In the past, if you needed a mid-sized family vehicle you shopped for a station wagon. And that was fine…if you didn’t mind a conservatively-designed, boring-to-drive car that your teens were embarrassed to be seen in. These days, however, drivers searching for a family vehicle have more options at their disposal thanks to the growing popularity of the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) market.
Straddling the line between a car and an SUV, a CUV takes everything that was good about station wagons – plenty of seating, good fuel efficiency, and strong safety features – and jazzes that up with a more stylish exterior design, more versatile performance, and more luxury. Given everything today’s CUVs provide it’s obvious why they’re among the most popular family vehicles in America.
Positioned at the top of the very competitive CUV market are the 2013 Honda Crosstour and 2013 Nissan Murano. Either one of these CUVs is a great fit for families on the go, but does that mean they’re created equal? Hardly. Read our full comparative analysis to see why we believe there’s only one choice when shopping for a CUV in 2013.
2013 Honda Crosstour
Introduced in 2012 as a roomier alternative to the very popular Accord, the 2013 Crosstour has been updated to give it a more unique personality. Thanks to its hatchback design, ample headspace and legroom, four more inches of ground clearance than the Accord, and a 60/40 split rear seatback, it’s clear that Honda is pushing the 2013 Crosstour as a CUV.
Has Honda succeeded in distinguishing the Crosstour from its Accord sibling? We think so. But to judge for yourself you really need to get behind the wheel of a Crosstour. Fladeboe Honda in Irvine, California offer some great deals on the 2013 Honda Crosstour, so if you’re shopping in Orange County swing on by and take the 2013 Crosstour for a test drive.
Once you’ve been out on the road with the 2013 Honda Crosstour we’re confident you’ll come to appreciate the crisp handling and versatility it has to offer.
2013 Nissan Murano
Built on top of Altima running gear, the 2013 Murano isn’t the most rugged CUV out there. It lacks a third row with seating for sixth and seventh passengers and its maximum towing capacity is a modest 3,500 pounds. However, it makes up for these shortcomings by offering decent fuel efficiency – great if you’re planning on using the Murano to haul the family all over California – and a pleasingly stylish design.
Despite its relatively tall stance the 2013 Murano handles well, especially through corners. The 2013 Murano’s 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 is coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission, and although this set-up lacks the precision of a manual transmission it works well and shifts smoothly between gears.
The 2013 Murano won’t wow you with its versatility and raw power. That’s not what it’s aiming for. Rather, it aims to be a comfortable, stylish family vehicle and it largely succeeds at that goal.
Honda and Nissan are archrivals that, generally, are pretty well-matched. But when we look in detail at the 2013 Crosstour and 2013 Murano the contest isn’t all that close.
When you’re shopping for a family vehicle safety is a top priority. Both the 2013 Crosstour and 2013 Murano earned good marks in safety tests, but due to its sloping roofline and wide rear pillar the Murano’s outward visibility isn’t great.
The Crosstour, by comparison, comes equipped with Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, which shows drivers a wide-angle view alongside the vehicle whenever they go to change lanes. It’s an awesome safety feature and enough to tip this category in the Crosstour’s favor. EDGE: 2013 Honda Crosstour
The 2013 Nissan Murano’s V-6 engine isn’t a gas hog and you can expect about 18 mpg city / 23 mpg highway from it. Not bad, and enough to land the 2013 Murano solidly in the mid-tier for fuel efficiency in the CUV segment.
The 2013 Honda Crosstour is available in both four-cylinder and V-6 iterations. If you go with the four-cylinder you’ll get an EPA-rated 22 mpg city / 31 mpg highway; go with the V-6 and you can expect 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway. Any way you look at it, the Crosstour beats out the Murano when it comes to fuel efficiency. EDGE: 2013 Honda Crosstour
And The Winner Is…
We won’t go so far as to say it’s no contest, as there really is a lot to like about the 2013 Nissan Murano, but when the Murano goes head-to-head against the 2013 Honda Crosstour it simply comes up short.
The 2013 Honda Crosstour has carved out a niche for itself in the crowded CUV market by offering superb performance, loads of awesome safety features like Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, and solid fuel efficiency.
If you’re looking for a stylish family vehicle that combines form and function the 2013 Honda Crosstour comes with our highest recommendation.