Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Nissan Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum

When the Nissan Murano was introduced ten years ago, sporty and sharply styled SUVs were a rare commodity, and the term crossover had yet to be applied to the automotive sector – more for recording artists and tall broad-shouldered women with too much makeup and big feet.

But time marches on and, sometimes, old nameplates get pushed to the sidelines as new offerings snag the limelight.

So we thought it was time to revisit Nissan’s rakish five-seat mid-size SUV to see how it has withstood the test of time.

Quite nicely as it turns out.

This second-generation Murano has been with us since 2009, although a 2011 facelift bestowed revised front and rear fascias, new headlights and LED taillights. My top trim LE Platinum tester with its 20-inch alloys and new-for-2013 Midnight Garnet paint was quite a looker, helped out by the HID headlamps that added a sinister glare.

Yep, the Murano still carries its confident street cred.

Pricing starts at $34,498 for the base S model, although this LE Platinum rang in at $47,233 before freight – the most you can spend on a Murano.

The beauty of this Nissan, whether you go coach or first class, is that there are no powertrain choices to be made, for better or for worse. All Muranos are motivated by a 3.5L V6 that makes 260 hp and 240 lb-ft and mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Unlike Muranos south of the border, all Canadian models have AWD.

So unlike shopping for a Ford Edge or Jeep Grand Cherokee, option anxiety is greatly reduced. There will be no second-guessing after purchase. “My fuel bill is outrageous. Should I have gone for the four-cylinder?” or “Damn, this V6 sucks. Why didn’t I get the SRT8?” will never pass your lips.

Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum car test drives reviews nissan Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum car test drives reviews nissan Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan Murano LE Platinum. Click image to enlarge

The Murano’s drivetrain is refined, satisfying and provides spirited performance when prodded. This is certainly one of the better engine/CVT pairings on the market in that you are not subjected to excessive engine drone when putting your Sorel in it. Not surprising since Nissan has been championing and refining these cogless trannies for a long time.

On the slick wintry roads around my house, the AWD Murano (on proper snow tires) was secure, showing a front-drive bias that prevented any kind of potentially upsetting oversteer situation. There is also a 50:50 lock function for the AWD selectable by a rocker switch in front of the shifter.

The Murano will tow 1,588 kg (3,500 lb.).

Away from the slick stuff, this CUV feels light on its feet and nicely agile. Despite having good body control, the ride is not harsh. The only dynamic drawback is somewhat numb steering.

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