Crossover & Midsize

Kelly Blue Book Thinks the 2020 Nissan Rogue Is Very ‘Vanilla’

One of the most popular compact crossovers available, the Nissan Rogue, offers great comfort, convenience, and visual appeal. The Rogue offers lots of passenger space and plenty of standard driver assists. It’s a top-selling part of Nissan’s lineup.

While it’s a popular SUV, does that mean the Nissan Rogue is a top performer? How does it rank among the best crossover SUVs?

Kelley Blue Book reviews the new Nissan Rogue

Christian Meunier, chairman of Nissan Canada, speaks about the 2018 Nissan Rogue at the New York International Auto Show
The Nissan Rogue | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The 2020 Nissan Rogue, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), is easy to drive and comfortable with room for up to five passengers. They like the amount of passenger space inside and the wealth of standard tech included like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

But compared to its peers like the newly-redesigned Toyota RAV4, KBB felt the aging Rogue is struggling to keep up. The Rogue, for them, is already behind in technology, driver-assist features, and standard safety features. Since the hybrid models of the Rogue have been dropped from the lineup, Nissan’s star now only offers a four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) as a powertrain. 

While KBB considers the new Rogue a completely acceptable ride for trips around town or transportation to and from work, they didn’t like the drone of the CVT transmission under strenuous acceleration.

The vanilla of SUVs

According to the team at KBB, the Nissan Rogue is the vanilla of SUVs. The Rogue now offers a single four-cylinder engine that gets 170 hp, which will get most jobs done whether it’s commuting to work or taking the kids to school.

Is it exciting to drive? Not really.

While the Rogue is fuel-efficient, the CVT transmission is underwhelming. For many, they have power enough and still consider the Rogue a solid choice.

When compared to the competition, KBB says that the Rogue doesn’t stand out in any way. It’s adequate. The Mazda CX-5 offers a fun, energetic ride. And the Rogue can’t match the off-roading chops of Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee, or the new Toyota RAV4. The new Nissan Rogue simply isn’t memorable.

Other compact SUV options besides the Nissan Rogue

If a safe SUV that gets good gas mileage and takes you from point A to point B is good enough, you might consider buying the Nissan Rogue. However, if you’re looking for similarly priced options that do stand out in a crowded SUV market, here are some other compact SUVs to consider.

Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 also sells well and offers six models to choose from versus the Nissan Rogue’s three. The base model of the RAV4 is basic but very affordable. The top-shelf Limited model is a study in luxury, and there’s so much in between. The new TRD Off-Road models look tough and navigate terrains of all types. 

The RAV4’s ride is comfortable, and it handles well. Inside, there’s a lot of head and legroom in the front and back. When it comes to space to stash your stuff, the RAV4 holds its own in the segment on cargo space. There’s also a hybrid model available.

Ford Escape

Another strong contender in the compact SUV segment is the Ford Escape. The interior is roomy, and you get several driver-assist features standard. There are two powertrains available. One is a turbocharged EcoBoost three-cylinder engine, and the other is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 hp. 

The ride is smooth, it has good power for most occasions, and it handles better than most of its peers. Throw in a strong predicted reliability rating and good safety scores, and you have an SUV that’s a great deal. 

Honda CR-V

The new Honda CR-V is a tough competitor, especially for the RAV4. It’s designed well, refined, and practical for a nice balance of everything you’re looking for in a quality SUV. There are two available powertrains that are fuel-efficient; one is a hybrid. The CR-V has a long list of comfort and technology features to make most anyone happy. It has great crash-test ratings as well.