2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2019 Jeep Cherokee

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 Cherokee 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 Cherokee 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 Cherokee doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Murano and the Cherokee have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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 Jeep Cherokee:

 

Murano

Cherokee

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

37%

43%

Neck Stress

292 lbs.

430 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

226/341 lbs.

822/607 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

144

291

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Stress

199 lbs.

344 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

166 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

283/32 lbs.

305/278 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 Cherokee:

 

Murano

Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

4 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

2.1/.6 kN

3.5/1.6 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.72/.35

.84/.45

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 Jeep Cherokee:

 

Murano

Cherokee

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

162 G’s

176 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

212

255

Hip Force

330 lbs.

451 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

43 G’s

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 Cherokee was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability

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 28 points higher than the Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Murano third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Cherokee 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 55 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 8 places higher in reliability than Jeep.

Engine

The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 80 more horsepower (260 vs. 180) and 69 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 171) than the Cherokee’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the Jeep Cherokee:

 

Murano

Cherokee 4 cyl.

Cherokee turbo 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9.5 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.2 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

80.5 MPH

87.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Murano AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Cherokee 4x4 V6 (20 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Murano uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Cherokee with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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

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 Cherokee 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 on the Cherokee are solid, not vented.

The Murano stops much shorter than the Cherokee:

 

Murano

Cherokee

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Murano has larger tires than the Cherokee (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 Cherokee. The Murano SL/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Cherokee Overland.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Murano’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Cherokee (111.2 inches vs. 106.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Murano is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cherokee.

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4 pulls only .72 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 Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Murano has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Cherokee uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Nissan Murano amounts to more than styling. The Murano has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is lower than the Cherokee (.339) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Murano get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Murano has 4.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cherokee (108.1 vs. 103.5).

The Murano has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear hip room and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cherokee.

The front step up height for the Murano is 2.1 inches lower than the Cherokee (15.8” vs. 17.9”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 3 inches lower than the Cherokee’s (15.1” vs. 18.1”).

Cargo Capacity

The Murano has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Cherokee with its rear seat up (32.1 vs. 24.6 cubic feet). The Murano has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Cherokee with its rear seat folded (67 vs. 54.9 cubic feet).

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

 

Murano

Cherokee

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37”/74.4”

33.9”/67.6”

Max Width

54”

49.2”

Min Width

43”

39.4”

Height

33.7”

28.8”

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

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 Cherokee doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Cherokee can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Murano has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Cherokee doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Cherokee’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 costs extra on the Cherokee.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Murano is less expensive to operate than the Cherokee because typical repairs cost much less on the Murano than the Cherokee, including $265 less for a muffler, $31 less for front brake pads, $23 less for a starter, $64 less for a fuel pump and $71 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

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