The Honda CR-V was one of the very first compact SUVs built. In fact, the CR-V created the mold from which all other SUVs are crafted, including the Nissan Rogue. Now, nearly twenty years later, SUVs like the 2016 Honda CR-V outsell all other types of vehicles. And in today’s overcrowded field of crossovers, the 2016 Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue stand out as two of the top dogs, thanks to their innovative features, abundances of space, unique versatility, and best-in-class safety ratings.

As inquisitive Honda dealers in South Florida, we decided to put an end to the “CR-V vs. Rogue” debate and answer the question once and for all: Who would emerge from the intense showdown as champion of the SUV class? Let’s find out.

The Finest in Safety and Reliability

Honda has continually been leading the automotive pack when it comes to reliability and safety, and thanks to the 2016 Honda CR-V, Honda should have no fear of being overtaken as the frontrunner.

Carrying over 2015’s successful ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body style, which ingeniously directs energy away from passengers and drivers in a collision, the 2016 Honda CR-V is undoubtedly top in its class. The proof of such a claim comes in the form of a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS and a five-star rating overall from the NHTSA.

To assist drivers better than ever before, Honda jumped into the technology fray and added new safety features to its CR-V lineup of SUVs. Such features include a multi-angle rearview camera (which is a nifty system to guide the narrow SUV into tight parking spots) and the unique Honda Sensing suite. Honda Sensing offers driver-assistive technology in the form of Adaptive Cruise Control, a feature that automatically adjusts cruising speed based on road factors; Lane Keeping Assistance, a refined steering system that centers the SUV upon detection of accidental lane changes; Lane Departure Warning, a system that alerts drivers when the CR-V is drifting between lanes; and Collision Mitigation Braking, a sensor-oriented feature that breaks to avoid an otherwise unavoidable collision.

Thanks to safety-first engineering and features, Honda’s CR-V has set the bar high and earned tons of praise and a multitude of accolades, including five (of the last six!) Best Compact SUV for Families awards and two Best Compact SUV for the Money trophies from U.S. News. And if you polled everyone who’s purchased a CR-V from our Honda dealers in South Florida, we’re confident they’d agree with U.S. News.

Comparatively, the 2016 Nissan Rogue garnered a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS and a four-star review from the NHTSA—both ratings excellent in and of themselves, but not nearly as praiseworthy as those heaped unto the CR-V—and does not offer safety technology to match that of the CR-V’s Honda Sensing suite. We also find the line of sight from the Rogue’s driver’s seat to be inferior to the unobstructed view from the CR-V’s.

Compact SUVs: Anything but Compact

With similar cargo capacity and passenger volume measurements, both the CR-V and Rogue provide a generous amount of elbow room and comfort to passengers. Honda and Nissan engineers, however, took different approaches to maximize the cabin space. And it shows.

The 2016 Honda CR-V comes with a power liftgate to access the 37.2 cubic feet of cargo space, a second row of 60/40-split seating that folds down to increase cargo capacity to 70.9 cubic feet, a thoughtfully designed center console to stay organized, dual-zone AC, and more.

The 2016 Nissan Rogue comes with a liftgate that provides access to the cargo area, in addition to tucked-away third-row seating, a panoramic moonroof, and a Divide-N-Hide cargo system that offers configurable storage space—the Rogue’s real saving grace.

Upon first look, the CR-V, with just a single row of rear seats, seems less accommodating to families than the Rogue and its third-row offering. However, we find that the reclining rear seats of the CR-V feel more luxurious, and because it has no bulging central console to intrude upon the rear legroom, a fifth adult passenger can sit very comfortably back there. The cargo floor also sits lower than previous models, allowing the loading and unloading of objects to be less of a hassle.

While the thoughtfulness of a third-row seat is evident in the Nissan Rogue, its engineers missed the mark in its implementation. Nissan defined its third-row of seats as “occasional seating” features, and we feel like even that is too complimentary. The “occasional seating” seems fit for children perhaps, but no normal-sized adult could utilize that space as intended. It’s far too tight. The Rogue’s proprietary Divide-N-Hide system is quite handy, however, and could be adopted by other manufacturers in due time.

Feature-Full & Stylish SUVs

Both the 2016 CR-V and its rival Nissan Rogue are full of modern features and designed to inspire. These crossover SUVs are statements that Honda and Nissan have embraced the future—and their vision of the future appears to be here to stay.

The 2016 Honda CR-V comes in the following five trims (and their respective features):

  • LX – The base model CR-V LX comes standard with a rearview camera, ECO Assist, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, and Pandora music streaming capability.
  • SE – The SE trim comes with an enhanced security system, a tinted rear window, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
  • EX – The EX model is available with a 7-inch touchscreen display, power moonroof, HondaLink Next Generation technology, a 10-way power driver’s seat with incredible lumbar support, push button start, and LED daytime lights.
  • EX-L – The EX-L has a dual-zone climate control built into the center console, as well as leather-trimmed seats.
  • Touring – The CR-V Touring features a liftgate, the Honda Sensing safety suite, Honda navigation, and side mirrors with turn indicators.

The 2016 Nissan Rogue offers only these three trims and features:

  • S – The entry-level S trim of the Nissan Rogue comes with daytime running lights, a static rearview camera, and ECO mode.
  • SV – The SV level offers a 6-way power driver’s seat, push button start, and dual-zone AC.
  • SL – The SL features 18” alloy wheels, 7-inch monitor with NissanConnect and navigation, and leather-appointed seats.

Drivers who expect a wide selection of offerings when entering a dealership may feel underwhelmed by the Nissan Rogue. With only the above trim levels available, the Nissan Rogue is falls short in versatility when compared to the 2016 Honda CR-V. When it comes to available features, the CR-V beats the Rogue by offering several more useful ones.

An Ideal Driving Experience with Power & Performance

Judging car performance and power is rarely subjective, so when the “CR-V vs. Rogue” engine comparison came up, we were excited to see which would be pushing proverbial daisies.

First the specs. The CR-V is equipped with a 2.4L in-line 4-cylinder that pumps out 185hp at 181 lb-ft of torque, which is rated to tow up to 1500lbs. The Nissan Rogue is fitted with a 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder that ekes out a less-than-thrilling 170hp at 175 lb-ft, allowing it to tow just 1000lbs. Both have excellent fuel economy at 29 and 28 mpg, respectively.

When comparing numbers, the CR-V is the clear winner, outshining the Rogue on nearly all fronts.

If we put those numbers aside, the CR-V still seems leaps and bounds ahead of its Nissan counterpart. It has a smoother transmission (Honda’s CVTs are regarded as best-in-class) and smaller, quieter engine, feels more powerful, and handles turns with ease. In all, Honda’s beloved SUV gives drivers a more satisfying experience.

Winner by Unanimous Decision: the 2016 Honda CR-V Crossover SUV

Compact SUVs are clearly the wave of the future thanks to their versatility, and there’s no clearer champion of the SUV field than the 2016 Honda CR-V. With its spaciousness, features, and near-perfect safety ratings, the newest CR-V is a revelation. While the Nissan Rogue put up an admirable fight, in the end the obvious choice presented us with a more balanced amount of practicality and innovativeness.

Come see for yourself why the CR-V is in a class of its own. Visit one of our Honda dealerships near Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Port St. Lucie to start your test drive. At South Florida Honda Dealers, we’re always happy to find our CR-Vs new forever-homes.