The 2021 Nissan Rogue Gives The Toyota RAV4 a Run For Its Money

With a fresh new redesign for the 2021 model year, the Nissan Rogue looks like it’s finally catching up to its crossover rivals, specifically the Toyota RAV4. While it might not look as rugged as it’s Toyota competitor, the Nissan Rogue has a lot more upscale appeal this time around and we think it’s set to give the RAV4 a much-needed run for its money.

Nissan Rogue vs Toyota RAV4

2021 Nissan Rogue
2021 Nissan Rogue | Nissan

Now in its third generation, the all-new Nissan Rogue was redesign inside and out with a stronger and stiffer chassis, a revised engine, and styling that is worlds apart from its last iteration. The Rogues platform is a combination of high-grade steel, aluminum, and plastic. In fact, 35% of the structure is made from steel while the fenders, hood, and doors are made from aluminum.

As far as styling, Nissan went with a more aggressive and angular look for the new Rogue, incorporating sharp-angled narrow headlights and a boxy rear end with taillights that look very RAV4-like. But while the RAV4’s body style is more angular on the sides, the Rogue has a softer approach with no bold wheel arches or body lines. But it’s what is on the inside of the Rogue that counts the most.

A Lunar Rock 2021 Toyota RAV4 in a field with a mountainous backdrop
2021 Toyota RAV4 | J.D. Power

The Rogue’s interior is a game-changer

While the term “game-changer” is definitely overused, we don’t think there’s a better way to describe the interior of the 2021 Rogue. It’s a far cry from the past generations and a step above its competitors with its available diamond-stitch pattern, semi-aniline leather upholstery, soft-touch elements on the dashboard, and option 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display. As you can guess, Android Auto and Apple Carplay are standard, but what’s more important is that Rogue has wireless capability as well.

We especially like that Nissan incorporated actual buttons in addition to the touchscreen as well as knobs for the volume and tuning. The HVAC controls are nicely laid out as well and they don’t look like there’s much of a learning curve to get used to them. One of the most interesting parts of the interior is the small gear shifter that slides fore and aft to get into the gears and doesn’t take up too much real estate in the center console. There’s also a digital instrument panel and available head-up display as well.

In contrast, the Toyota RAV4’s interior looks more rugged and utilitarian in comparison, which was a good move on the brand’s part, however, the new interior in Rogue may just outclass it by a long shot. By the looks of it, the interior of the Rogue should seat up to five people comfortably and rather luxuriously, given the class that it’s in.

2021 Nissan Rogue Interior
2021 Nissan Rogue Interior | Nissan

Cargo space

When it comes to cargo volume, the new Nissan Rogue has 74.1 cubic feet of cargo volume when the rear seats are folded down, which gets cut down to 31.6 cubic feet when they are folded up. The RAV4, on the other hand, 69.8 with the rear seats down and 37.5 when they are up. But what’s more interesting is that the Rogue now has some handy storage options including a “Divide-N-Hide” moveable cargo floor area that provides a few more cubic feet of cargo volume inside the cargo area.

Additionally, there’s even a one-gallon container holder on the behind the wheel well so you no longer need to worry about that jug of milk rolling around and wreaking havoc on your fragile groceries.

2021 Nissan Rogue Cargo Area
2021 Nissan Rogue Cargo Area | Nissan

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Under the hood

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is powered by the same 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine as before, but thanks to an updated valvetrain and direct injection, it’s now pushing out 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the 203-hp four-cylinder engine that’s in the RAV4 has it beat, but the other luxurious touches found around the Rogue make up for the lack of power.

The Nissan Rogue is finally compelling

With a new look, new chassis, and a refined character, the 2021 Nissan Rogue looks like it will be a formidable competitor to the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. It’s set to go on sale this month and we wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up doing better than Nissan expects.