Having driven the Honda Crosstour and Toyota Venza recently, I hopped behind the wheel with a sense of what the Nissan Murano would feel like. All three have powerful V-6 engines, all-wheel-drive, interesting exterior styling, and all are priced in the mid $30,000 range.
Compared to the other cars, the Murano has a soft, but relaxing ride with lots of body roll. The CVT transmission will put you to sleep with its constant rpm drone; thankfully, the 3.5-liter V-6 is torquey enough to keep things entertaining. Of the three cars, the Murano would be my choice for a long road trip. The seats are comfy, it has good visibility, and its exterior styling doesn't start a bar fight.
During my weekend with the Murano I was able to haul a good amount of cargo, without folding the rear seats down. A trip to the local nursery had the rear hatch area packed with plants and flowers; I was impressed.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator