2017 Nissan Rogue Sport vs. 2017 Honda HR-V: Compare Cars

May 16, 2017
2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

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Small crossover utility vehicles have surged in popularity, and every carmaker is rolling out new entries. The new Nissan Rogue Sport gives the very popular compact crossover Rogue a smaller, more stylish sibling that's visually similar but is shorter, lower, and slightly more nimble. The very popular Honda HR-V is expected to be one of its strongest competitors.

Both are light-duty utility vehicles more suited to urban and suburban duties for couples or young families. Both offer optional all-wheel drive, and neither is among the fastest or sportiest in the growing market for small SUVs (despite the Rogue Sport's name). In character, the Nissan is conventional, while the Honda is more adventurous.

MORE: Read our full 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport and 2017 Honda HR-V reviews

From some angles, especially the front, you might mistake the Rogue Sport for its bigger brother. Side by side, it's a foot shorter, 6 inches lower, and has a more raked, stylish back end. The HR-V uses standard Honda styling cues—a thick chrome bar at the top of the grille, swept-back front lights, strongly etched side accent lines—and its own raked tailgate to add some pizazz. Both, in the end, are variants on the tall-wagon style of most SUVs.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

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2017 Nissan Rogue (top) vs 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport (bottom)

2017 Nissan Rogue (top) vs 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport (bottom)

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2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

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2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

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Under the hood, the Rogue Sport offers just one powertrain: a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but commendably, Nissan offers all-wheel drive as an option on all three trim levels. Honda uses a 141-hp 1.8-liter inline-4, paired with either a continuously variable transmission or a 6-speed manual. All-wheel drive is an option on the Honda, although only with the CVT.

Neither car is quick, though the Honda felt stronger in high-demand circumstances like highway merges where the Rogue Sport was surprisingly slow.  Both are based on car underpinnings and handle well enough, though the Rogue Sport's seat height seemed a bit lower than the Honda's, reducing the impression of body lean in turns. With a top combined EPA rating of 31 mpg, the Honda beats the Nissan on fuel economy; the best Rogue Sport is rated at 29 mpg combined.

One of the points of utility vehicles is their carrying capacity and flexibility, and the Honda beats every other small SUV hands down. Two adults can sit in the rear of the HR-V with generous leg and head room, with two adults up front. Then there's Honda's unique "Magic Seat," which flips and folds the second-row seat like a lawn chair to give multiple storage and seating configurations. The Rogue Sport, by comparison, is comfortable up front but cramped in the rear and much better for two passengers than four. The rear seat folds flat, of course. Drivers and passengers will find both vehicles smooth and pleasingly quiet, at least on good road surfaces.

2016 Honda HR-V

2016 Honda HR-V

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2016 Honda HR-V

2016 Honda HR-V

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2016 Honda HR-V

2016 Honda HR-V

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Neither the NHTSA or the IIHS has rated the Nissan Rogue Sport, though the larger Rogue is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. On the most recent menu of crash tests, the Honda HR-V received has mixed ratings.

The Nissan comes standard with 10 airbags and a suite of active-safety features, but visibility out the back isn’t very good, due to its rising window line, steeply raked rear window, and very thick roof pillars. The HR-V offers a rearview camera and tire pressure monitors as standard, and Honda's nifty sideview LaneWatch camera is an option. But blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control likely won't arrive on the HR-V for a couple of model years.

At a base price around $20,000, all Honda HR-V models include power windows, locks, and mirrors; a rearview camera; a tiling and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; and Bluetooth with audio streaming. Higher trim levels add a large touchscreen interface; the LaneWatch camera; keyless ignition; paddle shifters; satellite radio; navigation; leather; a sunroof; and heated front seats.

Despite a starting sticker price of more than $22,000, the Nissan Rogue Sport is fairly spartan in its base S trim level. The SV model, likely to be most popular, adds 17-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable driver's seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control, while the top-end SL comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed interior, Nissan Connect mobile services and apps, and a surround-view camera system. The full set of available active-safety systems is only available on the very highest-end model, however.

Both the Nissan Rogue Sport and the Honda HR-V are comfortable and accomplished small utility vehicles. Because it's missing safety scores, we can't compare the Nissan straight across the board to the Honda. Otherwise, the HR-V beats the Rogue Sport on interior room, equipment, gas mileage, and value for money.

Summary

6.8
Expert Rating
Think of the 2017 Honda HR-V as a Fit with all-wheel drive and a little more headroom. It's not as fun as it could be, but it makes a lot of sense.
5.4
Expert Rating
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport looks like a smart entry into the compact crossover segment, giving the automaker a two-prong approach to conquering buyers—even if it's not very sporty.

Styling

7.0
Expert Rating
Simple inside and quirky outside, the Honda HR-V stands out from the crowd in ways we really like.
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6.0
Expert Rating
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport looks like its sibling the Rogue from the front, but is sportier from other angles, and the interior is well-made and intuitive.
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Performance

6.0
Expert Rating
The HR-V rides well, but it's not especially fun to drive and it can feel underpowered with a load of passengers or cargo aboard.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport's handling is only average, not sporty, and it's on the slow side too.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

7.0
Expert Rating
Honda's excellent packaging triumphs yet again in the versatile and roomier-than-it-looks HR-V.
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5.0
Expert Rating
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is comfortable and quiet for two, but adults in the rear seat have to bargain for leg room.
Read More

Safety

6.0
Expert Rating
The HR-V's crash test scores aren't the best and it lacks some of the safety tech offered on rivals.
Read More
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport hasn't yet been crash-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS, though its Rogue big brother gets good ratings.
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Features

7.0
Expert Rating
The base HR-V is outfitted nicely, but there aren't many customization options.
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5.0
Expert Rating
The base 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is quite stripped down, and only the very highest trim level makes all the active-safety features available.
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Fuel Economy

8.0
Expert Rating
At 31 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive HR-V, you'll pass a lot of gas stations.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport gets about average EPA fuel-economy ratings.
Read More

MSRP

from $19,465
from $21,420

Invoice

from $18,937
from $20,285

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

28
28

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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