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Nissan began selling the Murano as part of the 2002 model year. This new midsize crossover SUV became the largest SUV in the Nissan lineup utilizing the 3.5-liter V6 engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Over the years, some owners have reported Nissan Murano transmission problems, but is this a continuous theme for this Nissan SUV? Let’s find out.

How is a CVT different from a traditional transmission?

Blue 2023 Nissan Murano Midsize SUV - are there transmission problems with this Nissan SUV
2023 Nissan Murano | Nissan

Typical manual and automatic transmissions have a set number of gears that change with the engine revolutions to allow vehicles to shift and accelerate or decelerate smoothly. If you turn off your radio, you can hear the gear changes or make them yourself with a manual transmission.

A CVT does things differently. There aren’t any gears to change. Instead, this transmission smoothly continues to vary the settings to optimize efficiency with speed. CVTs make vehicles more fuel-efficient but have been mired with issues, mostly due to poorly designed models when first developed.

What are the most common Nissan Murano Transmission Problems?

The Nissan Murano’s CVT is mostly dependable and useful but can become problematic with little or no warning. Vehicle History tells us some of the most common problems Murano owners face with the transmission are:

  • Sudden forward surge
  • Poor gear engagement
  • Shudders at low RPM
  • A leak from the transfer case

Early versions of this Nissan SUV are known to experience transmission failure around the 160,000-mile mark. Some have reported failure sooner than this, but this is when Vehicle History tells us the CVT tends to fail in the 2003 Nissan Murano.

Is CVT failure common in the Murano?

Red 2023 Nissan Murano Midsize SUV
2023 Nissan Murano | Nissan

The most common problems reported by RepairPal do not show any issues with the Nissan Murano’s CVT. This data dates to the very first model year of this Nissan SUV, with the most common problems reported being:

  • Failing engine mounts cause thumping in the floor
  • Damaged seat adjuster assembly callusing noise and a rocking movement
  • The air intake tube on the air cleaner box may become loose

Additionally, among the 24 recalls during the more than two decades of the Murano, none are for the CVT.

Has Nissan updated the CVT to make it more reliable in the Murano?

Although the CVT hasn’t been proven to be an unreliable part of this Nissan midsize SUV, the Murano received updates to the CVT in 2019. This was part of a mid-cycle refresh for the current Murano generation, dating back to the 2015 model year.

The 2019 updates to the CVT included better software to address issues with the transmission and extended warranty coverage for the Murano’s transmission. These software updates resolved many of the issues related to the CVT, and the warranty coverage has benefited many owners, providing peace of mind for years of worry-free driving.

Is the 2023 Nissan Murano a good midsize SUV?

The current Murano is J.D. Power’s top-rated midsize SUV. The quality and reliability scores make it easy to trust the Murano. Although early models of the Nissan Murano faced some transmission problems with the CVT, the latest upgrades make this SUV a reliable choice and help put it at the top of J.D. Power’s list.

Learn more about the 2023 Nissan Murano midsize SUV in the video below:

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