Nissan Rogue vs Ford Escape: Compare crossover SUVs
As compact crossovers, the Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue are popular entries in what is considered one of the nerve centers of the American auto market, largely replacing the midsize sedan in the American family landscape.
Both offer plenty of interior space and comfort, as well as comprehensive feature lists, with available all-wheel drive and a bit more ground clearance than passenger cars, which often adds up to an easier time getting in and out. Neither is designed to please performance enthusiasts, but the Escape is offered in a wide range of versions, including sporty ST-Line versions as well as mileage-focused Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid versions.
The Nissan Rogue should not be confused with the Rogue Sport, which was a much smaller car that was about 10 inches shorter than the Rogue and started about $3,000 less than the base Rogue. This model is not back for 2023.
2023 Ford Escape
Prices and features of Nissan Rogue vs Ford Escape
The Base Rogue starts at just under $29,000
The Base Escape starts at just under $30,000
Both models are priced around $40,000, with the exception of the Escape Plug-In Hybrid being even higher than that so far
Top Picks: Rogue SL, Ford Escape ST-Line, Escape Hybrid Active
How much is a Nissan Rogue?
The Nissan Rogue is offered in S, SL, SV, and Platinum models, with base S versions starting at $28,695. The top-level Platinum versions start at $39,975. On any of these models, all-wheel drive is $1,500 on top of front-wheel drive.
Options are limited in the Rogue, consisting of a few comfort-oriented extras. Examples include the premium Platinum package on Platinum, which gains heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, and a head-up display for an additional $620. Probably the best value represents the Rogue SL, which can be optioned with the Premium package that adds a power liftgate, upgraded infotainment system and Bose audio, among other extras, bringing it to about $38,000.
Separately, the Midnight Edition available on mid-range models adds a black theme throughout the model, including the wheels, for an additional $1,535.
How much does a Ford Escape cost?
The Ford Escape spans a wide range of prices depending on its powertrain (turbo-3, Hybrid, or Plug-In Hybrid) and whether you choose front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Pricing starts at about $29,500 for the base version with the Turbo 3 and front-wheel drive or about $31,000 with all-wheel drive and tops out at about $42,000 for the Escape Plug-In Hybrid, which is only offered in front-wheel-drive form and can be loaded up to about $47,000.
For the Turbo-3 and Hybrid, the top trims are Platinum or ST-Line Elite, priced at around $40,000 and $41,000, respectively. The ST-Line can be loaded for $46,000.
The new 2023 ST-Line model range takes on a sportier flair with a black mesh grille, rear skid plate and spoiler, as well as red stitching, seat trim, center armrest and more. A firmer suspension, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and 18-inch wheels were also added.
The new Active models sit in the middle, replacing the previous SE and SEL models and landing in the low $30,000 range. A panoramic roof and one of two large technology option packages could also push prices toward the $40,000 mark.
Advantage: Nissan Rogue, because it starts a little lower and can be equipped with convenient features for a lower profit.
Nissan Rogue 2023
Ford Escape vs. Nissan Rogue Size, seating capacity, and cargo space
The Rogue is a little taller and longer, and the Escape is a little wider
In overall passenger volume they are almost identical
The Rogue feels bigger than the Escape inside — more so than the numbers suggest
Comparing the Escape and Rogue in overall size, it’s a toss-up. The Ford Escape is about 180 inches long, 74 inches wide and 66 inches high, and rides on a wheelbase that is about 107 inches long. The Rogue, on the other hand, is about 183 inches long, 72 inches wide, and 67 inches high, with a wheelbase that’s also about 107 inches.
But in terms of official passenger volume, the difference is subtle — 104 cubic feet of total passenger volume for the Escape and just over 105 cubic feet for the Rogue.
The sense of the Rogue’s space advantage is most apparent with the seats folded down: 74 cubic feet behind the front seat in the Rogue versus about 65 in the Escape. Cargo space with the seats up tells a somewhat different story—although the Divide-N-Hide section on the Rogue SL and Platinum levels helps increase cargo space to 36.5 cubic feet.
The passenger dimensions show no clear advantage to either. But between the two, the Rogue has the more comfortable seats. This may be the psychological effect of the Rogue’s seemingly wider door pieces, or the height of its seat, but we suspect the Rogue will feel a little roomier to most people.
Advantage: It’s basically the same size, but the Nissan Rogue offers more cargo, especially with the rear seats folded, and feels roomier all around.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line
Ford Escape vs Nissan Rogue
Skip the Rogue if you plan on towing with any regularity, no matter how small
Choose the Escape version with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 to tow up to 3,500 pounds
Even hybrids can tow a little
The Rogue is only approved to tow 1,500 pounds, with only 150 pounds on the tongue. Its CVT design tends to be less good in diameter.
The Escape is the champ here, with tow ratings of up to 3,500 with the Trailer Tow Package and the 2.0-liter inline-4 engine. The base Turbo-3 can tow 2,000 pounds in front- or all-wheel-drive versions, the Hybrid can tow 1,500 pounds, and even the Plug-in. In Hybrid is good for 1,500 lbs.
Advantage: None of these models can tow large loads, but the Escape is the model to get if you plan to tow occasionally.
Nissan Rogue 2023
Nissan Rogue vs. Ford Escape off-road
The Nissan Rogue offers 8.2 inches of ground clearance, while the Ford Escape has about 7.5 inches in gasoline form, depending on the version. The Escape Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid versions offer slightly less.
