Not all crossovers have to succumb to the stereotype of being little more than a boring, family-hauling transportation appliance.
The latter is obvious in its attempt to stand out from the crowd. When the Murano fist came out, it looked like no other crossover on the road. With futuristic, concept car styling that favored from over function, it was the clear the Murano was not your average family hauling snoozer. Last year, the third generation Murano went on sale and although it’s still oozing style, things have been toned down a bit as it adopts more familiar styling.
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V6 vs Turbo-Four
The Murano is still powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that now makes 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Since this is a Nissan product, gear changing duties are handled by a continuously variable transmission. The best word to describe the powertrain is smooth. Power deliver is instant and linear. There are no valleys or peaks with the big V6’s output.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Nissan Murano Review – Video
Taking on the Murano is the equally new Ford Edge. Although its exterior sheet metal may lack the flash of the Nissan, the Edge does have a modern, cohesive design that’s quite attractive. Like the Murano, Ford offers a 3.5-liter V6 for the Edge, but it returns horrid fuel economy. To combat this, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine can be had that makes 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, albeit when fueled by premium gasoline.
Fuel Efficiency a Close Contest
Surprisingly, when paired to all-wheel drive, the Edge’s turbocharged four-cylinder is still rated slightly worse than Murano’s V6 in terms of fuel economy, with official figures pegged at 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway compared to the Murano’s ratings of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
In our real-world testing, this small difference in fuel economy proved true as the Edge sucked back fuel at the rate of 19.9 mpg compared to the Murano at 20.1 mpg. A higher curb weight and less efficient six-speed manual transmission can be blamed for the Ford’s greater thirst.
The turbocharged engine isn’t just thirstier; it also can’t match the Murano’s drivetrain for overall smoothness or that nice V6 sound. But it delivers power in a refined, subdued way and after a minor boost delay, offers more accessible torque and acceleration under normal driving conditions. Whereas the Murano at times takes moderate amounts of engine speed to produce forward momentum, the Edge is happy puttering along in the lower rpm range.
Fun to Drive or Refined Drive?
As tested, the Murano Platinum AWD weighs in a few hundred pounds lighter than the Edge Titanium AWD and in the corners, it’s noticeable. The Murano rotates better through a corner and behaves more like a car, while the Edge feels like a regular crossover. The Nissan’s steering is lighter and looser, yet still better communicates what the vehicle is doing. Overall, the Murano is the more fun-to-drive vehicle, but that’s not saying much, as it’s not exactly engaging.
Even if the Edge is a bit dull to drive, it makes up for it in a lot other ways. For starters, it’s incredibly smooth on the highway. Ford is doing a good job when it comes to cabin isolation and the Edge is no exception. It’s so quiet and vibration free, it feels eerily close to the Lincoln MKX.
The Murano’s brakes are a bit spongy and damper rebound control is much better in the Edge, as the Murano can get bouncy at times. The weight and effort from the Edge’s steering was also preferred by many, even if it lacks any sort of feel.
Those looking to tow a boat or small camper trailer will want to opt for the Edge, as it can be had with a tow package that allows upwards of 3,500 pounds to be hauled from behind the crossover with either the turbo engine or the V6. The Murano is only officially allowed to tow just 1,500 pounds.
|Vehicle||Ford Edge||Advantage||Nissan Murano|
|Engine||2.0 L Turbocharged Four-Cylinder||-||3.5 L V6|
|Horsepower||245 HP||Murano||260 HP|
|Torque||275 lb-ft.||Edge||240 lb-ft.|
|Weight||4,078 lbs.+||Murano||4,021 lbs.|
|Cargo Space Seats Up||39.2 cubic feet||Edge||32.1 cubic feet|
|Fuel Economy (US)||20 MPG city, 28 MPG hwy||Murano||21 MPG city, 28 MPG hwy|
|Fuel Economy (CDN)||11.5 L/100 km city, 7.8 L/100 km hwy||-||11.2 L/100 km city, 8.3 L/100 km hwy|
|Observed Fuel Economy||19.9 MPG||Murano||20.1 MPG|
|As Tested Price(US)||$46,665||Murano||$43,860|
|As Tested Price(CDN)||$52,989||Murano||$45,893|
Option for Option
The Edge features a quality-feeling interior, but it’s lacking any real style. The Murano adds a dose of style to an equally well laid out interior, but there are some cheap pieces of switch gear that feel like left over bits from a bygone era.
And speaking of bygone eras, Ford has finally ditched the much despised MyFordTouch and installed the brand’s new Sync3 infotainment software that isn’t just an improvement, it’s downright great. Not to be outdone, Nissan has an equally new version of NissanConnect that operates in a very similar fashion and is just as user friendly.
For some reason, automakers think precious metals make for good trim grades, so it’s the Murano Platinum against the Edge Titanium. As equipped, both vehicle come loaded with features like adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroofs and remote starters. The Edge takes things a step further by offering automated parking assist, rain sensing wipers and active lane keep, while the Murano counters with 360-degree parking cameras and power folding rear seats.
Space and Comfort
Spending time in the back seat of either vehicle shouldn’t be an issue, as they offer a ton of space. Despite the Edge having more room on paper, the Murano is actually the more spacious, more comfortable vehicle of the two.
SEE ALSO: Ford Edge Review
But hauling gear swings back in the Edge’s favor, as not only does it offer more cargo room overall, it also has a lower load floor.
The Verdict: 2016 Ford Edge vs 2016 Nissan Murano
The Murano is a stylish, spacious and a somewhat fun to drive crossover. But it’s missing the refinement found in the Edge. The Edge, on the other hand, is stylish, refined and spacious, but it’s missing some of that fun-to-drive factor. So what to pick?
Well, as tested, the Murano is about $2,800 cheaper and scores slightly better on the IIHS crash tests. That alone could be the deciding factor for many. But for my money, I’d still take the Ford. It’s elegant, surefooted and feels a step above the Murano from behind the wheel.