What Are The Best Years For The Nissan Murano? (Revealed!)


Best Years For The Nissan Murano

When the Nissan Murano came out, it surprised the world. Not only it had sleek looks, but its powerful engine and handling set it apart from the competition. Back in 2003, when it made its debut, the Murano was one of the first genuinely sporty SUVs. Throughout the years, more fast SUVs appeared, but this SUV still catches the eye of buyers. So, what are the best years for the Nissan Murano? Let’s find out in this article.

What are the best years for the Nissan Murano?

The best years for the Nissan Murano are from 2010 to 2014 and from 2017 to 2020. This is because the vehicles in those years have the least amount of issues and higher ratings.

The 2013 Murano has high ratings in JD Power. Plus, it has a low number of complaints on Car Complaints. It’s common for the last generation model (2013, in this case) to have the least amount of issues. So, these are worth considering.

We’re talking about the second and third generations. As for the first, some model years are worth highlighting, but they’re not as reliable. So, as usual, we’ll cover the best years from each generation.

Before we do that, we must mention some of the general issues the Murano has had. When it came out, the Murano was the largest SUV to have a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Along with the powerful V6 engine and optional All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), the Murano was one of the best-handling SUVs in the market. It even won the Motorist Choice by AutoPacific Magazine in 2007.

The problem the Murano has faced is that CVTs aren’t the most reliable transmissions out there. Sure, they are smooth, and you don’t even notice them shifting, but CVTs are prone to premature wear.

Especially in the Murano’s case, the vehicle’s weight made the transmission work extra hard. As we’ll see later, this translated to acceleration problems.

Plus, finding a mechanic that’s willing and able to fix CVTs is hard. So, as you will see, this is a predominant issue in the Murano. But, having said that, let’s explain which are the best Muranos from each generation.

Best years for the first-generation Nissan Murano (2003-2007)

The best years to buy a first-generation Nissan Murano are 2006 and 2007. These have the least CVT issues. Plus, they come with a redesigned exterior and improved interior features. The 3.5L V6 gives plenty of power, so you won’t be lagging in this department. There’s only one transmission and powerplant choice, so the only critical decision is on FWD or AWD.

To exploit the Murano’s potential, you should opt for the AWD version. This will give you excellent handling and make such a heavy SUV safer in the corners.

Best years for the second-generation Nissan Murano (2009-2013)

The best years to buy a second-generation Nissan Murano are 2012 and 2013. These are the most reliable years, with fewer problems and higher ratings in magazines like Consumer Reports and JD Power. By the way, no, that’s no typo. Nissan did skip the 2008 model.

The second generation also brought a sleeker design that corresponded with Nissan’s new identity. The Murano’s front fascia can be polarizing, especially after 2011, but it has its appeal.

With the second generation, Nissan went a bit creative and launched a cabriolet version. This quirky-looking SUV was the world’s first “AWD crossover convertible.” But, it was only available from 2011 to 2014.

We can’t recommend the cabriolet version. It has low ratings, and many users complained about the lack of space in the back. Still, if you want to own a world’s first, now you know what to buy.

The powerplant and transmission remained the same, so the only choice was either FWD or AWD. Naturally, the best option is the AWD LE trim, as it comes with a fully-equipped interior and better handling.

Best years for the third-generation Nissan Murano (2014-2021)

The third generation increased its reliability and consumer perception. Plus, its new design, with curvier looks and a sportier presence, was a welcome change.

The best years for the third-generation Nissan Murano are from 2017 to 2020. The 2020 model has the highest ratings of any of the years ever produced. It also came with many safety and infotainment features, earning awards for the best interior. In addition, it’s one of the more complete SUVs that Nissan offers.

Again, there’s only one powerplant and transmission option. So, we recommend that you look for those with AWD and the premium trim line. So you should choose the 2019 and 2020 models.

Though the Nissan Murano is a good SUV that can compete with most out there, it’s not perfect. Therefore, you should avoid some models, and we’ll explain them in detail in the following section.

Best Years For The Nissan Murano

What are the worst years for the Nissan Murano?

