Gone are the days when SUVs were too big for some people’s liking. Midsize SUVs are getting more in demand, and car manufacturers have answered the call. Now, a buyer no longer needs to sacrifice comfort and size for style and performance or vice versa. The only challenge now is which to pick among the many options available. Here we take a closer look at two midsize SUVs with two rows: the 2020 Chevy Blazer vs the 2020 Nissan Murano.
BATTLE OF PERFORMANCE
The base model 2020 Chevy Blazer has enough muscle with its 193-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It does a good job when driving around town. But you may find the power of the engine underwhelming when merging and passing on the highway. The good news is you may opt for the fully loaded Blazer which has a more powerful engine at 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6. This engine does better when it comes to acceleration and gives you more confidence in passing vehicles along the highway.
For the 2020 Murano, a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine comes standard, and it also does a decent job keeping up with traffic and passing other vehicles on the highway. However, it is a little sluggish when it comes to accelerating from a stop.
For head-to-head battle, we will only be comparing their base models. When it comes to horsepower, the Murano’s 3.5-liter V6 engine edges Blazer’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder with more than 67 horsepower. The Murano also beats the Blazer when it comes to speed during test drive.
Blazers with 2.5-liter engines have excellent fuel economy. The 4-cylinder Blazer delivers 21 miles per gallon when driving in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway. Its fuel efficiency is attributed to the use of stop-start technology.
The 2020 Murano also does well in gas mileage. Per EPA, it gets 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. This is commendable considering other midsize SUVs have smaller engines and more thirsty for fuel.
When it comes to fuel mileage, there’s little difference between the two. It appears that when driving in the city Blazers are more fuel efficient but when it comes to highway driving, Murano does better. But you can save more money on fuel with Murano as it uses regular unleaded gasoline. On the other hand, the upper trim Blazers need premium to get maximum fuel efficiency, which costs more per gallon.
All models of 2020 Murano come with a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). There are no steps between gears which saves on gas since it keeps the engine at the most efficient speed or keeps it at its peak horsepower for an unlimited period for maximum acceleration. The Blazers, on the other hand, do not have CVT. They have a nine-speed automatic transmission instead. While it works well in general, it is slow to downshift at times.
Ride and Handling
Both the standard Blazer and Murano’s suspension system do a good job in driving over road bumps and potholes. They offer a smooth ride. But Blazer has an edge over Murano when it comes to athleticism with its agile handling. During test drive, Blazer was very responsive on twisty roads and was engaging to drive. Its accurate steering was impressive and it also has a noteworthy braking capability. The only negative comment when it comes to ride with Blazer is that the models with larger wheels can be too harsh for some. The 2.5-liter 4 cylinder engine comes with front-wheel drive only. If you want all-wheel drive, you would need to get the top-of-the-line version with the V6 engine.
Murano, on the other hand, while offering good highway stability with its steering, was dull and unresponsive on twisty two-lanes. Still, it can deliver you safely, it just isn’t as engaging as a Blazer does with its athletic handling. It focuses more on ride comfort. Murano is best on long-distance highway journeys. It comes standard with front-wheel drive but you can add all-wheel drive to any trim.
When it comes to tow rating, front-drive models of Blazer offer the same tow capacity of Muranos at 1500 pounds, but the all-wheel drive versions of Blazer can tow up to 4500 pounds.
The Blazer can fit up to five people inside its cabin. There is plenty of legroom and headroom for the front seats. But the front seats have small cushions which lack support. The rear seats also have plenty of legroom, however, the slope design of the Blazer’s roofline and its panoramic moonroof created less headroom at the back which is not ideal for 6-foot plus passengers. Blazer comes with two complete sets of Latch connectors for its rear outboard seats making it child-friendly.
Murano has the same seating capacity as the Blazer. The difference is Murano has a generous amount of head and legroom in both the front and the rear seats. Thanks to Nissan’s “Zero Gravity” feature, you can enjoy superb comfort except for the middle seat in the rear. Like the Blazer, Murano has two sets of Latch car-seat connections with the addition of an upper tether in the rear middle seat.
2020 Blazer’s cabin is known for its noticeable Camaro-inspired design. It comes with cloth upholstery, circular air vents, red accents and hexagon-shaped infotainment system. While most of the interior materials are soft to touch, there is much to be desired when it comes to quality. If you are looking for a more expensive looking interior, you would have to go for the fancier models which come with leather surfaces, not the standard one. Even the mid-level ones have cheap materials.
