2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2019 Jeep Grand 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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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

Both the Murano and the Grand Cherokee 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 Grand Cherokee:

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

87

172

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

2.1/.6 kN

4.9/2.3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.72/.35

1.06/.54

Tibia forces R/L

2.1/.7 kN

2.3/1.3 kN

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 Grand Cherokee:

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

162 G’s

182 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

330 lbs.

612 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

18 inches

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

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 Grand Cherokee.

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 22 points higher than the Grand Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Murano third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Grand Cherokee 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 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

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the Jeep Grand Cherokee V6:

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

88.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

 

2WD

3.5 V6/Auto

20 city/28 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

4WD

3.5 V6/Auto

20 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.6 V6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Murano uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Grand Cherokee 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 Jeep Grand Cherokee 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 Grand 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 standard on the Grand Cherokee V6 are solid, not vented.

The Murano stops much shorter than the Grand Cherokee:

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Murano’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Cherokee Laredo’s standard 70 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Murano has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Grand Cherokee Laredo.

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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 pulls only .73 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 Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The Nissan Murano may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 1300 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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 Grand 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 significantly lower than the Grand Cherokee (.371) 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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Murano has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Grand Cherokee (108.1 vs. 105.4).

The Murano has .2 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Grand Cherokee.

The front step up height for the Murano is 4.7 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee (15.8” vs. 20.5”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 5.7 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee’s (15.1” vs. 20.8”).

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 Grand Cherokee’s liftover is 32.4 inches.

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

 

Murano

Grand Cherokee

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37”/74.4”

38.5”/74.2”

Max Width

54”

47.6”

Min Width

43”

41.7”

Height

33.7”

33.5”

Pressing a switch automatically raises the Murano Platinum’s rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Grand Cherokee 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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Murano is less expensive to operate than the Grand Cherokee because typical repairs cost much less on the Murano than the Grand Cherokee, including $202 less for a muffler, $31 less for front brake pads and $44 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

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