$9,550 - $16,419

2012 Nissan Murano Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Nissan Murano was new.


Performance: 8.1

The Nissan Murano features a powertrain that reviewers love and ride and handling that they say the competition just can’t match. Though the CrossCabriolet doesn’t drive nearly as well as other convertibles, testers say it drives almost as well as the hardtop Murano, which is a good thing.

  • “We probably would have hailed the CrossCabrio for its structural integrity 10 or so years ago, but compared to other new convertibles, this Nissan's structure seems a little flaccid. Nevertheless, it is incredibly fun to drive around in such an extravagantly unique convertible.” -- Edmunds
  • "A tall wagon, the Murano offers good acceleration and sporty handling in a luxurious and quiet cabin. The ride is a little firm for a luxury crossover.” -- Car and Driver
  • “During our week with the Murano CrossCabriolet, we managed to cruise on a variety of roads ranging from highways, to backroads, city streets and dirt roads. Throughout, we found the CrossCab to be a willing performer, and one that was capable of handling all road challenges we tossed its way.” -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

Almost every reviewer praises the Nissan Murano's 3.5-liter, 260-horsepower V6 engine. Most also like its standard all-wheel drive and its continuously variable transmission, which is designed to optimize engine speed to achieve better fuel economy than a traditional automatic transmission. The CrossCabriolet includes the same engine, though it’s been tuned to produce an extra five horsepower and eight more pound-feet of torque.

According to the EPA, in front-wheel drive, the hardtop Murano gets 18/24 mpg city/highway, which is not bad for a midsize SUV. The all-wheel drive hardtop Murano gets 18/23 mpg. Due to its extra weight and standard all-wheel drive, the Murano CrossCabriolet nets 17/22 mpg, which is about average for an all-wheel drive SUV.

  • "One of the quicker 6-cylinder midsize SUVs, Murano has few peers for smooth throttle response around town and in hilly terrain. Credit the CVT, which seamlessly transfers power without the gear-selection dithers or downshift delays of some conventional automatic transmissions.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the road, the … Nissan Murano's torque-laden V6 engine made driving uphill seem nearly effortless, and the CVT transmission kept the vehicle at the correct RPM for the incline's duration.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “Acceleration is smooth (if anemic), and the CVT works innocuously in the background, just the way we like them to.” -- Popular Mechanics (CrossCabriolet)
  • “The CrossCabriolet floats along as smoothly as Aladdin’s magic rug, with the 3.5-liter V-6 offering plenty of grunt to hustle away from stoplights or dart out of the parking lots belonging to Malibu’s high-end seaside eateries. Enthusiasts will certainly wish for a different transmission, but the CVT provides smooth propulsion in nearly all circumstances.” -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the traditional model of the 2012 Nissan Murano is one of the best-handling SUVs in the class. They say it’s composed through turns and doesn’t have as much body lean as other SUVs do.

However, reviewers say that the Murano CrossCabriolet’s handling isn’t quite as good. While it’s still fair for an SUV, some reviewers compare it with other convertibles, and in these comparisons, it looks worse. They say that the cabin vibrates over rough pavement and the CrossCabriolet’s higher center of gravity detracts from its handling.

  • “And while the CrossCabriolet looks wildly different, it handles much like a conventional Murano, with commendable body control and steering that's well weighted. Plus, a decent amount of information from the tires is transmitted to the driver's hands. Still, compared to just about any convertible car, the CrossCabriolet feels like a lumbering pachyderm around corners.” -- Edmunds
  • "The ride is well controlled and is abrupt only on sharp potholes and badly broken pavement. Murano is reassuringly stable in highway-speed cruising. There is little discernible difference in ride quality among models, except the CrossCabriolet. The convertible feels less composed than its siblings due to the noticeable amount of body flex it exhibits over bumps.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "With its frightful lack of grip, pronounced body lean, and uncommunicative steering—the latter a problem shared with the five-door version—the CrossCabriolet’s twisty-road fun factor ranks somewhere between a moving van and an Amphicar." -- Car and Driver

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