Nissan Murano vs. Toyota Highlander

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - February 2, 2016

Both the Nissan Murano and the Toyota Highlander helped usher in a new generation of midsize crossovers just after the turn of the century. Since then, nearly every manufacturer has added one of these immensely popular vehicles to their lineup. So how do these groundbreaking vehicles stand up against one another over a decade later?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Murano & Highlander »

What the Toyota Highlander Gets Right

The Highlander is one of the most popular crossover SUVs around, and it's easy to see why. We love the selection of trim levels and the standard features on each of them -- including a standard backup camera. The size of the Highlander is perfect, as it has room for up to eight passengers and nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo while still measuring just a tick over 191 inches in length.

The cabin is exceptionally quiet, well-designed, and has a handy 40/20/40 split second-row seat. The 270-horsepower V6 engine is a solid choice, and the 21 mpg combined is respectable. On the road, the Highlander is quick and elegant, and it handles corners about as well as one can expect from a crossover.

What the Nissan Murano Gets Right

We like the 3.5-liter V6 and the continuously variable transmission that comes on the Murano. The CVT works extremely well and navigates the balance between power and economy. In fact, the Murano is a joy to drive. It takes corners well, has limited body roll, and is powerful when it needs to be.

While the two-row Murano only seats five, its interior is spacious and offers plenty of head and legroom. The standard features list is impressive. Fuel economy bests the Highlander at 24 mpg combined.

How Do They Compare?

The three-row Highlander offers seating for eight in a well-designed cabin loaded with features. The V6 engines in both vehicles are great, and prices are comparable. The Murano is a better vehicle on the road, but that's not an insult to the Highlander, which does an above-average job handling the pavement.

Our Verdict: Toyota Highlander

While we appreciate the amenities and driving experience of the Murano, the Highlander's passenger-friendly cabin and ability to seat eight makes it a winner.

Take a closer look at the Nissan Murano »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Highlander »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website