Originally Posted by ArthurElephant
My question is APPROXIMATELY WHEN would one expect Nissan to announce details on the 2018 Murano and APPROXIMATELY WHEN would one expect physical availability of the 2018 Murano? While there is no certainty regarding the dates, would someone kindly speculate (guess) based on prior years' experience? Thank you. Arthur Elephant
I'll try to keep this post as factual as possible first and then add some speculation (a guess, not knowledge).
If Nissan follows its pattern for the past few years, we'll know what the 2018 Murano will be (i.e., what changes will be made) in September, just like they did last year. The new cars will be on the lots in October or November (like this past year).
The model cycle for the current Murano is planned as 6 years (as it is for most of their other models), meaning 2015 through 2020. They have been face-lifting all their mainline cars (e.g., Altima and Rogue) in their fourth years. The Altima was face-lifted in 2016 and the Rogue in 2017. The Pathfinder was face-lifted in 2017 (which was one year later than the Altima although they were both introduced the same year, 2013). The Pathfinder has been a big disappointment in sales and sorely needed the face-lift and especially the better engine.
The addition of the 2017.5 Murano model was an unusual move and was not a "face-lift" but rather an "equipment change" that they really needed to draw some attention to as the lack of equipment was hurting sales. The 2017.5 Murano was unusual in two ways. First the fact that it happened "early" (not as a 2018) and second that it was very minor change (really the only addition was the CarPlay/Android Auto hardware in the audio system). It needs a true face-lift (like those given to the Rogue, Altima, and Pathfinder).
There's also a new 2017.5 Rogue (announced in late May, 2017, which is essentially at the end of the model year) that will add a big handful of electronic safety features (emergency braking, blindspot warning, etc.) as standard to all trim levels. The reason for this surprise introduction of a 2017.5 Rogue is an entirely competitive move. Nissan had the (unexpected) joy of being able to advertise that its Rogue was the "top selling SUV in America" because it surprisingly and impressively outsold the CR-V and RAV4 in Jan-March this year. Rogue is now the #1
selling car for Nissan (surpassed the Altima this past year). So, keeping it competitive is all-important move for Nissan and they want to keep pushing sales momentum. Interestingly, Toyota dropped the price on the RAV4 in April to make it more price-competitive with its competition. Ironically, the addition of equipment to the 2017.5 Rogue has raised its price $400-600 to account for the extra equipment.
Back to the Murano, we all have to admit that Nissan would like to sell more of this model, but hasn't done so this past year. One big issue (I was told by a friend in the dealership) that Nissan felt it was getting hit bad on Murano sales because it didn't have CarPlay (or Android Auto) in its "flagship" crossover that is ironically being squarely marketed as a cutting-edge, premium vehicle to its intended market (i.e., to empty nesters, not to Millennials with kids). I was surprised myself when the 2017 Murano was introduced without anything new at all and particularly without new audio hardware (CarPlay and Nissan Connect Services). The 2017.5 was meant to fix that issue. The sales rate improved a bit with the 2017.5, but there are still lots of 2017s on the dealer lots.
So, here I'll start speculating because there's no public information available yet. I expect that Nissan will face-lift the 2018 Murano both because "it's time" and because they want to improve its position in the marketplace for its final three years in the current cycle. There is no indication (in the car press that I've read and researched) that Nissan is prepared to introduce a new Murano before the 2021 model year. They'd really like to improve its sales in 2018 and beyond, so adjusting the front/rear fascia and adding features and equipment will be a smart move (also note that everything added to the 2017.5 Rogue base models will be added to all Murano 2018 models too). They may even have some new colors (finally). One subtle (but really big in my eyes and mind) change to the 2017.5 Rogue was the introduction of new Red and Blue colors (both brighter and "younger" than available in the past). IMHO, Nissan really needs the Rogue to have a bigger engine option too, but because they don't have anything suitable ready to go and don't want to kill the Murano's sales with its V6, I don't expect them to change the engine in the Rogue for the current generation. They just introduced the 2017 Rogue Sport with its smaller 2.0 engine (which I've driven and have concerns about selling well unless they end up responding better when they are broken in; the one I drove for two days had 13 miles on it so I didn't rev it over 4000rpm).
Personally, I would have already traded my 2012 Murano for a 2017 model (I had it picked out) had there been more equipment added to the 2017 a year ago (like the 2017.5 model). But, when there wasn't, I decided to wait for the 2018 because there's not a lot longer wait for it and both the 2017 and 2017.5 models will be worth less (both as new and used) once the 2018 appears. I'll likely get a 2018 in March (the best month for price and selection of Nissans) if they make it more appealing. If it stays the same as the 2017.5, I won't buy because that will mean they've given up on developing the current generation of the car. But they've done so on schedule with all their other models, so I expect they will with their "halo" SUV.
One more "fact": it's now known that Nissan will discontinue the Juke for 2018 and will very likely introduce its "Kicks" model here (which is made in Brazil) as a mid-year (Spring 2018) replacement in the subcompact SUV market (the hottest market there is right now). The only unknown is if they will use the Juke's turbo engine or not. I'm guessing they will have to because otherwise the Kicks will compete too much with the Rogue Sport (as they would both have a 2.0 liter engine as that's all Nissan's got certified for sale in the US).
I hope the time I've taken to write this post is helpful or interesting to someone. Peace.