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Comparison: 2021 Nissan Rogue vs. 2021 Subaru Forester

Both of these popular compact SUVs make excellent choices, but which one do we recommend?

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2021 Nissan Rogue  

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $28,498 CDN 

 

Pros 

  • Sharp new styling 
  • Improved ProPilot Assist 
  • Comfortable ride 

 

Cons 

  • All-wheel-drive costs extra 
  • Limited towing capacity 

 

2021 Nissan Rogue Highlights

 

All-new for 2021, the 3rd-generation Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in Canada. Pricing starts with the $28,498 CDN Rogue S in front-wheel-drive form, with traction at all four wheels a $2,300 CDN option. From the base S trim to the fully-loaded $39,998 CDN Platinum, the only power choice for the 4-door, 5-passenger Rogue is a 2.5-litre gas engine. Rated at 181 horsepower 181 pound-feet of torque, the 4-cylinder gains 10% more horsepower and 3% more torque than the outgoing engine. The newfound power goes to the wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) tweaked for better acceleration and fuel economy. Nissan says it spent much effort improving the Rogue’s interior. The front seats offer a good blend of comfort and support. In the back, there are small increases in knee and headspace. The new Rogue’s cargo area has a slightly broader and taller opening, and the cargo capacity behind the rear seat has grown from 906 litres to 1,033. 

The Nissan Rogue has always stood out in this class for its comfortable and quiet ride quality, vital if you prioritize plushness as much as you do practicality. From an active safety standpoint, Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driving also continues to evolve. Available starting with the $31,998 CDN Rogue SV FWD, ProPilot has improved radar and is now better at picking up lane markings. Opt for the topline Rogue Platinum, and ProPilot includes Navi-link, where the system communicates with the nav system to slow automatically for bends in the highway and junctions and exits. 

 

2021 Subaru Forester  

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $28,995 CDN 

 

Pros 

Roomy for a compact-crossover SUV 

All-wheel drive is standard 

Plenty of standard safety features 

 

Cons 

Styling is somewhat rustic 

Limited rear cargo space 

 

2021 Subaru Forester Highlights 

 

The current, 5th-generation Forester arrived for 2019. 2021 versions range from the $28,995 CDN base trim to the topline $40,095 CDN Premier. Similar to the Rogue, all Foresters are powered by a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder. The Subaru compact SUV’s engine makes similar numbers to the Nissan: 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, and is also mated to a CVT. However, unlike the Rogue, all Foresters come with all-wheel-drive as standard equipment. 

Also like the Nissan, the Subaru compact SUV is roomy for the class. Wider than the Rogue, the Forester offers plenty of front-seat shoulder room. Legroom is also generous—a 6-foot-tall passenger can sit comfortably behind a 6-foot driver. The centre console houses either a 6.5-inch infotainment display or an 8-inch touchscreen in the higher trims. Not as roomy as the Nissan, there are 1,002 litres of cargo space behind the Subaru’s rear seats. 

On the road, the Subaru Forester’s ride quality is well sorted, providing comfort balanced by enough control to keep the SUV from leaning too much through quick curves, also enhanced by a torque-vectoring system that attenuates individual wheel speeds for optimum stability. Impressive, given the almost 22 centimetres of ground clearance. Off pavement, the Forester’s Symmetrical Full-Time all-wheel-drive excels. Its standard off-road-ready systems include X-MODE with Hill Descent Control and Subaru Intelligent Drive, an advanced engine management system with driver-selectable modes tailored to suit different conditions. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assistance technology system is also standard, warning and even aiding your ability to avoid potential danger.  

 

Final Recommendation 
 

The 2021 Nissan Rogue and 2021 Subaru Forester are great examples of how competitive the current compact SUV class is. Dig into the details—powertrains, fuel economy estimates, and factory warranties—and there is very little to choose from between this pair. If you like the Nissan’s fresher styling, comfort-oriented driving characteristics and generous rear cargo space, the new 2021 version is easy to recommend. But we think the Subaru offers a bit more flexibility for either on- or off-road driving. 

For starters, Subaru includes AWD and its EyeSight Driver Assistance technology as standard equipment with the Forester, whereas Nissan charges extra for AWD and its ProPilot semi-autonomous driving technology. The Forester can tow more than the Rogue. And while the Subaru is more willing to take on a challenging road, its full-time AWD and extensive off-road driving aids also give it the upper hand over the Nissan when the pavement runs out, cementing the Forester as our recommendation. 
 

 

Specs 

2021 Nissan Rogue 

2021 Subaru Forester 

 

Engine 

2.5-litre I4 

 

2.5-litre F4 

 

Horsepower 

181 hp @ 6,000 rpm 

 

182 hp @ 5,800 rpm 

 

Torque 

181 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm 

 

176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 

 

Transmission 

Continuously variable automatic 

Continuously variable automatic 

Fuel Economy 

8.1 L/100 km (8.9 city, 7.0 hwy) 

8.2 L/100 km (9.0 city, 7.2 hwy) 

Warranty 

3 years/60,000 km 

3 years/60,000 km 

Max Seating Capacity 

Curb Weight 

1,536 kgs 

1,575 kgs 

Wheelbase 

2,706 mm 

2,670 mm 

Overall Length 

4,648 mm 

4,625 mm 

Width 

1,840 mm 

2,052 mm 

Height 

1,689 mm 

1,730 mm 

Headroom, Front 

1,044 mm 

1,047 mm 

Headroom, Rear 

996 mm 

1,007 mm 

Legroom, Front 

1,100 mm 

1,101 mm 

Legroom, Rear 

978 mm 

1,000 mm 

Shoulder Room, Front 

1,450 mm 

1,478 mm 

Shoulder Room, Rear 

1,420 mm 

1,454 mm 

Cargo Volume, Behind 2nd-row seats 

1,033 L 

881 L 

 

Towing Capacity 

1,350 lbs (612 kgs)  

1,500lbs (680 kgs)  

 

 

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