Nissan has finally revealed the 2021 Rogue, which means we have basic specs for the upcoming redesigned crossover. This clean-sheet overhaul should breathe new life into a compact crossover that once challenged the segment leaders for sales superiority.
As usual, we've decided to define "top rivals" as the most commonly searched models in the segment: the 2020 Chevy Equinox, 2020 Honda CR-V, 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Subaru Forester and 2020 Toyota RAV4. Also, for the purposes of this comparison, we're only looking at each vehicle's gasoline internal combustion engines, so we're leaving out the hybrid versions of the Escape and RAV4, though that information is included in the accompanying tables.
The 2021 Rogue follows the segment in terms of overall size. Its wheelbase is within about an inch of each of the competitors here, and thus its rear legroom is also pretty similar, though it appears to have the least of these popular crossovers.
On the flip side, it boasts the most cargo room (on paper) of any vehicle here, leading us to believe that the basic 2021 Rogue configuration favors a larger rear hatch area over additional rear seat space. The rear seats in the new Rogue recline, so it may be roomier back there than the specs suggest.
When it comes to standard engines, all of the competition is very close in numbers, and they get there in very different ways. While some models have crept above the 200-horsepower threshold, Nissan continues to make do with 181 with its naturally aspirated I-4. The Honda CR-V now has a turbocharged engine as its standard offering, which will likely feel punchier despite having effectively the same torque output.
But if you really want some gusto from your crossover, you'll need to go with either the Escape or the Equinox, the only vehicles to offer substantially more powerful optional gas engines. Of the two, we give the edge to the Escape because, while it's down 2 horsepower, it has 15 more pound-feet of torque. Worth noting: The Subaru Forester is the only one of these vehicles to have all-wheel drive standard. To get it on any of the other vehicles will cost extra and often drops fuel economy by one or two mpg.
Another thing to keep in mind is what transmission each vehicle uses. Although CVT transmissions have come a long way, they can still occasionally be buzzy and create a "rubber-band" sensation as they hold RPM. The Subaru, Honda and Nissan all use CVTs. If you don't like that sensation, you'll want to go with the Ford, Chevy or Toyota, all of which use more conventional automatic transmissions.
Nissan has not yet released pricing for the 2021 Rogue. That info will likely come closer to the crossover's on-sale date this fall. But among the other crossovers, the one with the lowest base price is the Equinox at $24,995. The most expensive base crossover is the RAV4 with a starting price of $26,595. The Forester, Rogue and CR-V all fall in the $25,000 price bracket.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue looks like it will certainly be competitive if not class-leading based on the numbers alone. As such, it will occupy a place similar to the outgoing model. But the numbers are only part of the picture. A full conclusion will only be possible once we've driven it. So stay tuned for a full review from us in the near future, and be sure to check out our reviews (linked below) of the other crossovers for more detailed observations.