Crossover & Midsize

Nissan Only Had 1 2021 SUV Earn Consumer Reports Recommendation So Far

Nissan makes plenty of capable cars, but they often fail to outshine rivals. Common complaints from owners include aging interiors, clumsy handling, and a lack of agility. Though not the most popular in the midsize SUV segment, the Nissan Murano is one of the automaker’s better cars.

In fact, the Murano was the only Nissan SUV to earn a Consumer Reports recommendation. What makes the Nissan Murano better than its underachieving siblings?

Underwhelming Nissan SUVs according to Consumer Reports

The Nissan Rogue Sport is a slightly smaller version of the automaker’s popular compact SUV. While Nissan markets it as a more athletic model, it hasn’t impressed experts such as those at Consumer Reports. Despite its balanced ride, it lacks adequate steering feedback and struggles to accelerate under heavy throttle.

Though the interior looks comfortable, CR’s testers didn’t like the overall quality and felt cramped in the second row. It also earned below-average predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores.

The Nissan Armada also isn’t very reliable and occupies the bottom of CR’s large SUV ratings. Testers appreciated the Armada V8’s smooth performance and quiet, upscale interior. However, the engine guzzles fuel — it’s rated for only 14/19 mpg city/highway. But during real-world driving, testers got 10 mpg in the city.

The Nissan Armada doesn’t redeem itself with its cumbersome handling and shaky ride quality either. It has a larger center touchscreen for the 2021 model year, but the system itself still isn’t very user-friendly. 

According to Consumer Reports, the least reliable Nissan SUV is the Pathfinder. Though it gets slightly better gas mileage than the Armada, it’s slower and somehow handles worse despite its smaller stature. The seats also aren’t very supportive, and visibility is limited at the rear.

Why Consumer Reports likes the Nissan Murano

RELATED: There’s No Reason to Buy a 2022 Nissan Rogue Over the Pathfinder and Murano

Like other Nissan SUVs, the Murano’s handling isn’t terribly engaging. However, its 260-hp V6 still offers plenty of power for daily driving, and it has a steady ride quality. It’s also more fuel-efficient than most Nissan SUVs, getting 21 mpg combined city/highway in real-world driving.

Its swoopy exterior angles are a unique touch, but CR cautions that they can hamper visibility through the back windshield. CR testers found the cabin on par with luxury competitors. It boasts padded surfaces and a unique brushed-silver trim instead of faux wood on the dash.

Both the cloth and leather seats provide riders with plenty of support and generous legroom. The infotainment system is intuitive, though other critics say the graphics could use an update. Still, CR appreciates all the standard safety tech, including automatic emergency braking.

The brand’s SUVs that CR has yet to test

Nissan’s most popular SUV, the Rogue, usually scores well overall from Consumer Reports. The automaker also fully redesigned this model for 2021, so it might improve upon some of its flaws. In particular, CR usually gives the Rogue a hard time for its loud engine and uninspiring handling.

Another SUV set to receive a complete redesign is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. It’ll sport a brand-new exterior, an automatic transmission, and several new technology features. CR will probably test the revamped Pathfinder closer to its summer release date.

The 2022 Nissan Ariya EV is also set for release later this year. The Ariya will reportedly boast around 300 miles of all-electric range and offer all-wheel drive. Only time will tell if Consumer Reports will recommend it as highly as the Murano or Rogue.