Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard of the Rogue and many of us know about the Murano.
Nissan has an extensive line of SUVs, and the Rogue and Murano are their two most popular. In fact, the Rogue is their best-selling vehicle in North America.
The Rogue is the slightly smaller and cheaper, whereas the Murano is bigger and more luxurious. But that’s not all there is to it. Let’s take a closer look!
Compact Crossover VS Midsize SUV
While these two SUVs might appear similar to the untrained eye, the Rogue is a compact crossover which competes with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Jeep Cherokee, whereas the larger Murano is a midsize SUV which competes with the likes of the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Edge.
Compact Crossovers are traditionally seen as more nimble and practical for inner city driving, whereas Midsize SUVs offer more luxury and power.
As a result, the first question to ask yourself is what kind of vehicle you’re looking for. Do you want to go with a more gas-efficient vehicle which is still rugged and good for some off-roading, or spend more on a larger, more powerful vehicle?
The Rogue is the cheaper of the two, with the base 2019 Rogue S starting at $25,020 MSRP whereas the base 2019 Murano S starts at $31,370 MSRP.
The rogue maintains its rather conservative design for 2020, with fairly standard head and tail light styling. By contrast, the Murano has a bolder, eye-catching design with headlights that stretch back to the A-pillar and a more streamlined silhouette.
Design is always subjective, but personally I’m a much bigger fan of the Murano’s more inspired design that wouldn’t look out of place coming out of a Lexus factory.
Comparing size, the Murano is the bigger of the two, measuring 192.4 inches long versus the Rogue’s 184.5 inches. It’s also around three inches wider and an inch taller, although the Rogue offers slightly more ground clearance compared to the Murano.
The Rogue and Murano are both two row SUVs that can seat up to five people.
Despite being the smaller vehicle, the Rogue actually boasts over an inch more legroom for the front seats. Meanwhile the Murano offers wider seats and more room for passengers at the back.
For cargo, the Nissan Rogue offers more space with a 39.3 cu.ft. of space with the rear seats upright, or a rather generous 70.0 cu.ft. when the rear seats are put down. By comparison, the Murano offers 32.1 cu.ft. and 67.0 cu.ft. of cargo volume respectively. Again, the Rogue goes against the common assumption that a compact crossover can’t load as much cargo as a midsize SUV.
While the Nissan rogue makes clever use of its space to leave more room for cargo, the Murano’s interior feels more luxurious. Instead of the simple black plastics that line the Rogue’s interior, you get plusher materials with wood grain trims and aluminium accents that add a classy touch. The Murano also gets more luxury features like zero gravity seating designed to reduce fatigue on longer journeys and an impressive 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support.
Of course, the Rogue’s interior quality does ultimately depend on the trim you choose, and going for the Platinum Reserve interior package will give you nice leather-appointed seats with quilted leather inserts.
Being the more expensive model, the Murano comes with more interior features unless you option your Rogue or go for a higher end trim. The Murano comes with things like advanced cruise control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, whereas the Rogue does not.
However, even the cheaper Rogue trims are generously-equipped for their price. A 7-inch touch screen infotainment with full Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility come as standard. Other features often missing from base trims in comparable compact crossovers such as blind spot monitoring and a rear view camera, also come as standard with the Rogue.
Although both the Rogue and Murano include hill start assist and an Xtronic CVT® as standard, the engine selection differs across the two models.
The Nissan Rogue offers two powertrains – traditional and hybrid. Going with the traditional powertrain, the Rogue has a 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. This makes it capable of towing up to 1,102 lbs.
The Murano is only available with a 3.5L DOHC V6 gas engine. This more powerful engine can produce 260 horsepower and 240 lb.-ft. of torque that gives it a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. Despite being the heavier vehicle, the Murano is still accelerates quicker than the Rogue thanks to the more capable engine.
Those anticipating some soft off-roading or wintry conditions will want to consider the intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) versions of the Rogue/Murano.
As you would expect from a smaller vehicle, the Rogue offers superior fuel efficiency, capable of 29 mpg in combined highway and city driving. However, within the midsize class the Murano offers relatively good fuel efficiency with 24 mpg in combined driving.
Both Nissans offer good safety for both the driver and passengers. However, the 2019 Nissan Murano is one of the top-rated SUVs for safety according to NHTSA, earning a 5-star safety rating overall and across all individual crash tests. The Rogue didn’t fare as well, earning a 4-star overall rating.
Looking at IIHS tests, both vehicles scored the highest scores in crashworthiness tests.
From the 2019 model and beyond, both the Rogue and Murano offer a good number of safety assistance features. This includes forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection and more.
They also offer options for intelligent driver-assists such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beams, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert.
Looking at the most recent JD Power scores for the 2018 models, both scored 9/10 for overall quality which and 10/10 for mechanical quality. Nissan SUVs are generally considered fairly reliable, and Nissan offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty which is fairly standard within the automotive industry.
Nissan offer two good crossover/SUV options with the Rogue and Murano. The Rogue is their best-selling vehicle in the U.S. and has gained a solid reputation for being affordable, reliable and practical. However, as the Crossover segment becomes more crowded with competition, the Rogue lags behind the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V which are considered to be the best available options right now.
The Murano is better suited for those looking for a more luxurious experience and an engine that delivers more oomph. The Murano represents good value for money within the midsize SUV segment, and it’s aggressive styling definitely makes it more interesting than the Rogue’s uninspired looks.