Nissan has never been afraid of doing things differently. For those who are tired of driving the typical SUV, Nissan made the Murano – a beautifully sculpted crossover that has the performance and value Nissan buyers have come to expect. When compared to the Honda Pilot SUV, it’s no wonder buyers continue to choose Nissan.
The 2012 Nissan Murano (MSRP $29,960) is like little else on the road. While styling is subjective, it’s hard to deny that the Murano – with its emotional, curvaceous theme and bold front grille – far surpasses the bland, boxy look of the Honda Pilot. An AutoTrader review noted, “With its modern and stylish design, sporting personality and well-crafted interior, it is a breath of fresh air in a segment that now suffers from saturation of so many entries that resemble one another. The Murano, however, looks and feels anything but homogenized.” The Murano even offers a convertible body style, the stylish and capable Murano CrossCabriolet, something you can’t get from Honda.
When comparing the Nissan Murano SV and Honda Pilot EX, the most popular trims of each vehicle, there are apparent disparities between the two. First, the body structure of the Murano is made from a blend of composite and galvanized steel, a step up over the galvanized steel/aluminum frame found on the Pilot. The Murano SV comes standard with a dual-panel moonroof to let in the light, a roof rack, a power front passenger seat and a power liftgate. These are all features that the Pilot doesn’t offer in its list of standards. The Murano SV also comes standard with the Nissan Intelligent Key®
with Push Button Ignition, a seven-inch color display for climate, audio, fuel economy and maintenance systems and a RearView Monitor that takes the guesswork out of backing up. Such niceties are not available on the Pilot EX. As an extra touch of class, the Murano also comes standard with LED brake lights. No such luck with the Pilot, which also does not offer the heated rear seats that are available in the Murano.
The Nissan Murano is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 260 hp through an advanced Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission), noted for its sporty and smooth demeanor. The Pilot is also powered by a 3.5-liter V6 but produces a less powerful 250 hp through a more traditional five-speed automatic transmission. Even with more power, the Murano gets better overall combined fuel economy EPA-estimated at 21 mpg.
The Murano sits on a longer wheelbase, which helps it attain a smoother ride. With all seats up, the Murano dwarfs the cargo capabilities of the Pilot, offering 31.8 cubic feet of storage to the Pilot’s 18 cubic feet. There is also more front-row legroom in the Murano, as well.
The press agrees that the Murano is the better choice. U.S. News ranked it three spots ahead of the Pilot in the “Affordable Midsize SUV” category. Consumer Guide summed up its review of the Murano by saying, "Murano is a likable SUV that offers secure handling, a comfortable interior, versatile cargo utility, and a strong, refined powertrain. Experience the advantages of the 2012 Nissan Murano for yourself by taking a test drive.