In the subcompact crossover class, the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport and 2021 Honda HR-V take some cues from their big brothers, packing a lot into a small footprint to be good city companions. Which is better?
- Both the Rogue Sport and HR-V have a single engine choice.
- Both offer some of the best cargo space in their class.
- Rogue Sport earns 32 mpg highway.
2021 Nissan Rogue Sport
Base price: $25,000 (est.) / Read our 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport Review
What we like: Sporty styling; responsive steering; compact size; good standard safety equipment
What we would change: Engine’s a bit underpowered; no other engine choices; CVT tends to drone under hard acceleration; some of the infotainment could use an update
Overview: Essentially a three-quarter size version of its big brother the Rogue, the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is a stylish, handsome compact SUV with good space, responsive steering, and a body sized perfectly for city driving. There’s only one engine choice, however, and the CVT tends to whine during hard acceleration. Fortunately, it sounds OK while cruising on the highway. The interior of the Rogue is well laid out and handsome, with a steering wheel that features redundant controls and a 7-inch touchscreen. Front seat legroom is good, but the rear is a little tight, and cargo space is only 22 cubic feet with the seats up. Fortunately, it expands to more than 60 with them down and there’s an optional cargo management system that keeps things in place. Standard equipment includes a number of good safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot warning. The default choice is front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is available for all-season driving and dirt roads; however, the Rogue Sport is not a true off-roader. Prices are fairly average for the segment, although resale values could be better.
What’s new for 2021: The Rogue Sport is a carryover from 2020, with no changes.
Features and technology: With a single engine and transmission choice, the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is offered in three trim levels. The base Sport S model comes with a 7-inch touchscreen audio system including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, and air-conditioning. Safety features include a rear door alert and what Nissan refers to as Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, high beam assist, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The next trim is called SV, and adds 17-inch wheels, roof rails, push-button start, a 6-way power driver seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The top-level SV gets 19-inch wheels, foglights, Nissan’s Around View Monitor, ProPilot assist, navigation, leather seats, and a heated steering wheel and seats. Options include the SV All-Weather package, the SV Technology package, and on the SL the Premium package, which adds a 9-speaker Bose audio system and a power sunroof, among other things.
What does the future hold: With a recent redesign, the changes to the Rogue Sport are likely to be incremental, although we would like to see better tuning of the CVT and possibly a more powerful engine in keeping with the “Sport” in its name. Find a 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport for sale near you
2021 Honda HR-V
Base price: $22,140 / Read our 2021 Honda HR-V Review
What we like: Fuel efficiency; great cargo space; reliability; resale value; optional all-wheel drive
What we would change: Offer Honda Sensing suite of driver assists on all trims; offer a more powerful upgrade engine; improve the interior
Overview: Sized somewhere between the Fit subcompact and the CR-V, the 2021 Honda HR-V’s small size belies its capacious interior and excellent cargo space. Powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder driven by a CVT, the HR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available on all trims. The HR-V is by no means quick, but the engine is sufficient to move it around, although it’s a bit underpowered when the HR-V is loaded with passengers and cargo. Handling is respectable, and the HR-V’s size makes it a good city companion. The exterior styling is relatively conservative, as expected from Honda, and the interior is much the same. However, perhaps borrowing a page from the Fit’s playbook, the HR-V’s cargo space is surprisingly roomy, with the rear seat able to flip and fold to expand the space for a useful 58.8 cubic feet of maximum space. The base LX is bare bones, offered without even Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists isn’t available until the higher EX trim. As expected from a Honda, reliability is excellent, as is resale value.
What’s new for 2021: Changes to the HR-V for 2021 are modest, and include new wheels on the Sport trim and above as well as rear privacy glass (tinted) on the Sport trim.
Features and technology: With a single engine and transmission choice, the 2021 Honda HR-V comes in four trim levels. As described above, the base LX trim is relatively bare bones, with folding rear seats, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and taillights, and a basic 5-inch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, a USB port, and, yes, a CD player. Next up is the Sport trim, which has a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the HondaLink remote system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and both foglights and roof rails. It also has 18-inch wheels and slightly sportier steering.
Next up is the EX trim, which is the first to offer the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids, as well as heated front seats, keyless entry, a moonroof, and automatic climate control. The top EX-L trim brings leather upholstery and a 180-watt audio system.
What does the future hold: Honda is a relatively conservative company, so we wouldn’t expect too much in the way of radical change, although we would like to see the Honda Sensing driver assists offered on all trims. Find a 2021 Honda HR-V for sale
Rogue Sport vs. HR-V: Strengths comparison
Rogue Sport Benefits: More standard safety features; standard driver assist features; standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
HR-V Benefits: Fuel economy; smoother ride; higher resale value; reputation for reliability.
2021 Nissan Rogue Sport vs. 2021 Honda HR-V: Which is better?
Reliable and well built, the 2021 Honda HR-V has a lot going for it, and it’s definitely the value choice here. However, that low price brings penalties, most notably the absence of both Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and the driver assists standard on most crossovers. For this reason, we say the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is the better choice. Find a 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport for sale or Find a Honda HR-V for sale
|2021 Nissan Rogue Sport||2021 Honda HR-V|
|Engine||2.0-liter I4||1.8-liter I4|
|Horsepower||141 hp @ 6,000 rpm||141 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||147 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm||127 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||28 mpg (25 city/32 highway)||30 mpg (28 city/34 highway)|
|Basic warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||n/a||5 Stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||104.2 inches||102.8 inches|
|Overall Length||172.8 inches||170.4 inches|
|Width||72.3 inches||69.8 inches|
|Height||62.5 inches||63.2 inches|
|Turning Diameter||36.9 feet||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||39.6 inches||39.5 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.3 inches||38.3 inches|
|Legroom, Front||42.8 inches||41.2 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||33.4 inches||39.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||56.6 inches||56.8 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||55.7 inches||54.5 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||96.0 cubic feet||100.1 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||61.1 cubic feet||58.8 cubic feet|