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2021 Nissan Rogue vs. CR-V, Escape, Equinox and RAV4: Compact SUVs compared

Here's how Nissan's new Rogue stacks up against its key competitors, the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

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The Rogue is much better looking than before.

Nissan

Compact SUVs are hotter than ever and with the major update of the 2021 Nissan Rogue this week -- one the segment's fiercest competitors -- the spotlight is once again shining on this all-important vehicle class.

To see how the third-generation Rogue stacks up, this tale of the tape will pit it against the Chevrolet EquinoxFord Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Of course, these aren't the only models that comprise this class -- you could also check out the Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester or Volkswagen Tiguan, among others -- but we think this is a fairly matched quintet.

There is a surprisingly wide range of engine and drivetrain options available in this class, from naturally aspirated inline-fours to small turbocharged three-cylinders to hybrid and performance models. To even today's playing field, we'll be narrowing down to the models most competitive with the Rogue's standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Because all-wheel drive is a huge draw for SUV buyers, we'll be looking at numbers for AWD trims where possible.

Dimensions


Length Width Height Wheelbase
Nissan Rogue 183.0 in 72.4 in 66.9 in 106.5 in
Ford Escape 181.3 in 74.1 in 66.1 in 106.7 in
Toyota RAV4 180.9 in 73.0 in 67.0 in 105.9 in
Honda CR-V 182.1 in 73.0 in 66.5 in 104.7 in
Chevy Equinox 183.1 in 72.6 in 65.4 in 107.3 in

Power and efficiency

The Rogue's 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque are pretty average for this class. Its CVT promises quieter performance, improved responsiveness and better efficiency than before, but we'll have to hit the road to test that claim later this year.

At 203 hp, RAV4 is the most powerful of the bunch. Interestingly, the Equinox's 170 hp seems to place it at the bottom of the list, but its 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder's 203 lb-ft of torque tell a different story.

Powertrain


Engine Power Torque Transmission
Nissan Rogue 2.5-liter I4 181 hp 181 lb-ft CVT
Ford Escape 1.5-liter turbo I3 181 hp 190 lb-ft 8-speed auto
Toyota RAV4 2.5-liter I4 203 hp 184 lb-ft 8-speed auto
Honda CR-V 1.5-liter turbo I4 190 hp 179 lb-ft CVT
Chevy Equinox 1.5-liter turbo I4 170 hp 203 lb-ft 6-speed auto

Tucking into the fuel economy estimates again reveals a fairly even playing field with an average of 28 combined miles per gallon for the pack. The Rogue's 25 city, 32 highway and 28 combined mpg place it squarely in the middle of the class alongside the Ford and Toyota. The CR-V's small turbo and CVT combo help eke out a very small lead with its 27 city and 29 highway estimate, while the also-turbocharged Equinox's 27 combined mpg place it, just barely, in last place.

With just an mpg or two difference between the best and the worst, though, your mileage will vary more based on your driving habits than your vehicle choice. Truly eco-minded drivers will want to look at the hybrid (and plug-in hybrid) variants of the Escape, RAV4 and CR-V.

Fuel economy (AWD)


City Highway Combined
Nissan Rogue 25 mpg 32 mpg 28 mpg
Ford Escape 26 mpg 31 mpg 28 mpg
Toyota RAV4 25 mpg 33 mpg 28 mpg
Honda CR-V 27 mpg 32 mpg 29 mpg
Chevy Equinox 25 mpg 30 mpg 27 mpg

Cargo space

One good thing about SUVs is that there's usually a lot of space in their big ol' backsides for cargo and bulky items. But in this compact crossover class, there may not always be as much room as you'd think.

The Rogue and the CR-V lead this category, each offering about 39 cubic feet of cargo space behind their folding second row. Lay the bench flat, however, and the Honda gains a slight advantage with its 75.8 cubic feet versus Nissan's 74.1. However, as a fan of the Rogue's Divide-n-Hide organization system, I still think the Nissan's hatch makes more practical use of its space for smaller and oddly shaped items, like bags of groceries.

The Escape and RAV4 also boast similarly sized holds with the Toyota edging out the advantage with its nearly 70 cubic feet of total capacity. And at 29.9 to 63.9 cubic feet, the Equinox brings up the rear.

Cargo Space


Seats up Seats folded
Nissan Rogue 39.3 cu-ft 74.1 cu-ft
Ford Escape 37.5 cu-ft 65.4 cu-ft
Toyota RAV4 37.6 cu-ft 69.8 cu-ft
Honda CR-V 39.2 cu-ft 75.8 cu-ft
Chevy Equinox 29.9 cu-ft 63.9 cu-ft

People space

Of course, the most precious cargo an SUV can carry are the souls in the seats. To get an idea of which house has the best seat, we go again to the numbers.

The Nissan's more upright design and a redesign of its NASA-inspired Zero-Gravity seats rocket the Rogue to the top with the most front row head and legroom of the bunch. Second row seating, however, still suffers a bit compared to the rest with average headroom and the least room for legs.

Passengers with long walking sticks will appreciate the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, which lead the pack with over 40 inches of legroom each.

Interior Space


Front headroom Front legroom Rear headroom Rear legroom
Nissan Rogue 41.1 in 43.3 in 39.2 in 36.8 in
Ford Escape 40.0 in 42.4 in 39.3 in 40.7 in
Toyota RAV4 37.7 in 41.0 in 39.5 in 37.8 in
Honda CR-V 40.1 in 41.3 in 39.2 in 40.4 in
Chevy Equinox 40.0 in 40.9 in 38.5 in 39.9 in

Technology

Harder to measure by the numbers is cabin and safety tech. The Rogue is available with a large 9-inch infotainment display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster at its upper trim levels -- among the largest screens in this class.

With few exceptions, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on most of the players here, which somewhat evens the tech playing field for buyers not interested in paying for mpas. (The Ford requires a step up to the SE trim level to reach Sync 3 and gain the functionality.) All feature decent available navigation and app ecosystems for those who'd prefer onboard software.

The biggest differences come in the safety tech department. All of the vehicles here are available with decent mixes of active and passive safety systems and advanced driver aid technologies, but Honda and Toyota stand apart with the best standard safety tech offering land keeping, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and more across the board with no options required.

Nissan's standard Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite is not as extensive as Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 or Honda Sensing, but the Rogue is optionally available with the new ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link -- arguably the most advanced driver aid suite in this class. The system features upgrades to its lane centering technology with improved traffic jam assist and now ties into the navigation system to bring route-based speed control to the party. That last bit has only been available on luxury vehicles before now, so it's kind of a big deal.

Pricing

Pricing for the 2021 Nissan Rogue hasn't been announced just yet, and while there will probably be an increase over the current model's $25,300 base price ($26,650 with all-wheel drive), due to the increased standard content, we don't expect it'll be a dramatic bump. The top end of the spectrum, however, is a bigger question mark with a new Platinum model joining the lineup and likely raising the price ceiling.

With the exception of the Equinox -- which, at $29,100, is the most expensive of the bunch -- most of this group lands in the same $27,000-ish entry point with all-wheel drive. With a strong to average showing by most of today's metrics, if the new Rogue keeps its price in check, it will be a very strong competitor among this field when it arrives this fall.

Pricing


Base price Destination charge
Nissan Rogue S AWD TBD TBD
Ford Escape S AWD $26,385 $1,245
Toyota RAV4 LE AWD $27,350 $1,120
Honda CR-V LX AWD $26,550 $1,120
Chevy Equinox LT AWD $29,100 $1,195