here by the double sunroof. Quality is good and I’ve always liked the Nissan/Infiniti big touchscreen with its angled panel of controls below. It’s so much easier to use than the full touchscreen systems like Ford’s MyTouch and Cadillac’s CUE. Kudos to the Bose audio, too.

Demerits include poor rearward visibility and an HVAC system that seemed slow to kick out the heat. You could take issue with the fake wood accents too, but I have seen a lot worse.

With this $44,098 LE model (before the $3,000 Platinum Package) you get a lot of kit. Along with the aforementioned sunroof, 20-inch alloys and xenon headlights, you get leather seating (heated front and back), rain sensing wipers, powered flip-up rear seats, powered liftgate, Bluetooth, Homelink, push-button start, 11-speaker Bose audio with Sirius and USB, rearview camera and heated steering wheel.

The $3,000 Platinum Package adds navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio, special finish wheels, DVD playback capability, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and moving object detection.

A handy feature was the cargo organizer under the load floor. The rear panel flips up vertically and triangular bits of netting create separate compartments that keep grocery bags and the like from sliding about.

Levers on the side of the cargo area make flipping down the 60/40 split rear seat a breeze and the cargo area is broad and flat, although the load floor is high.

The 2013 Murano gets a Transport Canada rating of 11.5 L/100 km city and 8.5 L/100 km highway. My week of admittedly light pedaling with quite a bit of highway driving netted 12.4 L/100 km.

For comparison, the 240 hp and 270 lb-ft Ford Edge 2.0L EcoBoost claims 9.9 L/100 km city and 6.6 L/100 km highway, and in a test drive that ran the same time last year it retuned 10.4 L/100 km.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3.6L V6 is rated 13.0 L/100 km city and 8.8 L/100 highway, although a diesel version is on the way which promises considerably better mileage.

2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum. Click image to enlarge

Indeed, the Nissan Murano may not be the new kid on the block, but it is still a strong competitor in this segment. Factor in its good looks, quality interior and agile car-like demeanor, and you have a mid-size ute should be high on any buyer’s list.

Pricing: 2013 Nissan Murano LE
Base price (LE): $44,098
Optional equipment: Metallic paint $135; Platinum Package $3,000
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1750
Price as tested: $49,083

Ford Edge
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Toyota Venza
Volkswagen Touareg

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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