2021 Chevy Blazer or Nissan Murano: The Better Base Model Is Clear

There are plenty of great midsize SUVs on the market, including the Nissan Murano and Chevy Blazer. The former saw a refresh for the 2019 model year and gained a bigger safety suite for 2021. And the Blazer appeals to shoppers because it’s a relatively newer model.

Both crossovers appear on U.S. News’ list of best two-row SUVs for 2021. And both were finalists in terms of value. But only one can boast the better base model.

The 2021 Nissan Murano is the better value

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The Nissan Murano’s starting price is a tad higher compared to its rivals, U.S. News notes. The entry-level Murano S costs nearly $4,000 more than the comparable Chevy Blazer L. However, the Nissan Murano S comes with more standard amenities, including advanced safety features.

Plus, the Murano is also less expensive than the Blazer on average, at around $37,000. By contrast, most consumers pay upward of $40,000 for a Blazer to get more tech features or a more powerful engine.

The 2021 Chevy Blazer is still a good buy

The base-model Chevy Blazer L comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, Chevrolet claims. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive also come standard. Car and Driver says the engine provides sufficient power in most situations but struggles to accelerate or pass other cars.

On the plus side, this engine is the most fuel-efficient of the bunch, rated for 22/27 mpg city/highway. Car and Driver also praises the Blazer for sportier handling than many other crossovers. The Blazer L rides on 18-inch aluminum wheels with all-weather tires. Heated outside mirrors are standard, as do LED daytime running lights and taillights. 

The Chevy Blazer L holds up to five riders on cloth seats. There’s plenty of room to stretch your limbs in the cabin, but the second row is a tad restrictive. You can adjust the driver’s seat with a manual six-way lever. And active noise cancellation keeps the interior peaceful.

The Chevy Blazer L is decently equipped with infotainment tech. Expect a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, a few USB ports, dual-zone climate control, and smartphone integration. The Blazer L doesn’t come with many advanced driver’s aids besides cruise control, a rear-seat reminder, and Teen Driver, a system that teaches new drivers safe driving habits.

The 2021 Nissan Murano’s other perks

The V6 in the base-model Murano S brings more power to the table, with 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, Nissan‘s website shows. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and comes with FWD. Unfortunately, the CVT’s noise at high speeds can become grating over time.

Edmunds praises the Murano’s handling, though the brakes could use some work. The base model’s gas mileage is also on par with the Blazer’s, albeit a bit less efficient in the city. The Murano doesn’t have heated outside mirrors like the Blazer, but they have LED lights that blink in sync with turn signals.

The Nissan Murano’s base model offers room for five on cloth-upholstered seating. Both rows are adult-friendly. Front passengers get a manual adjustment lever, and rear-row riders can recline their seats. Infotainment features include smartphone integration, voice recognition, Bluetooth, and speed-sensitive volume control.

The Nissan Murano’s biggest advantage over the Chevy Blazer is safety tech. It comes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, forward and rear collision warning, rear-cross traffic alert, and driver drowsiness warning. Both the 2021 Blazer and Murano have 5-star safety ratings, but most consumers are willing to pay extra for more security.