2019 Toyota Highlander vs. 2019 Nissan Murano

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Highlander AWD’s standard Downhill Assist Control allows you to creep down safely. The Murano doesn’t offer Downhill Assist Control.

Both the Highlander and the Murano have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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, driver alert monitors, available 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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

Highlander

Murano

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

82%

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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Nissan Murano:

 

Highlander

Murano

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

54

97

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

88 G’s

162 G’s

Hip Force

348 lbs.

354 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

111

212

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

16 inches

17 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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Murano was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Murano.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Highlander has a standard 604-amp battery. The Murano’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Highlander’s reliability 15 points higher than the Murano.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 35 more horsepower (295 vs. 260) and 23 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 240) than the Murano’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Highlander V6 is faster than the Nissan Murano:

 

Highlander

Murano

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.6 MPH

91.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Highlander LE Plus/XLE/Limited/Platinum’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Murano doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Highlander

Murano

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

12.1 inches

The Highlander stops shorter than the Murano:

 

Highlander

Murano

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Highlander has larger tires than the Murano (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18).

The Highlander’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Murano’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Highlander’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Murano’s (58.8% to 41.2%). This gives the Highlander more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the Highlander has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Murano (8 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Highlander to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Murano can only carry 5.

The Highlander has 36.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Murano (144.9 vs. 108.1).

The Highlander has .8 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Murano.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander’s cargo area provides more volume than the Murano.

 

Highlander

Murano

Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

32.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

67 cubic feet

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

 

Highlander

Murano

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

17.5”/43”/80”

n.a./37”/74.4”

Max Width

56”

54”

Min Width

45.6”

43”

Height

32.6”

33.7”

The Highlander’s optional rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Murano’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Nissan Murano is limited to 1500 pounds. The Highlander offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Highlander Limited/Platinum’s front and rear power windows all 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 Murano’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Highlander Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Murano SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Highlander’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Murano’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Highlander detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Murano doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Highlander’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Murano and aren’t offered on the Murano S.

The Highlander XLE/SE/Limited/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Murano doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander will cost $340 less than the Murano over a five-year period.

The Highlander will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Highlander will retain 56.14% to 58.2% of its original price after five years, while the Murano only retains 41.28% to 43.8%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the Murano because typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the Murano, including $221 less for a water pump, $370 less for a muffler, $40 less for front brake pads, $37 less for a fuel pump, $197 less for front struts and $650 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander will be $4870 to $5219 less than for the Nissan Murano.

Recommendations

The Toyota Highlander has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Highlander

Murano

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Nissan Murano by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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