The compact crossover segment has now probably taken over from midsize sedans as the most competitive part of the market right now, so let's compare two of the real heavyweights by putting the 2018 Nissan Rogue head-to-head with the Honda CR-V.
There are better-looking models out there than these two, but the Nissan and the Honda are not ugly ducklings by any means. The CR-V has never been a particularly attractive crossover but it's never seemed to hurt its sales performance. This version is soon to be replaced though, and it's certainly starting to show its age.
There's nothing flamboyant about the styling of the Rogue, but it's also very certain of what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything other than an SUV. It's certainly a more rugged look than the Honda and that gives the Nissan a win in this opening round.
If the CR-V has the older styling, the Rogue adopts a more old-fashioned approach to engines. Under the hood of the Nissan is a 2.5-liter inline four delivering 170 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. That power is sent to the front or all four wheels exclusively through a CVT transmission with no manual option. It's a capable powertrain, but not particularly thrilling.
The standard engine in the base CR-V is a 2.4-liter inline that's more powerful than the Nissan's engine, but there's also a 1.5-liter turbo-four that's even better and hands a victory to the Honda over the Rogue.
Features and Equipment
Honda has never been shy of putting plenty of standard kit into its vehicles and the CR-V comes well-equipped at all trim levels. With 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and a four-speaker audio system the base CR-V is competitive. However, the Rogue sees it and raises it with standard equipment that also includes a 7-inch infotainment screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, even at the entry level.
This maybe isn't a fair fight as there's a hybrid version of the Nissan Rogue and no hybrid CR-V at the moment. The Honda is more frugal in terms of conventional gas engines with best ratings of 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg combined, while the best the Rogue can muster is 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined. We can't score this as anything other than a draw though, as you can get as good as 33/35/34 mpg from a front-wheel drive Rogue Hybrid.
We're batting at the top of the innings in this segment with these two as they both sell in huge numbers, and rightly so. But for us the 2018 Nissan Rogue just has too much in its locker for the ageing Honda CR-V, although that could change when the current CR-V is finally replaced.