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2021 Nissan Murano vs 2021 Toyota Highlander
Posted on June 17, 2021
The list of SUVs available to Canadian buyers is a huge one, covering all shapes and sizes of vehicle. Faced with this choice, it can be hard to know where to start. Go large for a three-row SUV that offers spacious solidity, or opt for a smaller two-row with a livelier driving experience? To find out the pros and cons behind that choice, we've pitted the two-row 2021 Nissan Murano against one of the most popular three-row models, the Toyota Highlander. Here's how it went.
The Highlander checks all the usual design boxes of the large SUV format, with reassuring heft paired with a slightly workaday appearance. In contrast, the smaller Murano is lower, sleeker, and more agile looking, with more curves and angles to turn heads on the highway. Looks are always subjective, but the Murano has the edge in great-looking individuality.
Powertrain and Performance
Both cars are built around a 3.5L V6 gas engine offering plenty of power. The Toyota has the advantage on paper, with its 295 horsepower output outshining the Murano's 260hp, but the raw figures only tell half the story. Remember that the Murano is substantially smaller and lighter than the three-row Highlander, so the engine output is put to much more effective use in everyday driving.
Both cars offer the option of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, although they differ in the transmission. The Toyota is equipped with an unremarkable eight-speed automatic, while the Murano's continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optimized for smooth highway driving, an experience enhanced by a suspension that's tuned for comfort and stability.
Opt for the front-wheel drive versions of the cars and the Toyota has a slight lead in the fuel economy ratings, with a highway figure of 8.1L / 100km compared to the Nissan's 8.3L / 100km. However, switching to the all-wheel option shoots the Toyota's figure up to 8.7L / 100km, while there's no change in the Murano's economy. If you want the extra stability and traction of all-wheel drive, then the Nissan is by far the more economical choice.
Safety and Driver Assist Technology
Both cars offer a strong suite of safety systems, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, and lane keep assist.
However, for the 2021 Murano Nissan have pushed the boat out and added their Safety Shield 360 package across the range, with welcome extras including rear emergency braking, automatic high beams, and more.
The two cars are evenly matched for infotainment, with both offering a standard 8" screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, Nissan are now providing the Travel Link system as standard, providing real-time weather and traffic updates direct to your dash.
Test Drive the 2021 Nissan Murano in Calgary
If you're looking for a stylish, economical two-row SUV that nonetheless boasts plenty of driving power, then you can't afford to miss the 2021 Nissan Murano. Book a test drive from our Calgary showroom and see for yourself why the Murano is one of the most-loved SUVs in its class.