The Nissan Murano has been a popular crossover SUV for families and daily drivers. With its car-like handling, spacious interior, and fuel efficiency, it’s easy to see why the Murano sells so well. However, regarding recreational towing, the Murano falls short compared to truck-based SUVs. With a maximum tow rating of just 1,500 pounds, the Murano’s capacity is lower than most competitors in its SUV range.
In this article, we’ll closely examine why the Murano struggles when towing. We’ll explore the engineering priorities and trade-offs made by Nissan that result in the Murano’s limited towing abilities.
We’ll also compare the Murano’s tow rating and capacity to some of its crossover SUV peers. While the Murano may not be an ideal tow vehicle, understanding the engineering decisions behind its low tow rating can give buyers a better sense of what this vehicle does best.
Table of Contents
Details On Nissan Murano’s Low Towing Capacity
- The Murano uses a car-based unibody construction rather than a truck-based body-on-frame design. Unibody vehicles are lighter, more fuel efficient, and have better on-road handling. But they sacrifice towing and hauling ability compared to larger truck platforms.
- It is front-wheel drive biased. FWD is better for driving dynamics, traction, and inclement weather handling. But RWD or AWD vehicles can better handle the weight of a trailer. The Murano’s that are available with AWD systems are intended more for moderate slip rather than heavy loads.
- Even though this vehicle has a continuously variable transmission, it is not capable of towing larger loads. This is because it lacks the torque multiplication of a traditional geared transmission. This limits the Murano’s low-end torque when accelerating while towing.
- The base 3.5L V6 engine, while potent for a crossover, it does not produce an abundance of torque that is ideal for towing heavy loads. Upgrading to a more significant displacement or turbocharged engine could improve the towing capacity.
- The rear suspension uses an independent multi-link design. This improves ride comfort and handling over bumps. But a solid rear axle setup in truck platforms is better suited to handle heavy trailer tongues.
- Sway control and trailer brake integration are not available in this vehicle. These advanced features can help stabilize trailers compared to relying on the tow vehicle’s brakes alone.
- Body and frame components are designed primarily for unloaded operation rather than towing stresses. Components like the hitch assembly, cooling system, and electrical architecture are suitable for light-duty towing but not when it comes to extreme loads.
Nissan Manufacturer’s Opinion
- Nissan positions the Murano as a family/comfort vehicle; it is not in the market as a towing vehicle. Towing capability is a lower priority than ride quality, interior spaciousness, fuel efficiency, and driving dynamics, according to the Nissan Murano’s manufacturers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Is Nissan Murano’s Towing Capacity So Low
Q: What is the Nissan Murano’s towing rate capacity to some of its crossover SUV peers?
- Nissan Murano: 1,500 lbs
- Toyota Highlander: 5,000 lbs
- Honda Pilot: 5,000 lbs
- Ford Edge: 3,500 lbs
- Hyundai Santa Fe: 3,500 lbs
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: 6,200 lbs
- Subaru Outback: 2,700 lbs
Q: Can I still tow a small trailer or pop-up camper with the Murano?
A: Lightweight trailers or campers under 1,500 pounds should tow reasonably well within the Murano’s limits. But more significantly, heavier trailers will strain the engine and chassis.
Q: Does adding the available 20-inch wheels helps to improve the towing capacity?
A: No, the max 1,500 lb tow rating holds regardless of wheel size. The larger wheels reduce capacity slightly due to increased weight.