Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Toyota Highlander Has an Advantage Over the Nissan Murano

The Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano compete in one of the largest and stiffest segments in the industry. Both offering reliability, affordability, and cargo space, the midsize Highlander and Murano are among the most popular SUVs in the country. But the 2020 Toyota Highlander has one advantage that may win buyers over from the Nissan lot.

What buyers will love about the 2020 Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is fully redesigned for the new model year, offering more to buyers than ever before. According to U.S. News, the 2020 Toyota Highlander comes with a “great predicted reliability rating, a sizable cargo hold, and a gentle ride,” but that’s not it.

In fact, the experts find very few weaknesses with the new Highlander. Among its best attributes are the Highlander’s quality and comfortable ride, an upscale interior, as well as its multitude of trims, powertrains, and available options.

Its updated engine is among the most powerful in its class, making up to 295 hp, and it offers competitive fuel economy ratings of up to 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The newest Nissan Murano doesn’t receive the same major updates the Toyota Highlander gets for 2020, but that won’t earn the Murano any disrespect. The Nissan Murano has one of the plushest, roomiest cabins of all two-row SUVs in the segment, making it one of the most comfortable midsize SUVs available.

In addition to a spacious interior, the Murano boasts up to 28 mpg on the highway and a slew of standard tech and infotainment features Nissan has come to be known for. 

Where the 2020 Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano could use improvements

RELATED: The 2017 Toyota Highlander Is a Great Family Friendly Used SUV

Both the 2020 Toyota Highlander and 2020 Nissan Murano receive an overall score of 7.6 (out of 10.0) from U.S. News, positioning both SUVs in the middle of the rankings, at No. 15. But, U.S. News experts still feel the 2020 Nissan Murano has plenty of work to do, stating that “it looks rather dull next to its class competitors.”

The Murano has not received a major update since the 2015 model year, and it shows. When compared to class leaders in the segment, the Murano’s interior styling is dated, and its platform needs improvement to address poor steering feedback and less-than-sharp handling. The Murano is also not suitable for large families, as the two-row SUV only seats up to five passengers.

Although the Toyota Highlander can seat seven or eight passengers with an optional third-row, the third-row is a tighter squeeze than in similar SUVs within the segment. The Highlander’s acceleration and handling could also use some work, but both are decent considering the size of the Highlander.

According to Car and Driver, the Toyota Highlander’s “handling is unexciting but stable, and the ride is perfectly suitable for family-chauffeur duty.” In the stiff midsize SUV segment, the Highlander also carries one of the highest starting prices.

The one reason buyers will favor the Highlander

When it comes to SUV shopping, buyers are typically more concerned with size and capability than anything else. In this regard, the 2020 Toyota Highlander comes out on top. While the Murano offers a slew of safety and tech features, the Highlander offers more passenger space with a third row, but also more cargo space throughout.

In fact, according to CarBuzz, the 2020 Toyota Highlander has nearly 85 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Nissan Murano has only 67 cubic feet. In addition to a more spacious interior, the Toyota Highlander also comes with a more powerful engine that accelerates and handles better than the Murano.