2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2019 Dodge Durango

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 Durango doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Murano as “Superior.” The Durango scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Murano (except S/SV) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Durango doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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 Durango only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 Durango doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Murano and the Durango 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Dodge Durango:

 

Murano

Durango

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

226/341 lbs.

427/350 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Nissan Murano is safer than the Durango:

 

Murano

Durango

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

87

119

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

22 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

2.1/.6 kN

5.3/2.5 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

6%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.72/.35

1.53/.59

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 Nissan Murano is safer than the Dodge Durango:

 

Murano

Durango

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

330 lbs.

542 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, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Murano the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Durango was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Murano’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Durango runs out after 60,000 miles.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the Murano has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Durango.

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 Murano’s reliability 35 points higher than the Durango.

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

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 19th, 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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 7 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 DOHC V6:

 

Murano

Durango

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

86.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Murano

Durango

 

2WD

3.5 V6/Auto

20 city/28 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.0 V6/Auto

4WD

3.5 V6/Auto

20 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.0 V6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Murano uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Durango with the 5.7 V8 engine requires mid-grade for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 40 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Nissan Murano as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Dodge Durango is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

The Murano has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Durango doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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 Durango V6 are solid, not vented.

The Murano stops much shorter than the Durango:

 

Murano

Durango

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

142 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 Durango doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Murano has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Murano flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Durango GT 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Murano Platinum AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Durango GT 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Murano’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Durango’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Murano may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 1300 pounds less than the Dodge Durango.

The Murano is 8.4 inches shorter than the Durango, making the Murano easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Nissan Murano amounts to more than styling. The Murano has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Durango (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Murano get better fuel mileage.

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 Durango doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Murano has .2 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Durango.

The front step up height for the Murano is 4.7 inches lower than the Durango (15.8” vs. 20.5”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 5.5 inches lower than the Durango’s (15.1” vs. 20.6”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Murano easier. The Murano’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.7 inches, while the Durango’s liftover is 32.2 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically raises the Murano Platinum’s rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Durango doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

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 Durango doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Murano owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Murano will cost $50 to $1950 less than the Durango over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Murano is less expensive to operate than the Durango because it costs $216 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Murano than the Durango, including $31 less for front brake pads, $122 less for front struts and $44 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Murano, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Dodge Durango isn't recommended.

The Nissan Murano outsold the Dodge Durango by 33% during the 2018 model year.

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

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