Compact utility, now with more miles per gallon

We recently posted an article that argued that the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid is the way forward for the compact crossover segment, lauding its combination of comfort, practicality, technology, and most critically, efficiency. However, Toyota isn’t the only automaker in this space, with both Nissan and Subaru offering competing models that could very well steal sales from the T-badge. But how do these three look in a direct comparison?

Exterior Styling

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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With the RAV4 now entering its fifth generation, Toyota has completely revamped the exterior styling.

Now, the crossover bears a much more truck-like aesthetic, with a bold, upright stance, chunkier proportions, and more muscular body panels. Gone is the car-like demeanor, replaced by a true SUV attitude.

This also includes a Tacoma-esque front fascia, as well as reshaped headlight housings with LED’s as standard. The 2019 RAV4 also has a longer wheelbase than the previous model, while in the corners, the rollers are sized between 17 and 19 inches in diameter.

2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Exterior
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Next to the latest RAV4, the Nissan Rogue looks more pointed and sharp, with smoothed creases and sharp lines compared to the blocky Toyota.

The big standout feature up front is the crescent-shaped V-Motion grille, which takes a spot between the pulled-back headlight housings. Optional LED lighting elements illuminate the way forward, while checkmark LED daytime running lights add a little extra spice.

Wheel sizing ranges up to 18 inches in diameter, while higher on the body, the side view mirrors are offered with body-colored caps and a heating function, as well as integrated turn signals. Roof rails, a rear spoiler, and privacy glass round out the standard spec.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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To help it stand out next to its gas-only siblings, the Crosstrek Hybrid gains a host of unique features.

These include blue headlight projector rings and a silver metallic finish for the grille, front bumper garnish, body cladding, and fog light accents. Compared to the RAV4, the Crosstrek is considerably more streamlined and smoothed-over, with the various features pulled rearwards into the body from front to back. Standard spec includes LED headlights, LED fog lights, and a Steering Responsive Headlight feature that helps bend the forward light around turns.

Up top, the Crosstrek hybrid comes with black roof rails, while the rear is garnished with a black spoiler. Under the wheel wells, you’ll find 18-inch rollers with a machined finish and offset black color.

Interior Design

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek
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Per tradition, Toyota gave the 2019 RAV4 an all-new interior style to go with the fresh exterior stuff.

The look and layout gives it a more premium feel over the outgoing model, complemented by a quieter, more pliant ride overall. Wider elements give it a more roomy feel, while blue upholstery elements add a styling element that’s unique to the hybrid model. There’s also blue LED ambient lighting for the various onboard storage bins. Seating capacity is once again capped at 5 passengers, while passenger volume comes to 98.9 cubic feet. An eight-way adjustable driver’s seat keeps you comfortable.

2019 Toyota RAV4 - Driven
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The dash gets a standup 7.0-inch touchscreen as standard, while an 8.0-inch screen as optional.

Entune 3.0 runs the infotainment, while Wi-Fi Connect, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa round out the spec. There’s also Qi wireless charging to keep your devices running at 100 percent. Two-zone heated seats and a heated steering wheel come in handy in colder climates, and a Bird’s Eye View Camera makes for easy maneuvers in tight spaces. An available panoramic moonroof can be had for additional natural lighting, and for the audiophiles out there, there’s also an available JBL stereo offered with 11 speakers and 800 watts of power.

One of the RAV4’s biggest draws is the standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 tech suite, which includes features like a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, and Rear Cross Traffic Braking.

In the rear, you’ll find oodles of cargo space, with 37.6 cubic feet just behind the second row. A cargo net and additional storage areas make the most of it.

2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Interior
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Looking at the cabin in the Rogue, the first thing to jump out at us is the curvaceousness of the various panels and overarching design.

Then there’s the standard flat-bottom steering wheel, which adds a sprinkle of sportiness. Standout features include a six-way adjustable driver’s seat and a four-way adjustable front passenger seat, as well as standard heating for the front seats and an optional heated steering wheel. Leather trimming lines the the shifter, and there’s available leather upholstery for added backside softness. Banging tunes can be had with the available Bose stereo, while up top is an optional panoramic moonroof. Total passenger room is rated at 106.8 cubic feet.

Standard infotainment specs includes a 5-inch center digital display, four-speaker audio, auxiliary audio inputs, USB inputs, and Bluetooth support. There’s also an available 7.0-inch display and nine-speaker audio system, plus Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an Intelligent Around-view Monitor.

2017 Nissan Rogue High Resolution Interior
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Assists include Rear Door Alert and Rear Automatic Braking.

