As you venture into the midsize two-row crossover segment, you’ll notice it’s a little crowded. There is no shortage of offerings, and with the Chevy Blazer returning from an extended absence, things have gotten even more interesting. So, what happens when you compare a tenured midsize offering such as the Nissan Murano with an iconic upstart, such as the Chevy Blazer? You get a classic battle of old vs new: 2020 Chevy Blazer vs 2020 Nissan Murano. This is a comparison that is sure to answer the question: is modern better?
The strange thing is, though, this time around, it’s the Blazer taking on the role of the modern SUV, while the Nissan Murano represents the old guard. The Murano’s current generation debuted with the 2015 model year, back when Mad Men was still on the air, and streaming music was a revelation. The Murano is showing its age while the Blazer returned refreshed and rejuvenated from its iconic nap with the 2019 model year—with cutting-edge, turbocharged power, lots of standard technology, a performance-minded RS model, and Camaro-inspired style. But let’s take a closer look at how these two SUVs compare.
A Quick Blazer Rundown
Because the Blazer is out, updated, and new after taking a brief leave, it might be useful to quickly go through what it offers inside with its plethora of standard features. When auto manufacturers bring iconic nameplates back, often, the finished product is disappointing, not living up to the previous generations. But the 2020 Chevy Blazer takes a different tact. While the Blazer name is synonymous with rugged, off-road capability, the current generation seeks a more modern, refined approach. This is purposeful, as those looking for an urban crossover SUV with superior on-road competence will find the reborn Blazer among the best options in its class.
Part of the Blazer’s modern charm is the long list of standard features. Included with the base model, you will find features such as an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, four USB ports, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, and keyless entry/ignition. That’s quite a list, and with many options and engine configurations, there is sure to be a trim level built for everyone’s needs.
Moving up trims means even more modern amenities. The 2020 Chevy Blazer features a seemingly endless list of available tech and convenience: 21-inch alloy wheels, a 360-degree camera system, Wi-Fi, wireless charging, a panoramic sunroof, up to six USB ports, automatic high beams, a Bose 8-speaker audio system, and a gesture-controlled tailgate. You will also appreciate the new interior stylings, as the new Blazer’s interior and exterior are inspired by the sporty Camaro and designed with the modern family in mind. Now that you know a little more about the Blazer’s new package let’s take a look at how it compares to the Murano.
An area the 2020 Chevy Blazer excels is with its many powertrain options. With three engines to choose from, you are sure to find the powertrain designed specifically for your lifestyle and needs. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 with 193 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. This is an excellent option for the base engine as it provides good power while also returning 21/27 MPG. The next option is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 230 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. If you are looking for more power, you cannot go wrong with this turbocharged option for the Blazer. Fuel efficiency actually improves a little with this engine, so you will not have to sacrifice the economy for more power. The turbocharged inline-4 returns 21/28 MPG. This engine is new for the 2020 model year and brings an impressive combination of power and efficiency. It is standard for the middle trim levels—the 2LT and 3LT models—which makes for a nice, affordable addition to the Blazer’s lineup.
The 2020 Chevy Blazer’s other engine option is a 3.6-liter V6 with 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. This engine returns a respectable 19/26 MPG while also giving buyers an opportunity for a performance-minded powertrain. This comes standard with the Camaro-inspired RS model and can also be had for only $500 on the 2LT and 3LT trims. Making this engine available and affordable for the mid-level trims is a great option for buyers.
The 2020 Nissan Murano offers only one engine, so if you don’t like it, or if it doesn’t offer enough utility for your lifestyle, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque that returns 20/28 MPG and is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The engine is a good one, but it’s quickly turning from tried-and-true to simply outdated. Also, the lack of a modern transmission does not help it compete with the Blazer’s 9-speed automatic transmission.
Where the 2020 Nissan Murano really falters is in its lack of utility—and this is where most of the value lies for a midsize SUV. The Murano can only tow 1,500 pounds, so if you need your SUV to tow occasionally, you might be better off with another vehicle. For perspective, Chevy’s subcompact crossover, the Chevy Trax, can tow more than twice as much as the midsize Murano, with a 3,500-pound towing capacity. The Blazer can not only tow much more weight than the Murano, but it also comes with modern trailering tech systems, like Hitch Guidance with Hitch View. These systems utilize the rear backup camera to output two views on the central infotainment screen, providing dynamic guidelines for the Blazer and for the trailer hitch.
With a puzzling lack of towing ability and engine choices, the 2020 Nissan Murano does not fare well when compared to the 2020 Chevy Blazer. The Blazer offers an engine choice for everyone. Whether you are an enthusiast looking for sporty performance or are just looking for a carpool-ready SUV that can also tow your boat to the lake, the Blazer offers a powertrain for all occasions.
A Sign of the Times
If you are looking for a modern SUV loaded with technology and convenience features, and with great powertrain options, the Chevy Blazer is the clear choice here. The 2020 Nissan Murano seems conflicted in these times, unsure of its purpose, while the Blazer clearly knows who it is: an urban, performance-minded SUV with a history of playing in the mud. Its robust towing capacity of 4,500 pounds towers over the Murano’s 1,500-pound capacity, and its ability to morph into everyone’s perfect SUV makes this an easy choice.
The Murano is starting to show its age. In only offering a CVT transmission, it loses the advantages modern technology brings, such as maximizing its towing capacity. A CVT is better suited for city driving. If you need an SUV for long commutes or road trips, towing, or performance driving, a conventional automatic transmission is the better choice. The 2020 Chevy Blazer benefits from a modern powertrain and is built with the modern family in mind. It can do everything expected of an SUV, something the Murano cannot claim.
Which One is Better?
If it was not obvious already, the Blazer is more indicative of what buyers expect from an SUV these days. It’s the complete package you’ve come to expect from a vehicle, able to tow when needed, accelerate into turns, and entertain—all with plenty of space for your family and friends. If you are looking for a vehicle that is loaded with the latest technology—a vehicle that better represents present-day concerns with an eye to the future—there is no better option in the midsize segment than the 2020 Chevy Blazer.