Nissan Rogue Vs. Nissan Muranoby Michael G. Sanchez
If you're in the market for a crossover, Nissan's Rogue and Murano are both strong options in a crowded and competitive field. Crossovers, which bring together elements of cars, SUVs and minivans in one versatile family vehicle, are a hot commodity with today's buyers. They offer the roominess and cargo space of an SUV without the terrible fuel economy or truck-like road manners.
The compact Nissan Rogue was all-new for 2014. The midsize Murano, on the other hand, was last redesigned back in 2009 and is set to be replaced by a new, third-generation model in 2015. Both Nissans offer a good mix of sedan-like civility, competitive tech and safety features, and lots of usable interior space.
Exterior & Interior Size
The Rogue, the smaller of the two vehicles, measured 182.3 inches long, 72.4 inches wide and 66.3 inches tall, and has a 106.5-inch wheelbase. The larger Murano was 189.9 inches long, 74.1 inches wide and 67 inches tall, with a 111.2-inch wheelbase. Despite being the smaller vehicle, the Rogue actually boasted a greater maximum seating capacity than the Murano: seven vs five. The Rogue's seating advantage was due to an optional third row seat, a feature conspicuously absent from its stablemate's equipment list. While the Rogue's third-row seat was quite small and suitable only for children, its availability was still a major point in the vehicle's favor for buyers with large or growing families. The Rogue provider the driver and front passenger with 41.6 inches of headroom, 56.5 inches of shoulder room, 54.0 inches of hip room and 43.0 inches of legroom. Backseat passengers got 36.6 inches of headroom, 55.9 inches of shoulder room, 52.1 inches of hip room and 37.9 inches of legroom. The Murano supplied the driver and front passenger with 40.1 inches headroom, 59.6 inches of shoulder room, 54.8 of hip room and 43.6 inches of legroom. Passengers seated in the back got 39.4 inches of headroom, 58.7 inches of shoulder room, 55.4 inches of hip room and 36.3 inches of legroom. When it came to cargo capacity, the smaller Rogue bested the larger Murano. With all the seats in place, the Rogue boasted 39.3 cubic feet of storage, and with the back seats folded down, an impressive 70.0 cubic feet. In contrast, the midsize Murano offered 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place and 64.0 cubic feet with them folded down.
Both Nissan crossovers came with a single engine and transmission pairing. The Rogue was powered by a 2.5-liter, dual-overhead-cam, inline-four with four valves per cylinder. It hooked up to a continuously variable transmission and produced 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 175 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. Power was sent to either the front or, optionally, all four wheels. The Murano was motivated by Nissan's 3.5-liter V-6. The dual-overhead-cam, 24-valve unit generated 260 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 240 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. Like the Rogue,the Murano came with a continuously variable transmission and could be had with either front- or all-wheel drive.
Features & Trim Levels
The Rogue was available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. The S was the entry-level version. It came with 17-inch steel wheels, power mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, LED running lights, air-conditioning with rear-seat vents, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera and a four-speaker stereo with an auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connector. The mid-level SV Rogue added 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-way power driver seat, keyless entry and ignition, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio and the NissanConnect smartphone integration system. The luxurious SL Rogue added 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated mirrors, foglights, roof rails, Nissan's Around View 360-degree parking camera, a larger 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display with integrated GPS navigation, and a premium 9-speaker Bose stereo. The Murano was available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE. Though it was the least expensive version of the Murano, the S model was hardly bare-bones. It included 18-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless entry and ignition, rear privacy glass, a reclining 60-40-split rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch monochrome infotainment screen, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker CD stereo with auxiliary audio jack. The SV Murano added foglights, roof rack rails, automatic headlights, heated front seats, a color 7-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an upgraded stereo with satellite radio and iPod-USB connector. The SL trim level added leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, a driver seat memory function and a nine-speaker Bose premium stereo with hard-drive-based digital audio storage. Finally, the top-of-the-line LE Murano added 20-inch alloy wheels, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated rear seats, bi-xenon headlights and wood interior trim.
The Rogue came with a fully up-to-date roster of standard safety features. These included four-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, hill-start assist and a rear-view camera. All-wheel-drive models also came standard with hill descent control. Optional safety features consisted of a lane-departure warning system, a blind-spot warning system, the Around View camera system -- standard on the SL -- and a forward collision warning system. The Murano offered nearly the exact same lineup of safety features. The exception was the Around View camera, which was not available on the larger crossover.
Fuel Economy & Pricing
The front-wheel-drive Rogue received an EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive version received an almost identical 25-32 rating. The bigger and more powerful Murano was rated at 18-23 in all-wheel-drive trim and 18-24 when equipped with front-wheel drive. The 2014 Rogue had a starting price of $22,790 for the S version, $24,490 for the SV and $28,280 for the SL. The S Murano started at $28,530, while the SV started at $31,620, the SL at $35,480 and, finally, the range-topping LE at $37,970.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.