Which crossover will reign supreme?
The 2021 Nissan Rogue was just revealed with an all-new generation and straight away, it has one of the most difficult tasks imaginable - compete with the 2020 Toyota RAV4. Toyota has sold more than 10 million copies of the RAV4 since its introduction and last year in 2019, it was the best-selling non-truck in America with 448,068 units sold. Matching the RAV4's massive sales volume will be a herculean task but this latest Rogue looks up to the challenge.
2019 was a down sales year for the Rogue with just 350,447 units but back in 2017 and 2018, it came within just a few thousand units of the mighty RAV4. With a completely redefined model coming for the 2021 model year, the Rogue has a legitimate shot at becoming the best-selling passenger car in the US.
The last Rogue was nothing special to look at but this new one offers some interesting new styling features. Nissan's decision to keep using a split headlight design will likely create some split opinions but it's impossible to argue that this new Rogue isn't more exciting to look at. By comparison, the RAV4 looks a bit more rugged thanks to its square wheel arch design but from the side profile, there isn't too much to differentiate them.
Modern cars are often criticized for looking too similar but the Rogue and RAV4 take this to a new level. If we de-badged them and showed them only from the side profile, it would be difficult to tell them apart. Even the C-pillars have the same shape.
Nissan has come to play here with an interior that wouldn't look out of place in an Infiniti. Updates to the cabin include a larger touchscreen display, a head-up display, a digital instrument cluster, and quilted leather seats. The RAV4's cabin looks a bit dated, by comparison, giving Nissan a clear advantage.
Nissan has only revealed one engine for the Rogue so far, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 181 horsepower and the same amount of torque going out through a continuously variable transmission to front- or all-wheel-drive. The RAV4 also uses a 2.5-liter engine but it sends more grunt, 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, out through an eight-speed automatic to FWD or AWD. Toyota also offers the RAV4 Hybrid, which bumps the power to 219 hp and the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, which offers a whopping 302 hp. On the performance front then, Toyota holds the advantage.
The new Rogue boasts 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which opens up to 74.1 cubic feet with the seats folded. Nissan has also included clever storage solutions like a trunk divider and an area on the side that can perfectly fit a gallon of milk so it doesn't roll around. The RAV4 is just a bit larger with the seats up (37.6 cubic feet) but smaller overall with the seats folded (69.8 cubic feet). It also lacks the Rogue's clever cargo solutions. Advantage, Nissan. In this segment, practicality is highly important, so it may be a single point, but it carries a lot of weight in the Nissan's favor.
Nissan has not confirmed pricing for the 2021 Rogue but if it remains close to the 2020 model, it should undercut the RAV4 by a few hundred dollars. The outgoing Rogue started at $25,300 and the RAV4 starts at $25,950, so there is some room for a price increase while still staying below Toyota. Pricing could be the deciding factor for many buyers and if Nissan is able to undercut Toyota, it could be the secret weapon towards topping the sales charts. The RAV4 has enjoyed its position atop the sales charts but by the end of 2021, there could be a new sales leader.