Sportier styling marks the latest Nissan Rogue.
The Nissan Rogue is one of more than a dozen compact utility vehicles available this year. In such a competitive market, standing out is critically important for attracting and winning new customers. For 2021, the Rogue is all-new, bringing to consumers upscale styling, advanced technologies, and leading-edge safety features.
Nissan prices the 2021 Rogue from $25,650 to $36,830, plus a $1,095 destination charge. It comes in four trims: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. The Rogue is a front-wheel-drive SUV with available all-wheel drive. Our test model was a 2021 Rogue SV FWD.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is new from the ground up. It launches the third generation of a model line introduced in 2008.
The new Rogue is 1.5 inches shorter and sits lower than the previous model. But it looks bigger, thanks to its larger grille and upright roof pillars. The design upfront features one of the most noteworthy changes, specifically, the commonly used v-shaped grille is somewhat larger and sits higher than it previously had. Flowing from the top of the grille outward are a pair of hawkish LED accent lights. These sit above and are separate from the LED headlamps, which collectively form an unusual look.
Strong shoulders, contrasting wheel well lips, a high beltline, and strategically placed body sculpting adds definition and substance. From the rear, the liftgate is capped by a spoiler. Beefy taillights wrap the back end. The available two-tone pattern features a standard body color and a Super Black roof.
Inside, the cabin is ever so slightly smaller, but it seems larger. The new design is more thought-out with ample room for four or five in a pinch. The Rogue gains cargo space through this redesign at no sacrifice to the passengers. We like the available two-tier cargo storage compartment for managing our shopping excursion, but we also prize the flat floor available by folding down the rear seat.
Nissan dresses the new Rogue’s seats in cloth, imitation leather, or with real hides. The front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat offers sufficient legroom and decent headroom. Ample soft-touch materials and brightwork trim give the cabin an upscale vibe. All driver and cabin controls are placed where you expect them. The only oddity is the transmission shifter – just remember to push the “P” button on the shifter’s face to park the Rogue. Generous amounts of storage compartments throughout mean everything has its place and that’s to the cheer of parents everywhere.
Safety & Tech
We’re still waiting for the crash test results for the new Rogue, but we think it’ll score high based on its previous record and the new design. Nissan supplies this model with a long list of active safety features, including high-beam assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, and a rear sonar system. Beginning with the SV trim, it adds ProPILOT Assist, which brings in elements of semi-autonomous driving with automatic driving inputs to keep this vehicle centered while moving forward. Keep your hands on the wheel although it is tempting to let go for a few moments to watch the Rogue steer itself.
The standard tech package includes an 8-inch touch-screen display, four speakers, voice recognition command capability, Bluetooth, smartphone integration, satellite radio, and two USB ports. Move up to the SV trim and you’ll find a 6-speaker audio system, two additional USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Further upgrades bring in navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a Bose audio system.
One thing that hasn’t changed since Nissan introduced the Rogue more than a decade ago: the powertrain. Every model is motivated by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission.
What has changed is the amount of power produced, which has increased gradually through the years. This one develops an even 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, sending power to the front or to all four wheels with available all-wheel drive. In its most thrifty front-wheel-drive configuration, the Rogue achieves an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway or a combined 30 mpg. That’s up to 3 mpg better than some competing models, although the gap with certain others has narrowed in recent years.
The CVT utilizes a single band instead of gears to transfer power to the wheels. With no gears present, the design tends to cause an engine whine under full throttle, but Nissan’s computer signals the engine at various times in the power curve to ease output. As a result, the transmission has the feel of an automatic without the complexities.
A new design also means the Rogue is more rigid than before. This translates into improved handling. Coupled with its electric power steering system, the Rogue supplies decent feedback to the driver. Also noticeably improved is the ride as the current model does a better job in absorbing bumps. Overall, the new Rogue drives and rides better than ever, although it offers average power at best.
Nissan Rogue: Our Recommendation
Start your search with the Rogue SV and you’ll enjoy many of the same amenities common to this class. Opt for the $2,660 SV Premium Package and you gain such features as real leather seats, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a power liftgate, and a dual-panel panoramic moonroof. As packaged, this one will cost you $31,095. Add $1,400 to upgrade to all-wheel drive.
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