Nissan Rogue vs Toyota RAV4: Which SUV Should You Buy?

September 19, 2023

Nissan Rogue vs Toyota RAV4

The Nissan Rogue and the Toyota RAV4 are among the most popular small SUVs in the country. They’re both relatively affordable, easy to drive, and spacious enough for the average family. However, there are some big differences to consider. In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll find out which option is the better SUV choice for you in the long run. 


Previous versions of the Rogue lagged in the performance department. Acceleration was a bit on the sluggish side. This could be a concern for drivers who are in the market for a pre-owned Rogue. 

However, Nissan installed a punchier VC-Turbo three-cylinder engine in 2022. This change resulted in a noticeable improvement in terms of overall responsiveness. Because of the engine’s extra torque, you will have no trouble getting up to speed. 

Even with its standard four-cylinder engine, the RAV4 does well. Drivers can climb hills and merge onto the highway with ease. Folks who need to pull a load will also favor the RAV4. When equipped with all-wheel drive, Toyota rates the RAV4 to tow up to 3,500 pounds. A lower 1,500-pound maximum towing capacity puts the Rogue at a distinct disadvantage. Its continuously variable transmission is not strong enough to handle any added weight.  

When it comes to tackling rougher terrain, the RAV4 yet again leaps ahead of the RAV4. This is especially true for the SUV’s TRD Off-Road trim. A torque-vectoring AWD system and trail-tuned shock absorbers help it to perform better on rugged ground. Drivers can also select from mud/sand, rock/dirt, normal, and snow modes. 


Like the majority of Toyota vehicles, the RAV4 has a reputation for being dependable. Even after crossing the 150,000-mile mark, owners rarely experience any major mechanical problems. Of course, maintenance will need to be performed at the recommended intervals. Many car shoppers are aware of the RAV4's excellent build quality. This is a big reason why resale value tends to be higher than average. 

Don’t expect the Rogue to be quite as reliable as the RAV4. Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission is a key weak point. Not only does this gearless transmission have a shorter life expectancy, but it’s also susceptible to overheating when ascending mountain roads. To keep the transmission performing well, owners absolutely must have it serviced on time. Changing the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles is critical. 


Whether you choose the RAV4 or the Rogue, your family can look forward to enjoying a relaxing trip. The vehicles do a good job of delivering a smooth ride. However, the Rogue benefits from Nissan's top-rated Zero Gravity front seats. These NASA-inspired seats are specially engineered to reduce back pain and stiffness. 

Most passengers will have enough space when sitting in the Toyota RAV4’s backseat. However, there’s extra legroom in the rear of the Rogue. There’s also more cargo space behind the Rogue’s second row. 

Fuel Economy

Front-wheel-drive RAV4 models can return up to 27 mpg in town and 35 mpg on the highway. The Rogue’s updated powertrain is rated to deliver 30 mpg in city traffic and 37 mpg on the freeway. Keep in mind that Rogue models built prior to 2021 have a lower rating of 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway. Both SUVs are designed to use regular unleaded gas. 

Which SUV Should You Choose?

While both of these SUVs prove to be solid family haulers, the RAV4 definitely holds the edge when it comes to long-term reliability. A higher towing capacity also makes the RAV4 a better pick for drivers who need to haul their weekend toys. Furthermore, adventurous families will better enjoy the RAV4 TRD Off-Road. 

If you desire superb everyday comfort, don’t hesitate to go with the Rogue. Remember, the Rogue also boasts a more spacious interior design. Passengers will ultimately have a tad more room to stretch out.