2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Murano are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Forester doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Murano (except S) offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

The Murano’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Forester doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Murano’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Forester has a metal gas tank.

Both the Murano and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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 Nissan Murano is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

Murano

Forester

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

144

153

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Stress

199 lbs.

215 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

134 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

283/32 lbs.

379/133 lbs.

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 Nissan Murano is safer than the Subaru Forester:

 

Murano

Forester

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

97

106

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

212

235

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

330 lbs.

598 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

44 G’s

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

Warranty

There are over 72 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Murano’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Murano has a standard 550-amp battery. The Forester’s 390-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Murano third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Forester isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 90 more horsepower (260 vs. 170) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 174) than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 10 more horsepower (260 vs. 250) than the Forester 2.0XT’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the Forester 2.5i 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

Murano

Forester

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

83.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Murano uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Murano has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (19 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Nissan Murano comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Murano

Forester 2.5i

Forester 2.0XT

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.1 inches

10.8 inches

10.9 inches

The Murano’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Forester 2.5i are solid, not vented.

The Murano stops shorter than the Forester:

 

Murano

Forester

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Murano has larger tires than the Forester (235/65R18 vs. 225/60R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Murano has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester 2.5i. The Murano SL/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT.

The Murano has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Forester doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Murano’s wheelbase is 7.3 inches longer than on the Forester (111.2 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Murano is 3.7 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Forester 2.5i Touring pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Murano Platinum AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Forester 2.5i Touring (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Murano uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Forester doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Murano has 1.5 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear legroom, 2.2 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Forester.

The front step up height for the Murano is 1.5 inches lower than the Forester (15.8” vs. 17.3”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 2.9 inches lower than the Forester’s (15.1” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

The Murano’s cargo area is larger than the Forester’s in almost every dimension:

 

Murano

Forester

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37”/74.4”

34.3”/71.3”

Max Width

54”

51.5”

Min Width

43”

42.2”

Height

33.7”

34.8”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Murano’s liftgate can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The Murano SL/Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Murano’s front power windows 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 Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. The Forester’s optional windows’ rear windows don’t close automatically.

If the front windows are left open on the Murano the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Murano SV/SL/Platinum’s standard wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Murano has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

When the Murano SL/Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Forester’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Murano and the Forester offer available heated front seats. The Murano SL/Platinum also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Murano Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Murano has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Murano has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Forester Touring.

Both the Murano and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Murano has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The Murano is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Murano is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $324 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Murano than the Forester, including $94 less for a starter, $109 less for fuel injection and $35 less for front struts.

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

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