$11,021 - $19,791

2013 Nissan Murano Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Nissan Murano was new.


Performance: 8.1

Reviewers write that the 2013 Nissan Murano's standard V6 engine provides plenty of power for all driving situations. They even like its continuously variable transmission (CVT), which they say does a good job of delivering power to the wheels. However, they say that the regular Murano has very good handling, while the CrossCabriolet is much softer, with lots of body roll through turns. Fuel economy is on par with the class.

  • "It provides a good mix of ride comfort and handling poise, and the standard 3.5-liter V-6 has plenty of power." -- Cars.com
  • "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 (2012)
  • "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 (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Murano is powered exclusively by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower. In the CrossCabriolet, however, the engine is tuned to make 265 horsepower. Both models are equipped with a CVT. With front-wheel drive, the Murano averages an EPA-estimated 18/24 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class.

Nearly all reviewers say that the Murano feels fast, with ample power for all situations. Several even praise its CVT for its ability to help deliver ample power for passing or accelerating, which is a rare compliment for a CVT.

  • "The SUV's stout V6 easily tackles hills, and its CVT automatic transmission holds torque at peak levels until you let off the throttle." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A 3.5-liter V6 serves up 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, while one of the better CVTs (continuously variable transmission) metes out power smoothly to either the front wheels (the standard configuration) or all four wheels (with an optional AWD system)." -- Left Lane News
  • "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. In highway-speed passing situations, the CVT brings engine revs upster for more power, benefiting acceleration." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Murano was an early adopter of the continuously variable automatic transmission, and its pairing with Nissan's V-6 has arguably been the best CVT execution on the market. Even so, time has passed, and this time around we noticed some hesitation in accelerator response, especially from a standing start. It was consistent and predictable, which makes it a bit less troubling, and there's no shortage of conventional automatics that exhibit the same behavior, and often exhibit worse. Just be sure to pay attention to it if you go for a test drive." -- Cars.com
  • "Acceleration is smooth (if anemic), and the CVT works innocuously in the background, just the way we like them to." -- Popular Mechanics (CrossCabriolet, 2011)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the 2013 Murano and Murano CrossCabriolet have starkly different handling characteristics. The regular Murano, they say, handles very well for the class, with a tight suspension that enhances driving performance without sacrificing too much ride comfort. The CrossCabriolet, on the other hand, is not a good handler. Reviewers report lots of body lean through turns, and a suspension that is generally not set up for sporty handling. Both models get mostly good reviews for steering and braking, although one reviewer says that the steering in either model gives very little road feedback to the driver. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. AWD is standard on the CrossCabriolet. 

  • "The Murano's handling is among the best in its class. Steering and brake response are excellent, and a stiff suspension keeps this SUV planted with minimal body roll. On the flip side, that stiff suspension can translate to a rougher ride for occupants." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is predictable, while the ride is comfortable and well-insulated from road imperfections. A curiously named ‘dual-orifice,’ speed-sensitive steering system is responsive and accurate." -- Left Lane News
  • "The ride is well controlled and is abrupt only on sharp potholes and badly broken pavement. Murano is reassuringly stable in highway-speed cruising. … Testers are divided on steering feel; some cite accurate response and others find it too light in any situation. Overall balance is just OK, as Murano feels wallowy and ponderous in even light-duty cornering; the convertible even more so. The brakes offer sure stopping control with good pedal feel." -- 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 (2011)

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