Sometimes, the right car for you might not be the best one in its segment. When it comes to the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue hybrids, the Nissan just isn’t as good as the Toyota, but not everyone has an extra $1,000$2,000 to spend on a new car. With the Nissan, the Rogue hybrid could be an option for crossover buyers who didn’t realize the Rogue they’ve always wanted was offered as a hybrid. So although the RAV4 is the better hybrid crossover overall, after spending time driving and testing a 2017 Rogue Hybrid, we discovered the Nissan still has a few positives going for it.
Where the 2017 Rogue Hybrid really stands out is how inexpensive the upgrade is from nonhybrid to hybrid. The premium is only about $1,000 depending on trim, and thanks in part to the availability of front-drive variants, prices are generally less than the RAV4 Hybrid, which is only available with all-wheel drive, before considering regional incentives. Subjectively and objectively, however, the crossover can’t quite match the driving experience of the RAV4 Hybrid.
Take acceleration. Track-tested 060-mph acceleration from Motor Trend might seem like an afterthought in a hybrid crossover, but it shouldn’t be. Whether you’re trying to pass on a two-lane road or just entering a freeway from a short on-ramp, acceleration should still be somewhere on the list of priorities. The 2017 Rogue Hybrid we tested in SL AWD trim hit 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, up from a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid in Limited AWD trim at 8.2 seconds and a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid in the lower XLE AWD trim at 7.8 seconds.
The 2017 RAV4 Hybrid’s EPA-rated 34/30 mpg beat the Nissan in city-style driving (EPA city results comprise just over half of the organization’s combined city/highway ratings), and the Rogue didn’t do well in our Real MPG test results. Real MPG involves using a $150,000 gas analyzer and a set test route to get a real-world perspective on fuel economy.
For those considering a hybrid and nonhybrid Rogue, the hybrid’s brakes will require an adjustment in driving style. The brake feel is a bit unnatural, which isn’t as much of an issue as how slow the steering is tuned.