You also get such standards as Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and High Beam Assist as standard across the range.

In back, the hybrid Rogue still offers a flat floor for the cargo area. Cargo volume is measured at 27.3 cubic feet behind the rear bench. The Motion-Activated Liftgate opens with a kick under the bumper.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Interior
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Unlike its non-electrified counterparts, the Crosstrek hybrid comes decked out in Gray and Navy-Blue leather upholstery for the seats, door panels, and armrests.

Additional blue stitching and accent bits can be found throughout.

Highlight features include Automatic Climate Control, keyless access, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a power moonroof. Total passenger volume is rated at 100.7 cubic feet.

On the infotainment front, a 4.2-inch screen is mounted in the gauge cluster, while the dash comes with an 8.0-inch display screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto keep you connected, as do the dual USB ports in back and Bluetooth connectivity feature. Voice command keeps your eyes on the road, while the optional eight-speaker audio system pumps out 432 watts of power to keep you entertained. Unique to the Subaru’s plug-in powertrain are features like Remote Climate Control and a Remote Battery Charging Timer.

Standard safety gear includes the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite, which adds features like a Pre-Collision Braking system with Throttle Management, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure with Sway Warning, and Lane Keeping Assist. There’s also a Pedestrian Alert System to protect those outside the potentially silent-moving vehicle.

Finally, space in the trunk is rather limited, rated at just 15.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear bench.

Drivetrain And Performance

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2019 Toyota RAV4 - Driven
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Let’s just jump straight to most important spec here - the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid posts 41 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 39 mpg combined.

The heart of the matter is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which manages an impressive 40 percent thermal efficiency when it comes to burning the dino juice. Extra bang for your buck comes courtesy of the Toyota Hybrid System II, which includes a single electric motor mounted in the tail that increases torque levels at the rear axle by 30 percent compared to previous model. Providing the electrons is a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, while the Predictive Efficient Drive system enables more effective leveraging of the available battery power.

The whole shebang doles out a combined 219 horsepower, while the 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in a little less than 8 seconds. Routing the ponies to the ground is an electronically controlled CVT, and AWD comes as standard.

There’s also a new platform underneath the skin, specifically the Toyota New Global Architecture-K (TNGA-K).

2019 Toyota RAV4 - Driven
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This time around, Toyota made sure the RAV4 hybrid offers decent off-roading chops, tossing in a Trail Mode to help you get through the rough stuff.

A maximum 8.6 inches of ground clearance helps in this regard as well.

Engine 2.5-liter Dynamic Force 4-cylinder, aluminum alloy block with aluminum alloy cylinder head
Displacement 151.7 cu. in. / 2,487 cc
Bore x Stroke 87.5 x 103.4 mm
Compression Ratio 14.0:1
Horsepower 176 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque 163 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 – 5,200 rpm
Recommended Fuel 87-octane unleaded or higher
EPA Estimated Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined MPG) 41/37/39
Electric motor Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
Electric Motor Power Output - Front/Rear 118/54 hp (88/40 kW)
Torque 149/89 lb.-ft.
Battery Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
Nominal Voltage 244.8V
Capacity [3HR] (Ahr) 6.5
System Voltage 650V maximum

2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Drivetrain
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The Nissan Rogue Hybrid can be had with either FWD or AWD, and as such, the mpg figures differ between the two drivetrain configurations.

The most efficient of the two is the FWD setup, with 33 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined. Meanwhile, the AWD models return 31 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 33 mpg combined.

Powertrain specs include a 2.0-liter all-aluminum inline four-cylinder gas engine, with a single electric motor and lithium-ion battery combo providing the electric juice. Net output comes to 176 horsepower.
Adding a few extra miles per tank is the standard Idle Start/Stop system, while an Intelligent Regenerative Braking system keeps the battery topped off. The run from 0 to 60 mph takes 8.2 seconds with the FWD drivetrain and 7.8 seconds with the AWD drivetrain.

Finally, the Rogue offers an impressive 8.4 inches of ground clearance to get around rough terrain.

Engine 4-cylinder / inline
Block / head composition Aluminum / aluminum
Displacement (liters) 2.0 (1,997 cc)
Horsepower 141 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 144 @ 3,600 rpm
Bore & stroke (mm) 84.0 x 90.1
Compression ratio (:1) 11.2
Electric motor Advanced electric motor – 30 kW
Hybrid control Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch System – 1 motor/2 clutch
Horsepower 40
Torque (lb-ft) 118
Battery Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
Nominal voltage 202 volts
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 31/34/33

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Drivetrain
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Details on the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid are still trickling out, but for now, we know it’ll post up to 90 MPGe, miles per gallon electric equivalent, which is different from standard mpg ratings.

