2019 BMW X3 vs. 2019 Nissan Murano

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Murano doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The X3 has standard Active Protection, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Murano doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the X3’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Murano doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the X3 and the Murano have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X3 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Murano was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The X3 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Murano’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Murano’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Murano.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 6 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 240) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The X3 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 95 more horsepower (355 vs. 260) and 129 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 240) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 xDrive30i is faster than the Nissan Murano:

 

X3

Murano

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.6 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X3 gets better fuel mileage than the Murano:

 

 

 

MPG

X3

 

RWD

xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

AWD

xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

M40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Murano

 

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Murano doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Murano doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The X3 M40i’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Murano doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Murano:

 

X3

X3 M40i

Murano

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.5 inches

12.1 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Murano (F:245/45R20 & R:275/40R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The X3 xDrive30i’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Murano’s standard 65 series tires. The X3’s optional 245/40R21 front and 275/35R21 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Murano SL/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Murano’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Murano doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The X3 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Murano’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The X3 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Murano’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X3’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Murano (112.8 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

The X3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the Murano’s (58.8% to 41.2%). This gives the X3 more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the X3 has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Murano (8 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the X3 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The X3 is 6.9 inches shorter than the Murano, making the X3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X3 easier. The X3’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Murano’s liftover is 30.7 inches.

Towing

The X3’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Murano’s (4400 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the X3 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Murano. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 33% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

The X3 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Murano doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the X3 and the Murano have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the X3 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Murano prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The X3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Murano’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Murano S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Murano SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The X3’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Murano’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the X3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Murano doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the X3 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Murano doesn’t offer cornering lights. The X3 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The X3’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Murano and aren’t offered on the Murano S.

The X3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Murano offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Murano doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the X3 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the X3 with a number “5” insurance rate while the Murano is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The X3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the X3 will retain 46.62% to 48.02% of its original price after five years, while the Murano only retains 41.28% to 43.8%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the X3 is less expensive to operate than the Murano because typical repairs cost less on the X3 than the Murano, including $15 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the BMW X3 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X3 third among compact premium SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Murano isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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