In this article, we explained the Murano’s issues with the CVT. So, we’ll detail this and other problems this SUV has. Plus, we’ll recommend some of the years to avoid. Let’s start with the first generation.

Worst years for the first-generation Nissan Murano (2003-2007)

The year that you should avoid is 2004. This is because it has the highest number of issues, which can be very serious.

The most frequent problem in the 2004 Nissan Murano concerns the door handle. Now, this might seem like a minor issue, but it’s more severe than some might think. First of all, the door handle broke in vehicles that had low mileage. On average, Murano owners saw this issue happen at about 83,000 miles.

The problem got so bad that Nissan had to issue a recall. So, don’t be afraid to ask the seller: “have you replaced the door handle?” If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they might not have addressed this issue.

It doesn’t end there. The 2004 Nissan Murano also has extreme rust issues and excessive oil consumption. In addition, gaskets are prone to failure, so it’s best to perform a thorough inspection before buying them. You can also lift the SUV and check for leaks.

As it’s usual with the Murano, the first generation shows problems with the CVT. As a result, users have had to replace the transmission at about 100,000 miles, costing upwards of $2,500.

Worst years for the second-generation Nissan Murano (2009-2013)

The worst year for the second-generation Nissan Murano is 2009. This year has shown the most issues of all years, plus the problems can be severe.

There are two main aspects that you should look out for: brakes and transmission. Let’s start with brakes.

The 2009 Nissan Murano has shown to have a soft brake pedal, giving an uncertain braking experience. Most complaints happen at around 94,000 miles and have costs of $2,400 upwards. Unfortunately, the cause for the problem isn’t clear. Sometimes, it’s the master cylinder, and, on other occasions, it’s the ABS sensor.

The other important issue is, again, about the transmission. Users have noticed a jerking motion when they accelerate from a complete stop. Though this problem happens at high mileage (around 130,000), it’s severe and can lead to accidents.

These issues can lead to expensive repairs. So, if you’re looking to buy a second-generation Murano, it’s best to avoid the 2009 model.

Worst years for the third-generation Nissan Murano (2013-2021)

Like we mentioned before, the third-generation Murano is more reliable than its predecessors. Unfortunately, the most troublesome year is 2015, where it, again, suffers from CVT problems. In fact, the issues are like those that we explained in the second generation. There’s constant jerking and hampered acceleration.

Unfortunately, the problems seem to occur at low mileage, with some users reporting atypical acceleration at 10,000 miles. Most repairs run under warranty but used vehicles might not have coverage.

When looking at a third-generation Murano, ask for service history and have a trusty mechanic check for signs of damage. Then, go for a test drive and pay particular attention to acceleration. Most importantly, it’s best not to consider 2015 Muranos as an option.

2021 Nissan Murano Interior Photo - What are the worst years for the Nissan Murano?

Closing thoughts

The Nissan Murano is a powerful mid-size SUV with excellent handling and plenty of interior features lately. So, a lot of people wonder what the best years for the Nissan Murano are. In this article, we not only look to answer this question. We also provide you with some of the possible issues the Murano can have.

The best years to buy a Nissan Murano are from 2010 to 2014 and from 2017 to 2020. The 2013 Murano is one of the best out there. AS well, the latest models have improved reliability ratings and fewer issues.

When it comes to problems, most revolve around the CVT. While the CVT feels excellent, it’s also prone to issues. The Nissan Murano is no exception.

So, if you’re looking to buy one of these, be sure to check the vehicle’s acceleration. Also, have a mechanic inspect the underside for leaks from both the transmission and engine.

CVTs are transmissions that are more complex and prone to issues. So, this might not be a problem exclusive to Nissan. Yet, as we’ve covered other models from this brand, we’ve noticed that it’s a weak point for the Japanese company.

The frequency with which the problems appear has gone down. So perhaps the company is finally addressing the issue with more detail.

But, for the moment, if you’re buying a Nissan Murano, it’s a great-handling SUV with good power and prone to an issue that can set you back big bucks. So, keep that in mind when looking at one. For the moment, happy motoring!

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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