As a descendant of one of the original crossover SUVs, the 2014 Toyota RAV4 (Recreational Activity Vehicle 4-Wheel Drive) remains one of the most popular models of its kind. Comparatively, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is a relative newcomer, not as popular as the Toyota but still the second best-selling vehicle for Nissan. Which of the two models is based more successfully on the characteristics that car buyers claim to care about most? That's what we're here to determine.

2014 Nissan Rogue Changes

Completely redesigned this year, and now just one of two compact crossovers offered with a third-row seat, the 2014 Rogue delivers new technology and more rugged styling than the model it replaces. The previous Rogue model continues, however, now sold as the budget-priced Rogue Select.

2014 Toyota RAV4 Changes

Toyota redesigned its popular RAV4 last year, and for 2014 the crossover SUV receives next-generation Entune audio and infotainment systems. A new Technology Package is optional for the Limited model, adding a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert and Auto High-Beam features.

    

Reliability

Based on what vehicle owners have told Consumer Reports and J.D. Power about quality, dependability and reliability, the Toyota RAV4 enjoys a long history of favorable ratings in all three areas -- a trend that did not change with last year's redesign. As a result, Consumer Reports gives the 2014 RAV4 its highest possible rating for predicted reliability.

People who have purchased the Nissan Rogue are not quite as enthusiastic about their vehicles in terms of these qualities. Historically, Consumer Reports has rated the Rogue as better than average for reliability, though older Rogue models perform at an average level. J.D. Power ratings are less optimistic when it comes to both dependability and quality.

While the redesigned Rogue may improve in these areas, based on data that is available today, the 2014 Toyota RAV4 appears to be a good bet if you're seeking quality, dependability and reliability.

    

Fuel Economy

Weighing a minimum of 3,435 pounds, the 2014 RAV4 is equipped with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 176 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission delivers the power to the SUV's front wheels, unless buyers choose the optional Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive system. Based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings, the RAV4 returns between 22 miles per gallon in the city for the AWD model and 31 mpg on the highway for the front-drive model.

The redesigned 2014 Rogue weighs a little less than the Toyota at 3,393 pounds, but its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is also slightly less powerful at 170 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard for this model, and an Intuitive All-Wheel-Drive system is optional. That CVT makes a difference when it comes to fuel economy, with the Nissan's EPA estimates ranging from 25 mpg in the city with AWD to 33 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive.

Therefore, the victor in the fuel economy department is the Nissan.

    

Safety

Until the redesigned 2014 Rogue is subjected to crash tests, we can't decide whether or not it is a safer vehicle than the 2014 RAV4. The Rogue does, however, provide a greater range of safety technologies to compact crossover SUV buyers.

With the addition of a new Technology Package for the 2014 RAV4 Limited model, the Toyota is more competitive in terms of safety features, even if it can't quite match the Nissan item for item. Additionally, in terms of crash-test results, it appears that Toyota has some work to do on its popular crossover SUV.

In tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2014 RAV4 receives an overall rating of four stars, a notch down from the best rating, in part because the NHTSA gives the RAV4 a 3-star rating for front passenger protection in the frontal-impact test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2014 Toyota RAV4 the highest rating of Good in all evaluations except for the small overlap frontal-impact test, for which the crossover rates Poor.

    

Technology

When it comes to features and technology, the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue offers compact crossover SUV buyers more variety than the 2014 Toyota RAV4.

Both models are available with keyless passive entry and push-button starting, a power tailgate and safety features designed to warn the driver when another vehicle is in the SUV's blind spots, when the SUV is drifting from its lane and about vehicles that are approaching when the SUV is reversing. Additionally, both the Nissan and the Toyota are available with smartphone-pairing technology that offers access to popular mobile applications right from the in-dash display screen.

Where the 2014 Rogue pulls ahead is with regard to its Easy Fill Tire Alert system that makes maintaining proper tire pressures a snap, its available 360-degree Around View Monitoring system and its optional Forward Collision Warning system. Both the Nissan and the Toyota can be fitted with sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems, but the Rogue also offers Active Trace Control, Active Engine Braking and Active Ride Control, features that are designed to make the SUV more enjoyable and secure to drive. Additionally, Nissan offers a third-row seat for 7-passenger seating capacity, a panoramic sunroof, Quick Comfort heated front seats and NASA-derived zero-gravity seat designs.

When it comes to technology offerings, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is superior to the Toyota RAV4.

    

Value

The previous version of the Nissan Rogue did not rate as highly for value as the Toyota RAV4. Kelley Blue Book and ALG each predicted that the RAV4 would be worth a greater percentage of its original price after five years of ownership, and Cars.com gave the Toyota a higher overall value rating than the Nissan.

While it is true that the redesigned 2014 Rogue may improve on these fronts and that the Nissan is priced lower than the Toyota, based on existing data, it appears that the RAV4 is the better long-term value.

AutoTrader's Advice

Based on the parameters discussed above, the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue and the upgraded 2014 Toyota RAV4 are evenly matched, so choosing one over the other depends on what you value the most as a crossover SUV shopper. Once the Rogue is subjected to crash tests, however, it will emerge victorious if it receives a 5-star rating from the NHTSA combined with a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Find a Toyota RAV4 or a Nissan Rogue for sale

author photo

Christian Wardlaw is passionate about the cars, trucks, and SUVs people actually buy, not the models about which they fantasize. An industry veteran and former editor-in-chief of Edmunds.com, this father of 4 loves to inform and entertain everyday car buyers.

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