2019 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Nissan Murano

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus NX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Murano doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The NX Series’ optional 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.

Both the NX Series and the Murano have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

NX Series

Murano

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

209

282

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

61 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

42%

82%

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus NX Series is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

NX Series

Murano

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

148 G’s

162 G’s

Hip Force

352 lbs.

354 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

303 lbs.

330 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Murano was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The NX Series 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.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Murano. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Murano ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Murano’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the NX Series has a standard 580-amp battery. The Murano’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 22 points higher than the Murano.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 240) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the NX 300 is faster than the Nissan Murano:

 

NX Series

Murano

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

15.6 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

NX Series

 

FWD

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

300h 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

33 city/30 hwy

 

 

300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

 

F Sport 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 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 NX Series 300h’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 NX Series 300h’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.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the NX Series’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Murano:

 

NX Series

Murano

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Suspension and Handling

The NX Series 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 NX Series 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.

The NX 300 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Murano Platinum AWD (27.2 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the NX Series’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Murano’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The NX Series is 10.1 inches shorter than the Murano, making the NX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Nissan Murano is limited to 1500 pounds. The NX 300h AWD offers up to a 2000 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 47% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

The NX Series’ instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Murano does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the NX Series and the Murano have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the NX Series 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 NX Series’ 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 NX Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. 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 NX Series’ standard headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Murano’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the NX Series 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 NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Murano doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The NX Series’ 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 NX Series offers optional 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.

Economic Advantages

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

The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 52.34% to 52.9% 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 NX Series is less expensive to operate than the Murano because typical repairs cost much less on the NX Series than the Murano, including $49 less for front brake pads, $107 less for a fuel pump, $63 less for front struts and $532 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus NX Series and the Nissan Murano, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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