In stock form, all-wheel-drive versions of the Rogue have a suspension tune that makes them more forgiving of rocky trail use.
However, neither of these models offer real off-road undercarriage protection or are actually very durable – the Escape ST-Line’s rear skid plate is mostly for show, for example. Both versions in four-wheel drive form will be able to handle snow-covered trails, and access to the occasional muddy or sandy campsite.
Feature: Rogue. But you shouldn’t really buy either of them for off-roading.
2023 Ford Escape ST-Line
Safety between Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue
The list of standard active safety items is impressive for both.
Neither the Nissan Rogue nor the Ford Escape have top-tier all-around safety ratings.
The Ford Escape scores somewhat better in crash tests.
Under the stricter IIHS standards, the Nissan Rogue is no longer in the top tier for safety. Its “marginal” scores in the updated moderate-overlap frontal test and “acceptable” side-impact scores in the updated test make it good but not the best. It’s also not top-tier in NHTSA testing, with a four-star frontal crash score.
The Ford Escape gets mostly top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but its rating is just “marginal” in that agency’s updated side impact testing. In NHTSA testing, the Escape achieved five-star front, side and overall scores.
Both models offer automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors as standard, as well as well-tested headlights. You can get adaptive cruise control, which some might see as a safety feature, on either the Rogue or Escape. This year the Escape adds an enhanced safety package with available rear brakes and an evasive steering feature.
Feature: Ford Escape
Nissan Rogue 2023
Performance of Nissan Rogue vs. Ford Escape
The Rogue has more power and torque, but in base versions, acceleration is about the same
The Escape is more responsive in passing, and more interactive in handling
Hybrid versions are slower but get more mpg
Both of these mainstream crossovers are powered by an engine that would have been a fringe player a few years ago: a 1.5-liter turbo-3. The Rogue’s Turbo-3 engine produces 201 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque, while the similarly sized Escape produces 180 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque.
The tables have been turned in real-world drivability, though, as the Rogue’s CVT feels sluggish and reluctant to gear up for quick passes — even if the power is there. Counterintuitively, the Escape’s eight-speed gearbox is much more fluid. Stopping the clock is negligence. With these base engines, both the Rogue and Escape can reach 60 mph in less than eight seconds.
The Escape offers two other engines. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque — a big difference, with a 0-60 time of less than six seconds and plenty of passing power. Escape Hybrid models, with a total output of about 200 horsepower, aren’t as quick as the Turbo-3 but they make up for it in gas mileage.
The ride and handling characteristics of the Rogue vs. The Escape is a big difference, so take it for a test drive. The Escape doesn’t look at all like Ford’s larger SUVs, and the Rogue doesn’t look particularly nimble. Or to sum it up, the Escape rides like an SUV with the sharp bones of a compact car, but the Rogue has a way more comfortable ride and handling that feels like a smaller version of the larger Pathfinder.
Advantage: Escape, due to its sharper handling and available high-output turbo 4.
2023 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
Ford Escape vs Nissan Rogue fuel economy
Apples-to-apples With the base Turbo 3 engines, the Rogue is more fuel efficient than the Escape
The AWD system lowers the Escape’s combined mileage more than the Rogue
Escape Hybrid models get up to 40 mpg combined
The Nissan Rogue gets up to 30 mpg city, 37 highway, 33 combined, for base versions, while other versions are 1 mpg lower. AWD drops another 1 mpg, versus 31 mpg combined.
The Ford Escape is an interesting case because the standard non-hybrid versions aren’t as efficient as the Rogue. Escape models with the base Turbo-3 engine achieve 27 mpg city, 34 city, and 30 combined, while all-wheel-drive versions drop to 26/32/28 mpg. All-wheel drive models with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 aren’t much lower, at 23/31/26 mpg.
But the Escape is offered as a hybrid, and hybrid models, with either front- or all-wheel drive, are rated at 42 mpg city, 36 highway, and 39 combined.
In previous model years, the Escape Plug-In Hybrid achieved 37 miles on all-electric use and then 40 mpg combined.
Feature: Hybrid escape
Nissan Rogue 2023
Nissan Rogue vs Ford Escape interior and technology
Both have 8.0-inch touchscreens at the entry level
Mid-level Escape models and above can get a 13.2-inch touchscreen
Rogue trends to soft and warm for cabin decorations, escaping to austere and sporty
Looking at the base versions of the Escape and Rogue, both include an 8.0-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Both models can be optioned with parking assistance systems, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display.
Escape models, from Active on up, can be had with a 13.2-inch touchscreen interface and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster that feels like a step forward in sophistication. Higher Platinum versions of the Rogue get a 12.3-inch digital control panel and a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen.
However, the Rogue impresses by including some features usually reserved for luxury brands. A panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather seats, and Bose audio can be had on the top Platinum model, if you’re willing to shell out the $42,000 price tag.
The Rogue also does a more convincing job of looking upscale, with better coordinated focal points and decorations. The Escape’s cabin leans toward an overuse of bright, dark trim that makes its cabin look like an elevated compact car.
Advantage: The Nissan Rogue doesn’t have any technical advantage, but it is convincingly more luxurious.
Nissan Rogue 2023
Which is better: rogue or escape?
The Nissan Rogue received a TCC rating of 6.5 out of 10, while the Ford Escape received a 6.3. That pretty much sums up how we see the base (and more popular versions) of this crossover in comparison, with the Rogue excelling in comfort, roominess and value. But if your priority is performance or fuel efficiency, things change.