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2021 Nissan Rogue Sport vs. 2021 Kia Seltos: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport and the 2021 Kia Seltos are the perfect companions for urban dwellers and empty nesters. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Nissan Rogue Sport: This subcompact SUV has one engine choice; it received a refresh in 2019.
  • Kia Seltos: Spunky and ready for fun; all-wheel drive is standard on all but one trim level.

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport Front Left Side in White

Base price: $25,110 / Read our 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport Review 

What we like: Compact size; easy to park; good standard safety set.

What we would change: Engine could use a boost; continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) drones on under hard acceleration; infotainment features are due for an update.

Overview: Not to be confused with the larger Rogue, the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is a stylishly handsome subcompact SUV with responsive steering, good handling and a body that is at home in the city and the country. It is only available with one engine choice and a CVT that can drone on if pressed hard during sudden acceleration. It does, however, calm down during regular highway cruising. The handsome interior includes a 7.0-inch NissanConnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a backup camera, Bluetooth, and a base 4-speaker audio system. Other standard features include 16-inch wheels, power mirrors, windows and door locks, and more.

What’s new for 2021: The Rogue Sport is a carryover from 2020, with no changes.

Features and technology: the Rogue Sport includes one engine option; a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. Trim levels include the base Sport S model, mid-level SV and top-flight SL. AWD is available on all trims for an additional $1,400.

The S model includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, remote keyless entry, a rearview camera, LED lighting and air conditioning.

The SV trim adds 17-inch wheels, push-button start, roof rails, a 6-way power driver seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The top-shelf SV is equipped with ProPilot Assist, navigation, 19-inch wheels, Nissan’s Around View Monitor, leather seats, and a heated steering wheel and seats. Available Options include the SV Technology package and SV All-Weather package, and on the SL, the Premium package, with a 9-speaker Bose audio system and a power sunroof, among other things.

Safety features include a rear door alert that remembers if a rear door was opened and to check it for someone or something left behind. Also on board: Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which includes rear automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

What does the future hold: 2022 will bring a new Nissan Rogue Sport to these shores. Based on the European Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, it should feature sharper styling and a more modern interior. See Nissan Rogue Sport models for sale near you 

2021 Kia Seltos

2021 Kia Seltos Front Right Side in Metallic Yellow

Base Price: $23,165 / Read our 2021 Kia Seltos Review

What we like:  Two engine choices; nearly all with AWD; solid safety suite; excellent warranty.

What we would change: Entry-level model deserves all the safety options, too.

Overview:  A new breed of cute-ute, the all-new Kia Seltos is an attractive, relatively spacious and fuel-efficient subcompact SUV that’s already getting its feet wet in a rather tough segment. Our consensus is to bypass the entry-level Kia Seltos LX, which is the only model without automatic emergency braking, and choose a Seltos S or above instead. From this level on, all models receive an impressive safety suite with lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention monitor. And don’t forget Kia’s outstanding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Kia Seltos is all-new for 2021.

Features and Technology: The 2021 Seltos comes in five trim levels: LX, S, EX, S Turbo, and SX Turbo. AWD is standard on all trim levels except the S. It’s a $1,600 package option on the S, and is grouped with heated front seats.

The Seltos LX comes standard with the 2.0-liter engine, a CVT, and AWD. The LX has an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 17-inch alloy wheels. One thing it lacks, though, is automatic emergency braking.

If you want that significant safety technology, it’s standard on the Seltos S and above. The S trim includes lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning and a driver attention monitor in addition to automatic emergency braking.

The Seltos EX, tops out the 2.0-liter models with AWD, and increases the content level to include a power driver’s seat, push-button start, Sofino synthetic leather interior trim, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a sunroof, Qi wireless phone charger, front and rear USB charging ports, and rear air ducts.

At the top of the line are the Seltos S Turbo and Seltos SX Turbo, two AWD models. The Seltos SX Turbo gets all the goodies, including adaptive cruise control with stop and go, an 8-speaker Bose audio system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, XM satellite radio, voice-command navigation, an electronic parking brake, and Kia’s Highway Driving Assist (HDA) feature. HDA enables the Seltos to adjust its speed according to the vehicle ahead of it and the posted speed limit when cruise control is engaged.

What does the future hold: This is a brand new vehicle for Kia. We expect just minor trim updates. See Kia Seltos models for sale near you

Rogue Sport vs. Seltos: Strengths Comparison

Nissan Rogue Sport: Good safety suite; handsome interior; small footprint.

Kia Seltos: Interesting looks; great feature set and safety set; excellent powertrain warranty.

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport vs. 2021 Kia Seltos:  Which is better?

The 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is a familiar friend, while the new 2021 Kia Seltos is the new kid on the block, offering a choice of engines with a terrific powertrain warranty. For this reason, we think the Seltos is better. Find a Nissan Rogue Sport for sale or  Find a Kia Seltos for sale

2021 Nissan Rogue Sport 2021 Kia Seltos
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter inline-4 2.0-liter inline-4
Horsepower 141 hp @ 6,000 rpm 146 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 147 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission CVT CVT
Fuel Economy 28 mpg (25 city/32 hwy) 31 mpg (29 city/34 hwy)
Also Available AWD, no other engines AWD, 1.6-liter turbo
Specs
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4-star 4-star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 104.2 inches 103.5 inches
Overall Length 172.8 inches 172.0 inches
Width 72.3 inches 70.9 inches
Height 62.5 inches 63.6 inches
Turning Diameter 36.9 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.6 inches 40.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.4 inches
Legroom, Front 42.8 inches 41.4 inches
Legroom, Rear 33.4 inches 38.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.6 inches 55.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.7 inches 54.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 96.0 cubic feet N/A
Cargo Volume 22.9/53.3 cubic feet 26.6/62.8 cubic feet 

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Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More

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