Hyundai Tucson Vs. Nissan RogueEnlarge Photo
In a few short years, what difference. Now, the set of compact crossovers is superior, and some of the compromises associated with going compact have diminished. With brand-new versions of the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 just out for 2013, and the excellent Honda CR-V carried over just a couple years after a full redesign, there are plenty of strong alternatives here—enough to give any good comparison shopper pangs of doubt.
So which would we choose--the Nissan Rogue or the Hyundai Tucson? If you've scrolled down to the chart below, you already know the Tucson wins in a walk, but it's a little closer than the numbers might indicate. That starts with styling. Both the Tucson and Rogue haven't been fully redesigned in some time, yet they wear smart, urbane lines. There's reason to recommend either on looks alone: the Tucson's a little more daring, the Rogue a little more refined, except across its toothy grille.
Both the Rogue and Tucson slot in at the truly compact end of the crossover spectrum. The Nissan fares a bit better with its well-packaged interior and ideal driving position; the Tucson has almost as much space, but we think its optional leather seats need longer bottom cushions to be truly comfortable. In each of these utes, the cargo area is large enough for a few weekend bags, but you'll want to think twice about bringing along pets, as the upswept styling of both vehicles blocks out rear visibility for pets and drivers alike.
Where these crossovers begin to distance themselves is in safety, features, and performance. The Tucson's a Top Safety Pick, and offers a rearview camera and Bluetooth on most models. The Rogue can be fitted with those features--its Around View Monitor is superior, even--but its roof-crush test scores are just average. All Tucsons come with satellite radio and a USB port, both of which are upgrades in the Rogue. Leather, navigation, power seats and a sunroof can be had on either. And neither of these models have absolutely stellar safety ratings—both of them, in fact, flubbed the latest frontal offset test from the IIHS.
Finally, neither the Rogue nor the Tucson will win over race rats with straight-line numbers or g-force figures, and ultimately the Tucson gets the nod, barely, for its conventional transmissions. Both crossovers can ride a little roughly and accelerate in a relaxed way, but the Tucson's well-managed six-speed automatic makes up for its wandery electric power steering. The Rogue's continuously variable transmission has paddles for semi-manual control, but it adds to the in-cabin noise levels, feels sluggish, and undercuts the natural feedback that comes from its steering and suspension. The Tucson also outpaces the Rogue, slightly, in fuel economy—even with the stronger 2.4-liter version, with available all-wheel drive.
If either of these made your short shopping list, make sure to add one more before you buy: the Tucson's near-twin, the Kia Sportage, which also comes in turbocharged form for a more entertaining drive. Otherwise, unless the Rogue's sleek looks and slightly larger cabin win you over, a 2.4-liter Tucson automatic with front-wheel drive--and cloth seats--is our head-to-head pick.
|2013 Hyundai Tucson||2013 Nissan Rogue|
|Rich in value and interesting styling cues, the 2013 Hyundai Tucson's a pint-sized crossover that completely avoids SUV cliches of size and looks.||The 2013 Nissan Rogue may not have excitement in its corner, but its layout, features, and affordability make a lot of sense for smaller families.|
|Read moreWith one of Hyundai's most daring shapes, the Tucson is out there on the styling ice.||Read moreThe 2013 Nissan Rogue has a pleasing silhouette, though its details aren't all fresh.|
|Read morePowertrains are smooth and good on gas, but the Tucson's not very quick, and steering feel is lacking.||Read moreManeuverability is a strong point for the Rogue, while the CVT can hamper responsiveness.|
|Read moreOn the small side of crossovers, the Hyundai Tucson gives adults just enough room in its back seat.||Read moreThe 2013 Rogue has a great layout for families; we only wish it were quieter inside and that the front seats were better.|
|Read moreSafety scores have been good, and the Tucson offers some safety options its competition hasn't.||Read moreThe Rogue has decent—but not great—safety, though its available Around View Monitor is good for busy moms.|
|Read moreThere's no budget feel in the Hyundai Tucson's standard features set, or on its options sheet.||Read moreFeatures and options are about as expected for this class, although extras are lumped into affordable packages.|
|Read moreGas mileage is good for the class, though the Tucson isn't quite as good as Hyundai's best sedans.||Read moreThe Rogue is quite fuel-efficient, but it's by no means the most frugal vehicle of its type.|
|from $20,395||from $22,610|
|from $19,638||from $21,551|
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)|
|Second Leg Room (in)|
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