2020 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2020 Nissan Rogue: Compare Crossovers

March 13, 2020
2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

With so many compact crossovers, picking the best one often comes down to feels more than facts. For two of the best-selling crossovers, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 and 2020 Nissan Rogue, the similarities are greater than the differences.

Both come with standard active safety features, available all-wheel drive, room for five people and their gear, and a good overall value with a starting price of about $26,500. That’s reflected by nearly identical scores, with the RAV4’s 6.5 TCC Rating getting the decision over the Rogue’s 6.3.

MORE: Read our 2020 Toyota RAV4 and 2020 Nissan Rogue full reviews 

This tale of the tape is much more nuanced, however. The RAV4 is the best-selling non-truck in the U.S. for its perceived reliability, fuel-sipping hybrid powertrain, and rugged good looks (really!). The 2020 Nissan Rogue, which should not be confused with the smaller Rogue Sport, is roomier, comfier, and comes with better standard equipment. It’s the third best-selling non-truck behind the Honda CR-V and RAV4. 

A more detailed look at the categories that matter most should help decide which is best for you. 

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

Redesigned for 2019, the 2020 Toyota RAV4 is fresher, edgier, and comes in seven trim levels compared to the three trims for the 2020 Nissan Rogue. The 2020 RAV4 starts at $27,070 (including $1,120 destination) in base LE trim and has a much wider spread, with the new-for-2020 TRD Off-Road trim with standard all-wheel drive topping the range at $36,400. 

The aging 2020 Nissan Rogue is more modest, with a $26,395 starting price (including $1,095 destination) in base S trim and a top price of $34,135 in SL trim with all-wheel drive. Price alone could be a difference-maker. 

Prior to the 2019 redesign, the Toyota RAV4 blended into the teeming sea of compact crossovers. Now it gets chunky fenders, hard angles, and wide fascias that channel the 4Runner and Tacoma mid-size pickup. The fake skid plate on some off-roading trims suggests an off-roading capability it doesn’t really have, and the muscular posturing belies some performance it lacks. 

The 2020 Nissan Rogue enters what most likely will be its last production year before a full redesign. That usually means deals are more plentiful if you don’t mind the plainer, older style. The Rogue does not go rogue, and blends into that sea, even with the distinctive V-shaped grille acting as a life jacket. It is what it is: a capable and confident everyday crossover, without the stylish pretensions of the RAV4. 

Both crossovers are powered by workaday 2.5-liter inline-4 engines. The Rogue is the proletariat of the two, making 170 horsepower and paired to a relatively seamless continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). It’s just fine on standard 17-inch wheels, and pushing it doesn’t do many favors on turns where it leans like a sleeping commuter. The CVT helps get the Rogue a 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined EPA rating. All-wheel drive drops it 2 mpg combined, and bumps the sticker price by $1,350. 

The RAV4’s inline-4 makes 203 hp with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The stiff frame is countered by a four-wheel independent suspension that softens most road bumps. It’s a little more athletic, and the two available all-wheel-drive systems fill a basic need for all-weather traction or, on Limited, Adventure, and TRD Off-Road trims, fill a want for more performance on and off the road. All-wheel drive adds $1,400, and gets about 25/33/28 mpg. Front-drive models get an EPA-rated 26/35/30 mpg.

The powertrain difference for many might be the RAV4 Hybrid. Nissan no longer offers a hybrid option on the Rogue, which may turn fuel-conscious shoppers to the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V hybrids. Toyota is the undisputed hybrid champ, however, and the smooth ride with standard all-wheel drive rates at 41/38/40 mpg. There’s a modest bump in horsepower to 219, but the electric motor and electric CVT doesn’t add grunt. The all-wheel-drive hybrid adds about $2,000 more than the front-drive model down the line.  

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan Rogue

 

The standard features are another reason why these crossovers are so popular. Both come with 7.0-inch touchscreens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, power features, and active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams. 

Inside, the 2020 Nissan Rogue puts it all together a bit better than the RAV4, largely because of the integrated touchscreen. Whereas the RAV4’s looks like a tablet mounted atop the dash, the Rogue’s sits under the vents in the center of the dash. It’s flanked by hard buttons and volume and tuning knobs, and below that large climate control buttons. Steering wheel controls further simplify it. The RAV4’s system is a little clunkier to operate, despite the overall vehicle being newer. 

With all the trim levels on the 2020 RAV4, we’d opt for the XLE Hybrid for $30,765 with all-wheel drive. It adds over the base trim a power-adjustable driver’s seat, keyless ignition, five USB ports, and options such as heated seats. 

The 2020 Rogue seems to simplify the decision with just three trims, but the packages can get you. The mid-level SV hits our sweet spot at $27,815 in front-wheel drive, and includes power-adjustable heated front seats and keyless ignition. 

With the same safety ratings and similar cargo areas, the differences between the 2020 Toyota RAV4 and 2020 Nissan Rogue mostly come down to the feels. The RAV4 is a little fresher, but the Rogue has a bit more value. Either of those feels pretty good. 


Summary

6.5
Expert Rating
The 2020 Toyota RAV4 covers more bases this year with smartphone compatibility and tough-looking off-road trims.
6.3
Expert Rating
The 2020 Nissan Rogue is a bread-and-butter crossover that does it all for a low price.

Styling

8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 RAV4 swings for the fences and hits a stylish home run among compact crossovers.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
Plain and straightforward, the 2020 Rogue doesn’t take many risks in its style.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
Performance isn’t the 2020 RAV4’s forte, but it keeps pace.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
Don’t expect to win many drag races in the 2020 Rogue.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

6.0
Expert Rating
Average bodies will fit fine, but the 2020 RAV4 struggles with more than four bigger adults.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Nissan Rogue is spacious and comfortable for up to five adults.
Read More

Safety

8.0
Expert Rating
Good active safety features complement good crash-test scores in the 2020 Toyota RAV4.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
Crash-test scores are mixed, but the Rogue has available advanced safety features that others don’t yet offer.
Read More

Features

7.0
Expert Rating
A new 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road adds more trail-riding goodies, but every RAV4 gets good stuff.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The Rogue’s best feature will be its affordable price for many shoppers.
Read More

Fuel Economy

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 RAV4 keeps pace with the crowd, the RAV4 Hybrid does better.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The Nissan Rogue Hybrid is gone this year, and what’s left is average among compact crossovers.
Read More

MSRP

from $25,950
from $25,490

Invoice

from $24,264
from $24,130

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

30
29

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.5 L

Drivetrain

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