It's What's Inside That Counts: The 2020 Nissan Murano Platinum FWD

Let's just address the elephant in the room right off the top. Nissan's current design language is...controversial. Apart from the Titan pickup and maybe the new Versa and Sentra, the entire lineup is filled with curves, creases and bulges that seem to defy current automotive styling trends.

It's not the first time Nissan has marched to its own drummer when it comes to looks---the original Nissan Leaf and the 1977 Datsun F-10 come to mind---but there are signs that a change could be coming. The new Nissan Z Proto concept car, which is rumored to be essentially the 2022 Z, shows that Nissan's stylists are still capable of an exciting design without going full sci-fi.

Meantime, Nissan's gotta move what's in the showroom now, and I'm pleased to announce that the 2020 Murano is, on the inside, a very fine five-seat SUV.

I'm not a big fan of the current black wheel trend, but putting them on the current Murano in Gun Metallic makes the Murano look kinda sinister.

All Muranos get the same engine---Nissan's venerable 3.5-liter V6. 260 horsepower, 240-pounds per feet of torque. Zero to sixty is 7.3 seconds. The transmission is a continuously-variable unit. Fuel economy is on par for the segment at 20 miles per gallon city, 28 highway.

The interior is absolutely the Murano's strong suit---with materials and extra touches that bump right up against Infiniti, Nissan's luxury brand. The similar-in-size Infiniti QX50 we reviewed in March on the old TireKicker site has a starting price for its top-of-the-line Autograph model that's almost $12,000 more than the top-tier Murano. To get that close at this price point is remarkable.

The base price of the 2020 Nissan Murano Platinum FWD is $43,370. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the standard features at that price are semi-aniline leather-appointed seats with diamond-quilted inserts, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system including dual subwoofer, navigation, four USB ports and a power panoramic moonroof.

Our tester also had extra-cost optional equipment, including splash guards ($185), carpeted floor mats and cargo mat ($250), interior accent lighting ($300), exterior accent lighting ($395) and the aforementioned 20-inch Satin Black alloy wheels ($1,730).

With $1,095 destination charges, the as-tested price of the 2020 Nissan Murano Platinum FWD is $47,685. And that is a bargain price for what really is a near-luxury SUV from a mass-market brand.

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