The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: State of the Midsize SUV

2013 Midsize SUV Challenge Overview

A lot has changed in the midsize SUV segment in the last 10 years. What once was a class dominated by truck-based models has given way almost entirely to car-based versions with a high seating position and styling that helped make SUVs popular, but offer improved ride and handling, fuel economy and interior space.

The class took a hit to its popularity around the first time gas prices reached $4 a gallon, but lately sales have been roaring back. Jeep's Grand Cherokee is Chrysler's second-best-selling vehicle this year after the Ram 1500 pickup truck, and it's a reason the joint venture with Fiat is booming. Ford's Edge, while not as successful as sister SUVs Explorer and Escape, still outsells Ford's largest and smallest cars, the Taurus and Fiesta.

By Mike Hanley | July 8, 2013 | Comments (11) Reviews the 2013 Nissan Murano

Nissan's midsize crossover has a comfortable ride and a quality interior, but time is catching up with it, says reviewer Joe Bruzek. The Murano just isn't competitive anymore. After five stagnant years, plenty of other contenders in the midsize crossover class offer higher fuel economy, more comfort and convenience innovations, and better value.

Click here to read how the Murano fared against several competitors in's $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge.

2013 Nissan Murano Review

<p>Nissan's midsize crossover has a comfortable ride and a quality interior, but time is catching up with it, says reviewer Joe Bruzek. The Murano just isn't competitive anymore. After five stagnant years, plenty other contenders in the midsize crossover class offer higher fuel economy, more comfort and convenience innovations, and better value.</p>

<p>Click here to read how the Murano fared against several competitors in's $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge. </p>

<p>2013 Nissan Murano Review</p>
By Jennifer Geiger | July 8, 2013 | Comments (4)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Cargo


Any of the six vehicles we tested for the $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge can swallow a generous dose of Little League equipment, potting soil, groceries or whatever you can imagine in the cargo area. When shopping for an SUV, it's important to remember that a big exterior doesn't mean it will have a huge cargo area.

The 2013 Nissan Murano is the longest of the bunch, yet it has the smallest cargo area. To drive that point further, the 2014 Kia Sorento is the second shortest but has the largest cargo area compared to the Murano, 2013 Ford Edge, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and 2013 Toyota Venza.

By David Thomas | July 7, 2013 | Comments (2)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Mileage Results


Midsize SUVs aren't known as the most fuel-efficient vehicles. The six SUVs we tested for's latest comparison have technological advancements that make these five-passenger family haulers far more efficient than the previous generations. Features like an eight-speed automatic transmission, Eco driving modes and a turbocharged four-cylinder are sprinkled throughout the field.

We tested the 2013 Ford Edge, 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2014 Kia Sorento, 2013 Nissan Murano and 2013 Toyota Venza.

Each manufacturer fielded its own vehicle and chose the drive type and engine to be evaluated for our comparison. The result was a mix of front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive SUVs. The Santa Fe Sport (20/27 mpg city/highway) went with front-wheel drive along with the Edge (19/27 mpg); the Grand Cherokee (17/25) was rear-wheel drive, and the Sorento (18/24), Venza (18/25) and Murano (18/23) were equipped with all-wheel drive.

We put these SUVs to the test on a 200-plus-mile driving loop in the Chicago suburbs to evaluate their gas mileage in as equal conditions as possible: same day, same time and same route with six legs to swap drivers to equalize weight and driving styles. How'd they do?

By Joe Bruzek | July 7, 2013 | Comments (1)

The $38,000 Midsize SUV Challenge: Results

Midsize SUV Challenge

A quick look again at our judges:

  • Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for
  • Joe Bruzek, editor and car reviewer for
  • Mike Hanley, editor and car reviewer for
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today
  • Ben Davis, producer for PBS' "MotorWeek"
  • Brian and Melissa Brown, our family judges for this Challenge

Here's how the score broke down: The experts' scores account for 75% of the total score; 15% from the family's scores; and 10% was based on fuel economy. To help you make your own comparisons of these SUVs, we've pulled together a list of what you get for $38,000.

By Patrick Olsen | July 7, 2013 | Comments (14)

Nissan Slashes Prices Across Lineup

Nissan is hoping to bolster sales by cutting prices on seven out of the 18 vehicles in its lineup. Starting May 3, prices on model-year 2013 Altima, Sentra, Juke, Murano, Rogue, Maxima and Armada vehicles will decrease by 2.7% to 10.7%, depending on the car.

