Last year the Nissan Rogue was the second biggest-selling SUV in America, but not far behind in fourth place was the Ford Escape. Let's put these two against each other in a head-to-head comparison to see if the 2018 Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape are as similar as the sales rankings suggest.
The Rogue looks just the way buyers in this segment want a crossover to look. There are hints of its car-like underpinnings but the exterior styling does nothing to hide its SUV heritage. This is a crossover that strikes just the right balance between rugged and sporty, depending on specification.
By way of contrast, the Ford Escape is a lot more crossover than SUV and its overtly sporty design has more in common with a Focus hatchback than an Explorer or an Expedition. We give the win to Nissan here for looking more like an SUV than a pumped-up hatch.
It's hard to think of two vehicles more closely matched in terms of size. The Rogue is just four inches longer than the Ford but the interior passenger volumes are only a tenth of an inch different. There are a couple of extra inches of leg room in the back seats of the Ford, but the Nissan fights back with a couple of inches extra in the front. It's a similar story with cargo capacity, so this round is a cast-iron draw.
Comfort and Quality
The cabins may be of almost identical proportions, but the comfort and quality of the interiors do differ. The Escape seems to put style over substance with a space-robbing dash that's modern and likeable for the driver, but its thin seats are not very comfortable. The seats are also quite firm, which will be noticed on longer journeys.
Although the Rogue in its entry level S trim can feel a little lacking, from the SV upwards there's genuine quality in materials and styling. Nissan has paid more attention to driver and passenger comfort in the Rogue with a cabin that quickly gets quite luxurious above the entry level. For us, that's a better way to go than the sporty route the Escape has gone down.
Although the Rogue is available with a hybrid, those wanting a gas engine are limited to a quite ordinary 170-horsepower inline-four. There's no Escape hybrid at the moment, but with three gas options, including an exceptional 245 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four, this is an easy win for the Ford.
Even though these two are so closely matched in terms of size, they are actually quite different in their own ways. However, if you want your crossover to be more SUV than high-riding sporty hatchback, the 2018 Nissan Rogue is the one for you.