A red 2023 Nissan Rogue is shown driving after winning a 2023 Nissan Rogue vs 2023 Toyota RAV4 comparison.

The Great Crossover Contest: The 2023 Nissan Rogue vs. The 2023 Toyota RAV4

America has had an ongoing love affair with the pickup truck. This is why it is unsurprising that the three best-selling vehicles in America are trucks. However, America has developed a new love with the crossover. If you look at the best-selling models for 2022, you’ll notice that many of the top models are crossovers. Many drivers across the country have discovered the versatility of these compact SUVs. Two of the most popular models are the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. In fact, the RAV4 ranked fourth in sales last year with 399,941 vehicles sold, trailed by the Rogue in sixteenth place with sales of 186,480. However, comparing the 2023 Nissan Rogue vs 2023 Toyota RAV4 shows that popularity is not always the best measure when comparing two very similar vehicles.

Both the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 are designed to seat five passengers comfortably, with an emphasis on fuel economy, making them great options for commuters and family drivers. In addition, both come equipped with an array of standard driver assistance features. As a result, both vehicles were named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and received 5-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Finally, each has received its fair share of industry accolades, with the Rogue being named a top pick by Motor Trend and Kelley Blue Book awarding the RAV4 as a best buy. However, looking deeper into these two vehicles, you will see key differences that show the 2023 Rogue has an edge over the 2023 RAV4.

A blue 2023 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid is shown driving on a road.

Crossing Over to Better Performance

The key to any vehicle is its powertrain. This engine and transmission combination will dictate how well a vehicle will perform under most circumstances. Both the 2023 Nissan Rogue and 2023 Toyota RAV4 have been equipped with exceptional powertrains designed to serve these vehicles well. Nissan has given the Rogue a 1.5-liter Turbo I-3 gas engine with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission. This combination uses direct fuel injection to deliver up to 201 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque.

Toyota has equipped the RAV4 with a larger engine than the Nissan Rogue; a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder gas engine paired with a Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine uses a combination of direct and port fuel injection, which Toyota calls a Dual-injection system. The powertrain on the RAV4 can produce up to 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.

The key difference between the two engines is that Nissan has equipped the Rogue with a turbocharger, allowing it to boost performance with its smaller engine. This is why the Rogue produces more torque than the RAV4 while having similar horsepower numbers. As a result, the Rogue has better acceleration than the RAV4, able to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.8 seconds; the RAV4 needs 8.4 seconds to get up to 60 mph.

In addition, the Rogue provides better overall fuel economy than the RAV4. Both are offered with front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. The Nissan Rogue offers Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, while the Toyota RAV4 has the available Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive. The FWD Rogue gets you 30 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway, while the RAV4 offers 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway in FWD. If you opt for all-wheel drive, you will still get better fuel economy in the Rogue, with 28 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. The only area where the 2023 RAV4 outperforms the Rogue is in trailering. The RAV4 can tow up to 3500 lbs, while the Rogue tops out at 1500 lbs.

A white 2023 Nissan Rogue is shown driving off-road.

In a Crossover, Size Matters

Space comes at a premium in a smaller vehicle. With less room to work with, designers need to make every inch count when dealing with a crossover SUV. This is clearly demonstrated in the 2023 Nissan Rogue and 2023 Toyota RAV4. While both models provide space for up to 5 passengers, the Rogue will give you and your passengers more room. If you choose a Nissan Rogue with a moonroof, you will get 100.4 cu.ft. of passenger space in the cabin. If you opt out of the moonroof, this increases to an impressive 105.4 cu.ft. of space. The RAV4 can’t compare with only 98.9 cu.ft. of space inside its passenger compartment.

This difference in interior space can be seen in several ways. For example, front-row passengers in the Rogue get 41.1 inches of headroom, while those in the back seat enjoy 43.3 inches of headroom. This is significantly more than the 37.7 inches of headroom in the front row of the RAV4 and the 39.5 inches in the back. You can also see this with legroom. The Rogue gives passengers 41.5 inches of legroom in the front row and 38.5 inches in the back. This is slightly more than the 41 inches in the front seats of the RAV4 and the 37.8 inches in the rear. Still, these little increases can make a big difference on a long road trip.

The Rogue also provides a better arrangement for cargo space. The 2023 RAV4 has a slightly larger cargo compartment, measuring 37.6 cu.ft. compared to the 36.5 cu.ft. in the Rogue. However, if you fold down the rear seats, you can fit more cargo in the Rogue than in the RAV4, a full 74.1 cu.ft. compared to 69.8 cu.ft. in the RAV4, giving the Rogue a clear edge over the RAV4.

A blue 2023 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid is shown parked.

That’s Infotainment!

No matter which model you choose, these two vehicles will help you and your passengers stay connected. The 2023 Nissan Rogue features the NissanConnect system with either an 8-inch or 9-inch color touch-screen display, depending on which trim level you choose. Similarly, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 comes with a Toyota Audio Multimedia infotainment system with either an 8-inch or 10.5-inch display screen. Like the Nissan, the screen size depends on which trim level you choose.

There are a number of differences between the two systems. Toyota offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay across all trim levels, while Nissan offers this feature on higher trim levels. Still, no matter whether you choose the Rogue or the RAV4, you will be able to stay connected wherever you go with audio streaming via Bluetooth, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The only real distinction is that Toyota allows you to leave the charging cables at home in all of the 2023 RAV4 models.

The RAV4 also has a six-speaker audio system on all models, whereas the base model Rogue S has four speakers. For those who are true audiophiles, both automakers feature a premium audio system on their respective crossover models. The Toyota RAV4 is available with an 11-speaker JBL Premium Audio system with a subwoofer. The Nissan Rogue features an available Bose Premium Audio system, also with a subwoofer. These premium audio systems are standard equipment on the top trim levels.

The tan and black interior and dash of a 2023 Nissan Rogue is shown.

Crossing Over to a Crossover

The success of the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 has shown how American tastes have changed over the years. While pickup trucks remain the most popular models, crossover SUVs have moved up in the ranks, surpassing sedans and other sized SUVs. This is because an increasing number of drivers have seen the value in a roomy, safe, and maneuverable vehicle that gets exceptional fuel economy.

The 2023 Rogue and 2023 RAV4 check all the boxes, which is why they are two of the best-selling crossover models. However, the Rogue gets extra points for better fuel economy, a roomier interior, and improved acceleration. While the Toyota RAV4 is an exceptional crossover, it just can’t compete with the Nissan Rogue’s larger cabin and increased performance.