2019 Lexus RX 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 RX 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.

Both the RX Series and the Murano have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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 RX Series is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

RX Series

Murano

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

53%

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

RX Series

Murano

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

97

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

162 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

354 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

165

212

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

17 inches

HIC

275

328

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 available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX 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 RX 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 RX 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 RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Murano’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Murano was rated third in its category.

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 RX 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 35 more horsepower (295 vs. 260) and 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (268 vs. 240) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The RX 450h’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 48 more horsepower (308 vs. 260) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the RX 350 is faster than the Nissan Murano:

 

RX Series

Murano

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.7 MPH

91.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the Murano AWD (31 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’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 RX Series Hybrid’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.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Nissan Murano is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

RX Series

Murano

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12.1 inches

Suspension and Handling

The RX 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 RX 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 RX Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (57% to 43%) than the Murano’s (58.8% to 41.2%). This gives the RX Series more stable handling and braking.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Murano Platinum AWD (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Murano (8.2 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The RX Series has 3.6 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room and .9 inches more rear hip room than the Murano.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Nissan Murano is limited to 1500 pounds. The RX Series offers up to a 3500 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 RX Series 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 RX Series and the Murano have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RX 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 RX 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 RX Series’ 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 RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Murano’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Murano doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

The RX 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 RX 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.

The RX Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Murano doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Murano because typical repairs cost less on the RX Series than the Murano, including $109 less for fuel injection, $136 less for a fuel pump and $171 less for front struts.

Recommendations

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

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

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