We haven’t quite had the chance to drive the new Honda Passport (first drive coming end of February) and it’s been a while since we got behind the wheel of the Nissan Murano.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t compare how the 2019 Honda Passport and the 2019 Nissan Murano stack up in terms of interior space, value, and specs. These two 5-seat sport utility vehicles will likely be the most comfortable options in their segment given both automaker’s DNA and they also standout in the versatility department.
If you don’t need a third row but want the added size and interior space of a mid-size SUV, you’ll definitely want to check out the Honda Passport and Nissan Murano along with the Ford Edge.
The 2019 Honda Passport is brand-new. Introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Honda’s new SUV will slot between the Honda CR-V and Pilot in the Honda SUV lineup. The Murano has been around for a while now in its current form, but Nissan’s five-seat SUV did get a refresh at the L.A. Auto Show as well.
In other words, you’re getting two modern mid-size SUVs here. Add to that the new Ford Edge and you have three young SUVs to choose from. But which is more spacious? And which gives you more bang for your buck? Let’s take a look.
The Nissan Murano got a few cosmetic changes this year, but under the hood its basically the status quo. The new Murano gets a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. When we last drove Nissan’s mid-size SUV, we noted the smoothness of the powertrain and the standard CVT automatic gearbox.
The Murano is not an SUV that pushes the boundaries in terms of sportiness and performance. It puts comfort and refinement first. It’s available as a front-wheel drive model out of the gate but most versions get standard all-wheel drive. The Murano isn’t designed to go far off the beaten path. It’s AWD system is more suited to tackling snow on suburban avenues than a dirt path in the middle of the forest.
The Honda Passport also gets a 3.5-liter V6, but it’s more powerful than the Murano’s with 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It gets a 9-speed automatic gearbox in lieu of a CVT and AWD is standard.
Moreover, the Passport has been marketed as a capable off-roader and gets various drive modes for mud, sand and snow, among others.
Although we haven’t had a chance to evaluate the Passport’s driving dynamics just yet, we expect it to be more worthy off-roader than the Murano. It may not be as comfortable and quiet, but it probably won’t be far off given Honda’s usual DNA. Given that Honda wants it to be good off the beaten path, it may be a bit less comfortable than, say, a CR-V or Pilot. We’ll see.
The biggest difference we can tell so far is the extra power and the fact that the Passport foregoes the CVT. For many buyers, that’s a definite bonus.
Anyone who wants to tow anything will want to check the Passport first and probably forget about the Murano. The latter can tow up to 1,500 pounds while the Honda can tow 3,500 pounds standard and 5,000 pounds with a tow package.
The 2019 Honda Passport is packed with standard features, but it’s also quite a bit more expensive than the Nissan Murano. Starting at $41,990, the Passport is a good $9,000 more than the 2019 Murano.
Now, the Murano is FWD out of the gate ($32,248) but even with all-wheel drive, you’ll pay less for the Nissan ($38,748). The Passport has fairly high interest rates on both leasing and financing so that’s something to take into account as well. In simple terms, the Honda Passport is more expensive by a noticeable margin.
The Murano gets standard 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, automatic braking, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the base front-wheel drive model. AWD models get a power tailgate, power panoramic moonroof, dual-zone climate heated steering wheel and remote start.
The new Passport gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well, heated front seats, LaneWatch blind spot monitoring, 20-inch wheels, remote engine start, heated steering wheel and a 3-zone automatic climate controls.
That’s a bit more than the Murano, but the biggest gap between both SUVs is in the safety technology department. The new Passport gets standard Honda Sensing with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and prevention, and automatic braking with forward collision warning among other features. You can get these features in the Murano, but you’ll have to go up in trims and it will cost you more.
Interior Space and Cargo Capacity
The 2019 Honda Passport has more cargo capacity and interior space than the Murano. The Honda offers 1,167 liters with all seats in place while the Murano gets 908 liters. That’s a noticeable difference.
There’s a total of 3,254 liters of passenger space in the Passport compared to just over 3,000 liters in the Murano.
We don’t know how the Passport compares to the Murano in terms of driving dynamics just yet. We do know that the Honda is more expensive. It probably won’t be as comfortable as the Murano which is the comfort benchmark in this segment, but some buyers may feel it makes up for it in features, interior space, towing capacity, and off-road capability.