The sticker reductions vary by model and, in some cases, trim level and will be applied to new vehicles, including those already in dealer inventory. At the low end of the spectrum, new Altimas, for example, could cost up to $580 less; a base 2013 Altima currently starts at $22,550, including destination. At the top end, the Armada's price tag could go down by as much as $4,400; Nissan’s full-size SUV currently starts at $42,285, including destination.

Why were these seven chosen? They make up around 65% of Nissan's U.S. sales volume, the automaker reported, and Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman told that the lower prices will help the vehicles perform better when searched online, appearing more frequently and favorably against the competition.  

"While studying our market position against key competitors, there was an opportunity to increase buying consideration for those seven models by bringing MSRP more in line with transaction price," he said.

More Nissan News
Research the Nissan Altima
Research the Nissan Sentra

By Jennifer Geiger | May 1, 2013 | Comments (1)

Nissan Resonance Concept: Photo Gallery


Nissan says designers of the Resonance were inspired by the "future allure of hypersonic travel," and though the hybrid crossover concept won't break the sound barrier, its influence likely will resonate in models to come. Showing off its sci-fi-friendly features along with fuel-economy-boosting airflow management, the Resonance — a possible precursor to the next-generation Murano — bows this week at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Everything about the Resonance looks ahead to the world of tomorrow. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mates with a hybrid electric drive system and Nissan's next-gen Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission. Although a 3-D holographic center console screen is unlikely to find its way to production, it sure is cool to see in the here-and-now.

Check out the gallery below for a further glimpse into the future.

By Matt Schmitz | January 16, 2013 | Comments (3)

Nissan Resonance Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Nissan resonance concept
  • Looks like: Nissan's most dramatic design since the Juke
  • Defining characteristics: Boomerang headlights, nifty 3-D center console screen
  • Ridiculous features: Nifty 3-D center console screen, 22-inch wheels
  • Chances of being mass-produced: Good chance this is the direction for the next Murano

Nissan's Murano has long been one of the more aggressively styled crossovers on the market, but it's time for a refresh. Along comes the Nissan Resonance concept at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More 2013 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Featuring what the company calls "V-Motion" styling, Nissan says its designers were inspired "by the future allure of hypersonic travel." The Resonance employs significant airflow management to boost its fuel economy, an important factor for this concept CUV because it's also a hybrid. But don't expect the stars to streak by your windshield.

By Aaron Bragman | January 15, 2013 | Comments (4)

2013 Honda Crosstour: First Look

  • Competes with: Toyota Venza, Subaru Outback,Nissan Murano
  • Looks like: A more-lovable-looking Crosstour with some Accord design influence
  • Drivetrain: New 3.5-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic
  • Hits dealerships: Tuesday,Nov. 20

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the 2013 Honda Crosstour production model is that there's so little distinction to be made between it and the concept version that debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Even then it was clear that this concept was only a concept, well, in concept.

Needless to say, there's not a lot to talk about in terms of brand-new features on the 2013 Crosstour, which goes on sale Tuesday — except that its base price of $27,230 is $525 less than it was in 2012 (Honda has not yet listed the car's destination fee).

Concept-car aesthetics that have made their way to the production model include more rugged exterior styling thanks to a redesigned front end and new grille. It also gets new bumper fog lights, front-diffuser designs and Accord-inspired exaggerated lower-front-intake flares. The rugged look is achieved with black composite plastic along the sill plates and front and rear bumper edges. Newly available paint colors include Kona Coffee Metallic and Mountain Air Metallic.

By Matt Schmitz | November 19, 2012 | Comments (8)

2013 Nissan Murano: What's Changed


  • Most significant changes: Newly available safety systems
  • Price change: None on base models, but small increases on other trims
  • On sale: Now
  • Which should you buy, 2012 or 2013? If Nissan's new safety features appeal, the 2013.

Just like the redesigned-for-2013 Altima sedan, the Murano gets a host of newly available safety features for 2013. Aside from the new optional equipment, Nissan's midsize crossover and its base price carry over unchanged; higher trim versions jump slightly in price. 

The Murano is again available in S, SV, SL and LE trims in two- and all-wheel drive. Newly optional on SL and LE versions is Nissan's Safety Shield technology. It includes several camera-based safety systems like Moving Object Detection, blind spot warning and lane departure warning systems. The Safety Shield features are part of the Navigation Package for SL models ($2,100) and Platinum Edition package for LE models ($2,350).

By Jennifer Geiger | November 19, 2012 | Comments (0)

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