2017 Hyundai Tucson vs. 2017 Nissan Rogue: Compare Cars

October 19, 2016
2016 Hyundai Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson

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If you're considering one of the so-called compact crossover models like the Hyundai Tucson or Nissan Rogue, which make great sedan alternatives and good picks for smaller families, chances are you'll find the array of market choices overwhelming.

Both of these models compete against the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4, as well as the Kia Sportage, which is closely related to the Tucson.

MORE: Read our reviews of the 2017 Hyundai Tucson and the 2017 Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue was last given a full redesign for the 2014 model year, while the Hyundai Tucson was all-new last year. And in their latest iterations, these two models have headed in quite different directions—with the Tucson gaining more upscale styling and a more elegant look and feel in general, while the Rogue focuses just a little more on fitting the most passenger space.

We've scored the Tucson a 7.5 out of 10 on our new ratings scale, while the Rogue suffers from a lower than average safety score.  (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While the Tucson is only offered in five-passenger form, the Rogue is available with a third-row seat—for an official capacity of up to seven passengers. Don't get too excited about the Rogue as a true three-row vehicle, because that third row is sized only for kids, in a pinch, but it's a competitive advantage that frazzled parents might appreciate.

2017 Hyundai Tucson

2017 Hyundai Tucson

Enlarge Photo
2017 Hyundai Tucson

2017 Hyundai Tucson

Enlarge Photo
2017 Hyundai Tucson

2017 Hyundai Tucson

Enlarge Photo
2016 Hyundai Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Enlarge Photo

Backing up a bit, however, the Tucson has plenty of advantages; and one of those is styling. The look of the new Tucson is definitely premium inside and out, and it makes the previous model—as well as the Rogue, to some degree—look a little too economy-car influenced. There's an elegant simplicity to the Tucson's interior in particular, with top Limited models offering plush leather upholstery; but in the Tucson's well-sculpted sheetmetal it emulates the look of much more expensive vehicles. Focusing over to the Rogue, its profile is definitely a little more homely, and its details more like those of frugal small cars. It's a conservative look, although some might like the smoother (rather than creased) sheetmetal and low, somewhat more carlike dash layout.

Although styling differences between the two might come down to personal tastes, there's a clear winner for performance, and that's the Tucson. The Rogue loses here, by a long shot, due to drivability issues with its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which offers decent acceleration but fails to respond quickly enough for quick bursts of power for passing or gaps in traffic. The engine is also far too present in terms of cabin noise. There's a new hybrid model that raises fuel economy and doesn't change drivability much.

By comparison, the base Hyundai Tucson SE comes with a 164-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission—a combination that offers good drivability and refinement that's a cut above. Tucson Eco, Sport, and Limited models step up to a 1.6-liter turbo engine and dual-clutch automatic, but that's actually a step behind in drivability.

Base Tucsons get a 2.0-liter inline-4 with 164 horsepower. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic, this version is rated at 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive trims fuel economy to 21/26/23 mpg.

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