2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2019 Lexus NX Series

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 NX Series 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 NX Series scores only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 NX Series 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 Lexus NX Series has a metal gas tank.

Both the Murano and the NX Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, 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 Nissan Murano is safer than the Lexus NX Series:

 

Murano

NX Series

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

37%

46%

Neck Stress

292 lbs.

509 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

226/341 lbs.

480/609 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

144

355

Neck Stress

199 lbs.

295 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

70 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

283/32 lbs.

442/307 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 Lexus NX Series:

 

Murano

NX Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

97

192

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

212

317

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

49 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

328

542

Hip Force

681 lbs.

828 lbs.

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

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Murano’s warranty.

Reliability

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

Engine

The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 66 more horsepower (260 vs. 194) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 199) than the NX 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 25 more horsepower (260 vs. 235) than the NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the NX 300h 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid:

 

Murano

NX Series

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Murano uses regular unleaded gasoline. The NX 300 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Murano has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the NX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (19 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Murano has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the NX Series’ standard fuel tank (19 vs. 15.9 gallons).

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 NX Series are solid, not vented.

The Murano stops much shorter than the NX Series:

 

Murano

NX Series

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Murano has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the NX Series. The Murano SL/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the NX Series.

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 NX Series doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Murano’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the NX Series (111.2 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Murano is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the NX Series.

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the NX 300 pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Murano has a greater minimum ground clearance than the NX 300h (6.9 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the Murano to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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 NX Series (.34) 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 NX Series doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Murano has 36.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the NX Series (108.1 vs. 71.6).

The Murano has 2.5 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front hip room, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 2.6 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room and 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the NX Series.

The front step up height for the Murano is 2.3 inches lower than the NX Series (15.8” vs. 18.1”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 2.9 inches lower than the NX Series’ (15.1” vs. 18”).

Cargo Capacity

The Murano has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the NX Series with its rear seat up (32.1 vs. 17.7 cubic feet). The Murano has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the NX Series with its rear seat folded (67 vs. 54.6 cubic feet).

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

 

Murano

NX Series

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37”/74.4”

36”/71.5”

Max Width

54”

53”

Min Width

43”

44.3”

Height

33.7”

27”

Towing

The Murano’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the NX Series’ (1500 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

Both the Murano and the NX Series 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 NX Series.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Murano owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Murano will cost $535 to $1445 less than the NX Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Murano is less expensive to operate than the NX Series because it costs $729 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Murano than the NX Series, including $35 less for a water pump, $197 less for a muffler, $74 less for a starter, $157 less for fuel injection and $418 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

The Nissan Murano outsold the Lexus NX Series by 43% during the 2018 model year.

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

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