2021 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Nissan Rogue

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  • 2021 Kia Seltos

    A dark blue 2021 Kia Seltos is facing left.

    Starting at

    $21,990

    2021 Nissan Rogue

    A black 2021 Nissan Rogue is angled right.

    Starting at

    $25,650

    31 MPGFuel Economy Combined30 MPG
    10.25"Infotainment Screen Size9"
    5 years / 60,000 milesLimited Warranty3 years / 36,000 miles

    The battle for the best compact SUV continues to rage on. Customers in this category demand a lot, including getting the best bang for their buck without compromising safety, convenience, and tech-friendly infotainment. Competition is stiff, especially at the elite level. Take the 2021 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Nissan Rogue. These two contenders may be roughly the same size, but that's where the similarities end. Which one should you choose? The answer may depend on your specific style, but one of these small-but-mighty SUVs is the clear winner when it comes to fundamentals.

    The Seltos is brand new to the US market for the 2021 model year and delivers fresh, quirky style points and design cues that are all-Kia. Meanwhile, the Rogue is an older nameplate for Nissan. It was initially launched back in 2008 and maintained many of the same design cues and exterior styling throughout its lifecycle. However, the Rogue has been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, making the comparison between these two compact SUVs particularly important.

    So who wins this battle? The classic, long-standing Rogue or the new kid on the block, the 2021 Kia Seltos? Overall, it is difficult not to give the nod to the Seltos. Kia does interiors just a little better than the rest, starting with a focus on infotainment and touchscreen technology. Connectivity is just the beginning, with a driver-friendly dash design that puts controls within easy reach and fun audio and entertainment options that turn any commute into a concert-grade audio experience. The Rogue takes classic styling and pairs it with similar connectivity and entertainment, but not with the same focus and attention-to-detail. But keep reading for a dive deep into these compact crossover SUVs to see which one takes home the prize.

  • Style

    A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos is parked in front of a concrete wall after winning the 2021 Kia Seltos vs 2021 Nissan Rogue comparison.

    Kia

    Let's get right to the point: the Kia Seltos is better-looking and more stylish than the Rogue. Why? It's the infusion of modern, quirky lines and unique curb appeal that set the Seltos apart. Kia imparts bold styling into all its vehicles, but the Seltos takes it even a step further. We think Kia wants buyers to make a statement. They're bold, fearless, and they zag when everyone else zigs. They're not interested in your run-of-the-mill SUV for a run-of-the-mill buyer: they want a vehicle that stands out from the crowd and shows off their taste and style.

    Nissan

    You can argue that style is subjective, but it's tough to dissent when we characterize the Seltos as more exciting than the Rogue. Kia even offers a variety of two-tone paint schemes that make the good looks of the new Seltos stand out even more. We think it's an excellent choice for buyers that want their car to reflect who they are. Kia designed the Seltos to stand out and turn heads. Kia knows that buyers in this category don't want to settle for a dull, uninspiring SUV. While the Rogue is pretty, it doesn't stand out. It screams practical and relies on its design simplicity to draw a broader spectrum of buyers. We think Nissan chickened out a bit on styling so the Rogue could draw in the masses, but they failed to realize that buyers in this category are a little more daring than the average shopper.

  • Technology

    The touchscreen in a 2021 Kia Seltos is shown.

    In compact SUVs, bigger isn't usually better, except when it comes to entertainment and connectivity. The 2021 Kia Seltos is available with a giant 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen to keep drivers firmly in control of all things navigation, entertainment, and vehicle information. The Rogue comes close, but with a 9.0-inch touchscreen, it ultimately falls short.

    Why is bigger better? Because the infotainment touchscreen is the hub - the command center - for drivers. It's where they find navigation to and from their destinations and how they stay connected while on the go. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, the touchscreen is where they'll go to stream playlists or the latest top 10 podcast, as well as stay informed about vehicle performance and diagnostics. With all of this connectivity, it makes sense that having the largest possible touchscreen is always going to be a big bonus. Winner: the Kia Seltos.

    Connectivity

    Both vehicles offer app-based connectivity. Kia's available UVO link service puts you in command of your car from the convenience of your smartphone. This app-based technology allows you to remote start your vehicle (perfect for cold winter mornings), lock/unlock doors, and view essential vehicle diagnostics. Nissan's SmartConnect works to deliver similar features. However, Apple fans will be delighted to know that the Seltos is fully compatible with Siri Eyes Free voice commands for intuitive hands-free controls.

  • Value

    A red 2021 Kia Seltos is driving on a snowy mountain road.

    The Kia Seltos is more affordable. Period. At a base MSRP of just $21,990, the Seltos blows the doors off of the much more expensive Rogue, which has a starting price of $25,650. If you're bad at math, we'll break it down for you here: the Seltos is nearly 15% less expensive than its rival. That's a big difference. Think of it this way - every $1,000 can represent about $20 of car payments, so if you choose the Rogue, it's going to cost you nearly $80 more per month. Is it worth that? And that difference only grows if you aren't shopping for the base trim.

    Trims

    Let's look at the entire model range of both vehicles. The 2021 Nissan Rogue offers four trims: the base S, the SV at $27,340, the SL at $32,000, and the top-end Platinum at $35,430. These prices are all for the front-wheel drive version. Add all-wheel drive, and you're looking at around to $2,000 more. The 2021 Kia Seltos is available in five trims: the base LX, the S at $21,990, the EX at $25,290, the S Turbo at $25,490, and the SX Turbo at $27,890. Even better, all-wheel drive is standard on all trims except the S, where it's available for roughly $1,500 more. That means if you are interested in a more premium experience, you could be looking at paying around $10,000 more for the Nissan Rogue.

    Warranty

    What do we learn from comparing the Seltos and the Rogue at all trim levels? Essentially, the Seltos is always going to win on pricing. And it is not as if the Seltos is offering any less than the Rogue when it comes to features. That already makes the Seltos hands down the better value. But if that's not enough to convince you, Kia reinforces its high value with an industry-leading warranty. You'll get a 5 year/60,000 limited warranty and a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty when you buy a new 2021 Seltos. Nissan's warranty is quite simply not as good. The 2021 Rogue comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile limited warranty and a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. It's not even close. We're talking a far less expensive cost-of-ownership with the Seltos, which is extremely important for any buyer.

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