For small families, the vehicle of choice is no longer the minivan or the SUV; it's the compact crossover. With prices that are about the same as a mid-size sedan—or maybe even a little less—these vehicles are more fuel efficient and can be equipped to near-luxury levels of comfort. Plus, they retain much of the appeal of a full-size SUV, without the added heft and rock-scrambling ability.
Nissan’s Rogue offers a uniquely-styled alternative to box-on-box crossovers, while one of our perennial favorites, the Honda CR-V is probably going to be seen as a bit blander. Both offer up a blend of safety, practicality and comfort, but when compared head to head, one stands (slightly) above the other.
Nissan’s Rogue, like the larger Nissan Murano, doesn’t look like any other crossover vehicle on the market. Recently redesigned for 2014, the Rogue offers the flexibility and cargo-hauling capability of a small SUV, but drives more like a sedan. In fact, those coming from a small sedan may find the Rogue to be more to their liking than many other compact crossover choices.
Under the hood, the Rogue’s sole engine option is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 170 horsepower. With its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the Rogue delivers reasonable acceleration, taking around eight seconds to run from 0-60 mph. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is available for those who want it. Added traction comes at a price, though: in addition to raising the sticker price, all-wheel-drive lowers fuel economy by a few miles per gallon.
Inside, the Rogue offer seating that’s neither too high nor too low. The back seat is roomy enough for two adults or three children, and there’s ample cargo room for hauling the trappings of modern life. And, surprisingly, there's also now a small third row. A low cargo floor also makes loading and removing heavy or bulky items that much easier, adding to the Rogue’s appeal.
On the road, the Rogue delivers a comfortable ride, and the new 2014 Rogue makes some major advances in keeping road noise out. As for safety, the Rogue has very well in crash tests; it's already been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
The Rogue is an excellent choice for a compact crossover, but Honda has also really hit the mark with the latest CR-V. We like the one-hand, one-strap rear-seat folding arrangement better than anything else in the class, and we’re glad to see that Honda has upped features and content even on base models. Both front and rear seat comfort has been improved, too, making the new CR-V one of the better vehicles in the class for road-trip comfort.
Honda has retained its familiar 2.4-liter four cylinder engine, still mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, but we say that’s a good thing. Gear ratios were made taller, in an effort to boost fuel economy, but the smooth i-VTEC engine copes without complaint. Opt for the front-wheel-drive CR-V, and you can expect to get 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway; if you choose the all-wheel-drive CR-V, those numbers drop to 22 city and 30 highway.
Cargo room is generous even with the rear seats in place. With the rear seats folded, the CR-V has a cargo floor that’s over five feet in length. It’s lower than on previous CR-V models as well, which helps loading and unloading heavier objects. Overall, the interior is a noticeable step up from previous CR-V models, and thanks to the use of double door seals, it a quieter place to spend time, too.
While the 2014 Honda CR-V lacks driving excitement, it does deliver predictable handling and a comfortable ride. Honda’s electric power steering helps to boost fuel economy, but that comes at the cost of reduced road feel. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is noticeable compared to previous CR-V models. That gripe aside, the new CR-V looks like it will be one of the safest vehicles in the compact crossover class, carrying on the tradition of previous CR-V models.
Although the current 2014 Nissan Rogue has accelerated a half a car length ahead of the CR-V, with a slight lead in our ratings, the difference will be too close to call for many families. Either model represents an excellent choice, and we’d recommend you drive them back to back before making a purchase decision.
|2014 Honda CR-V
||2014 Nissan Rogue
The 2014 Honda CR-V isn't exactly sprightly, but it nails efficiency on a few levels and finally brings more features to the family-wagon fight.
The 2014 Nissan Rogue gets mainstreamed in all the right ways, though engine noise and the teensy third-row seat are minor letdowns.
|Read moreSimplicity rules inside, while on the outside some might find the 2014 Honda CR-V a little too nondescript. ||Read moreThe Rogue's been mainstreamed, in the right ways, with a more crisp outline and a much more refined cabin. |
|Read moreThe 2014 Honda CR-V is confident and smooth, even though excitement is sorely lacking. ||Read moreThere's no avoiding the moany four-cylinder and CVT combo; the Rogue's handling is firmer, better than before. |
|Read moreYou'll find loads of interior space and very smart seat-folding; yet materials and trims might be a disappointment to some. ||Read moreSome of the best front seats occupy the Rogue's cabin; the second row's good, too, but the optional third row is barely kid-friendly. |
|Read moreThe 2014 Honda CR-V gets mostly top ratings from both major U.S. safety agencies, but the IIHS small overlap test leaves room for improvement. ||Read moreNo crash scores are in, but a rearview camera and Bluetooth are standard. |
|Read moreAvailable infotainment systems are on par with those found elsewhere--although you still need to move to the top EX-L to get some extras, like satellite radio. ||Read moreThe Rogue is well-equipped and simply packaged; its surround-view cameras are a must-have. |
|Read moreMileage ratings for the 2014 Honda CR-V are among the highest mileage in its class, but tall gear ratios don't always translate that to real-world driving. ||Read moreGas mileage is better than ever--the Rogue leads in EPA highway numbers. |
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)
|Second Leg Room (in)
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