2019 Nissan Murano vs. 2019 Subaru Outback

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

Both the Murano and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 and rear cross-path warning.

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 Outback:

 

Murano

Outback

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

162 G’s

192 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

212

223

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

51 G’s

Hip Force

330 lbs.

527 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

681 lbs.

736 lbs.

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Murano third among midsize suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Outback 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 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 85 more horsepower (260 vs. 175) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (240 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (260 vs. 256) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Murano is faster than the Outback 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.:

 

Murano

Outback

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

9.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.8 MPH

82.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Murano AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 3.6R 6 cyl. (20 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Murano

Outback

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.1 inches

11.8 inches

The Murano stops much shorter than the Outback:

 

Murano

Outback

 

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

The Murano SL/Platinum’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.

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

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 Outback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Murano’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Outback (111.2 inches vs. 108.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Murano is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.

The Murano Platinum AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .76 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 Outback 2.5i Limited (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Murano has 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom, .2 inches more rear hip room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Outback.

The front step up height for the Murano is 3.2 inches lower than the Outback (15.8” vs. 19”). The Murano’s rear step up height is 3.9 inches lower than the Outback’s (15.1” vs. 19”).

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Murano

Outback

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37”/74.4”

41.8”/77.7”

Max Width

54”

50.5”

Min Width

43”

42”

Height

33.7”

33”

Pressing a switch automatically raises the Murano Platinum’s rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback’s standard passenger windows don’t open or 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 Outback 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 Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

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 Outback doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Outback Premium/Limited/Touring.

Both the Murano and the Outback 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 Outback Base/Premium 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 Outback 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 Outback because it costs $486 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Murano than the Outback, including $35 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Murano and the Subaru Outback, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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