For the sake of comparison, Subaru also says it’ll post a combined 35 mpg, but offers no specifics for the city or highway ratings.

Regardless, this is the first-ever Subaru offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Burning the gas is a 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder “boxer” style engine, which mates with a duo of electric motors. One of these motors acts as the engine starter, while the other provides motivation to the drivetrain for the crossover’s various hybrid and all-electric driving modes. A lithium-ion battery pack keeps the electrons flowing.

One of the coolest features of this plug-in hybrid (and indeed, any plug-in hybrid) is an available all-electric mode, which on the Subaru enables speeds up to to 65 mph and a zero-emission range of 17 miles. Dip into the gas, and you’ll go as far as 480 miles, assuming a full tank of the stuff and a fully charged battery pack. Making it all possible is the onboard SI-Drive powertrain management system, as well as a regenerative braking system. Plug the Scooby into a 240-volt source, and you’ll see a full charge in about 2 hours.

Completing the drivetrain is a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and Subaru’s standard Symmetrical AWD system. Standard Active Torque Vectoring helps it handle, and a sizable 8.7 inches of ground clearance keeps the terrain far underneath all the vital mechanical components.

Unfortunately, the Crosstrek Hybrid won’t be winning any speed contests.

Total output is maxed at a mere 148 horsepower, while the sprint from 0 to 60 mph takes a lethargic 9 seconds.

Powertrain Series-parallel plug-in hybrid system combining gasoline engine and two electric motor generators
Internal Combustion Engine 4-cyl. horizontally opposed BOXER engine with aluminum cylinder block and heads
Displacement 1,995 cc / 122 cu. in.
Bore x Stroke 3.31 in. x 3.54 in.
Compression ratio 13.5:1
Horsepower 137 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 134 lb.ft. @ 4,400 rpm
Hybrid battery Lithium-ion: 8.8 kWh, 25.0 Ah; 351.5V
Charge time @ 120V 5 hours
@ 240V 2 hours
Drive motor inverter 650V output
AC charge port Type 1 (SAE J1772)
Transmission Lineartronic® CVT
Total system output 148 HP
Final drive ratio 3.700:1
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Active All-Wheel Drive using an electronic coupling multi-plate transfer clutch
EV range 17
EPA-estimated combined MPG; MPGe 35/90
Total Range 480
Fuel tank capacity 13.2 gal.

Pricing

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Pricing for the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid starts at $27,700, which will get you into the LE grade. Moving up the range, we have the XLE for $29,500, the XSE HV for $33,700, and the trop-trim Limited for $35,700.

2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan offers two grade levels for the Rogue Hybrid, starting with the SV and ending with the SL. Both grades are offered with the option for either FWD or AWD drivetrains.

Kicking it off is the SV FWD at $27,600, followed by the SV AWD at $28,950. The SL FWD is next at $31,540, while the SL AWD sells for $32,890.

It’s also worth noting that the 2019 Nissan Rogue Hybrid comes with limited availability, and is relegated to market areas in the West, Northwest, Mountain, and Mid-Atlantic regions.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Exterior
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The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will be available at dealers towards the end of 2018. Pricing starts at $34,995.

Final Thoughts

Long story short, compact crossovers are big sellers in the U.S., and the availability of a hybrid option expands that customer base even further.

However, which of these three models is best?
Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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If it’s solid overall value, safety features, technology, and mpg that you’re after, then the RAV4 seems like the right choice. This thing is packed to the brim with goodies, and with standard AWD, TSS 2.0, and over 40 mpg in the city, this hybrid looks to do it all.

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Exterior
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Then we have the Rogue, which slots in as the more budget-conscious option of the three. It looks pretty good too, and there’s a lot of space in the rear. If you don’t necessarily need AWD, this one is definitely worth a look.

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Finally, we have the Crosstrek, which is undoubtedly the unique offering in this comparison. Not only does it offer a true all-electric mode for quick around-town jaunts, but the high ground clearance, symmetrical AWD, and impressive departure angle make it a winner in the dirt. Drawbacks, however, include a dearth of horsepower and rear cargo room.

The real question is - which would you rather have?

Further Reading

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Read our full driven review of the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2018 Nissan Rogue Hybrid.

Hybrid Compact Crossover Shakedown - 2019 Toyota RAV4 Vs. 2019 Nissan Rogue Vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.

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