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2005 Nissan Murano Test Drive Review

Picture of 2005 Nissan Murano SL AWD

A comfortable cabin and impressive road manners set the Murano apart from other SUVs.

7.8 /10
Overall Score

SUVs are growing in popularity as the de facto family hauler. But not all buyers require three rows in their midsize SUV. For these shoppers, the 2005 Nissan Murano provides plenty of comfortable cabin space across two rows of seating. The Murano has a smooth ride and confident acceleration thanks to its standard V6 engine. There are few competitors going after this niche market, but they do exist and include the Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, and to a lesser extent, the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

The overall silhouette is that of a textbook SUV, but closer examination reveals some truly unique styling. The upright headlights and grid-pattern grille are futuristic design choices that help the Murano stand out in a crowd. The interior of the Murano is more conventional in its layout, but also provides some forward-thinking features. The digital display is larger than any trip computer, and when properly equipped, it can host a navigation system as well.

Trims for the Murano are S, SL, and SE. No matter the trim selected, cabin quality is top-notch. The fit-and-finish is outstanding and soft-touch materials are used throughout. The base S trim comes very well equipped, including 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, and power windows with one-touch up-down function.

Optional features on the Murano include a 10-way power driver’s seat, leather upholstery, power sunroof, memory seating, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and a 4-way power-adjustable front driver’s seat.


8/ 10

A 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the Murano. It generates 245 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque. This engine routes power to the front wheels (FWD) or available all-wheel drive (AWD) through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). As the name suggests, the CVT replaces conventional gears with components that simulate a wide range of gear ratios. You can’t hear any gear changes when accelerating, just the CVT finding the optimal range for acceleration. In all other driving situations, the CVT will find the optimal range for fuel economy.

There are concerns that the CVT can’t manage power well, but when properly equipped, the Murano can tow up to 4,000 pounds. Acceleration is strong and cornering is rather impressive for an SUV. The Murano's wide stance helps keep it planted during turn-in, and the suspension does a very good job soaking up bumps in the road. For the driving enthusiast out there, check out the SE trim. It has a firmer sport-tuned suspension and might be a bit harsh for some.

Form and Function

7/ 10

With just two rows of seats on its decent-sized footprint, the Murano has incredible cabin space. Every occupant enjoys ample head- and legroom. Even the rear seats recline, providing serious comfort over long trips. Behind that 60/40 split-fold rear bench, Nissan provides 32.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Dropping the backseat provides an impressive 81.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

Tech Level

8/ 10

The Murano comes standard with an AM/FM stereo with CD player. The SL and SE trims are available with a Premium Package. It adds a more powerful stereo with automatic volume control and a hard-pounding subwoofer. A DVD-based navigation system is optional and an available Touring Package adds pre-wiring for a backseat entertainment system.


8/ 10

Standard safety features on the Murano include four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution as well as active front head restraints. The Murano comes with a full complement of airbags, including dual-stage front airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, and front-seat side-impact airbags.

Auto leveling xenon headlights are optional on SL, standard on SE. A Dynamic Control Package adds features like tire pressure monitoring, traction control, and Vehicle Dynamic Control.


7/ 10

The FWD Murano returns fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 23 highway, 20 combined. The AWD version also returns 18 mpg city, 23 highway, 20 combined. Apparently drive wheels do not impact fuel economy in this case.

The 2005 Nissan Murano starts at $27,150 for a FWD S trim. AWD brings that price to $28,750. A mid-range SL starts at $28,650. An SE trim starts at $29,600, and an SE AWD trim costs $31,200.


From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine,, Hemmings Classic Wheels,, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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2005 Nissan Murano Top Comparisons

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Nissan Murano Questions

My Murano Hesitates While Accelerating.

I have a 05 nissan murano that i recently did an engine swap. After doing the engine swap i realized that while driving the car would begin to hesitate or lose power while accelerating. At first it wo...

Murano With 193,000 Miles

I was wondering about mileage ,is it worth it when the Nissan has this many miles

Turn Off Murano Alarm Without FOB Remote

I do not the remote for the car. Sometimes when I open the door with the key the alarm starts. How do I turn it off?

How Do Set The Trip Odometer


My Car Alarm Goes Off Randomly 11 Times Last Night.

Where EXACTLY is the fuse for this or how do I fix it. Nissan can't fix it.