Just like the Blazer, the base model of Murano comes with cloth upholstery and soft to touch surfaces. What sets it apart from the Blazer and other midsize SUVs is its faux wood trim, but this also makes it less contemporary-looking compared to Blazer.
Blazer’s small cargo space makes it less desirable compared to other midsize SUVs. There is 30.5 cubic feet of space behind the second row seat, and if you fold down the back row the space can expand to 64.2 cubic feet. Loading heavy objects is a challenge as well with its high liftover height. There is a cargo management system that comes with a floor-mounted rail which keeps your cargo stable when the vehicle is moving and the cargo can also be separated using the available sliding fence. The hands-free liftgate feature is also available.
Murano has a larger cargo space than the Blazer. It has 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seat and can expand to 67 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. Most reviewers are also happy with Murano’s cargo-loading abilities. The easy to fold rear seats plus the low cargo floor make it easy to load items. Just like the Blazer, it has a hands-free liftgate feature.
The Blazer comes with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system interface which includes an eight-inch touch screen with crisp graphics, user-friendly shortcut bar, logically arranged menus and responsive touch controls. People love this feature. The infotainment also allows users to make and customize driver profiles so you can set preferences for audio, lighting and climate. The standard infotainment system also includes six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and 4 USB ports. The 2020 Blazer also has a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, rear-seat reminder and proximity keyless entry. On top of those, other available features you can add include navigation enhanced voice recognition, an 8-speaker Bose premium sound system, a satellite radio, wiFi hotspot, an eight inch driver info display, and wireless device charging. Blazer’s interior for upper trims is also enhanced with its ambient lighting.
The 2020 Murano can definitely keep up with Blazer’s infotainment system with its NissanConnect Infotainment system. It has an eight-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice recognition, four USB ports, six speakers and radio. Its infotainment system also has a crisp display and you can add shortcuts to menu items you frequently used. It is very user friendly. If you want a better sound system, you can include an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system. You need to have an upgraded NissanConnect Infotainment if you want to include a navigation feature.
The National Highway Safety Administration rated the 2020 Chevrolet Blazer’s overall safety with five out of five stars. Specifically, NHTSA gave Blazer five stars for frontal and side crash tests, while it gave it 4 stars in the rollover test. It also got a top rating of Good from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. IIHS only conducted two safety tests.
2020 Blazer’s advanced safety features come standard with a rearview camera and a rear-seat reminder which reminds you to check the rear seat for children or pets before getting out of the vehicle. Other safety features available are: surround-view parking camera system, a rear camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, safety alert seat, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert with distance indicator, and forward collision alert.
The 2020 Nissan Murano also earned five out of five stars for overall safety as rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just like the 2020 Blazer, it got five stars in the frontal and side crash tests while four stars in the rollover test. It hasn’t been crash tested yet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Murano is packed with generous standard safety features including driver drowsiness monitoring, rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear-seat reminder system that alerts you in case you accidentally leave something in the back seat after going out of the vehicle. Other available safety features are: lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, rear automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, front & rear parking sensors, surround-view parking camera system, pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights, and LED fog lights.
Ratings for reliability for 2020 Chevy Blazer is not yet available. What we do know is that there are no safety recalls issued by the National Highway Safety Administration. In terms of warranty, the 2020 Blazer has: a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a three-year/36,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty.
The 2020 Nissan Murano earned a 3.5 out of five reliability rating given by J.D. Power. It has the same warranty as the Blazer’s.
When it comes to Ergonomics, Murano has an edge over Blazer. With the Murano, you can conveniently open and close front windows with one touch of the switches. The Blazer’s front passenger window, on the other hand, does not close automatically. Moreover, you can close the front windows of the Murano even if you are outside the vehicle using the outside door handle. A Murano driver can also lower the windows from a distance with the keyless remote. With the Blazer, you can only close the windows when you are inside the vehicle and when the ignition is on.
The base model of the 2020 Chevy Blazer is cheaper with its $28,800 MSRP than the 2020 Nissan Murano’s base model which costs $S31,530 (MSRP). Reviewers advised to shell out more thousands for the upper trim Chevy Blazer to get better value for the cost.
When checking vehicle review sites, you would notice right away that the 2020 Nissan Murano is ranked higher than the 2020 Chevy Blazer. The Murano takes the lead when it comes to overall performance, space and comfort. But it all comes down to your preferences, both have intuitive infotainment systems, great fuel economy and are rated well when it comes to safety. If you’re looking for comfort, roomy cabin and bigger cargo space then the 2020 Nissan Murano is perfect for you. If you’re more into a sporty looking vehicle with agile handling, then the 2020 Chevy Blazer is the better choice.