2021 Nissan Rogue Sport

By March 12, 2021

Don’t be fooled by the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport. It isn’t, as the name suggests, a spiced-up Rogue crossover—it’s actually a one-size-smaller trucklet with five seats, decent space, and a thrifty inline-4.

The Rogue Sport enters 2021 with a mildly refreshed fascia, some new colors, and an array of standard safety gear that was previously optional.

Every Rogue Sport gets the same 2.0-liter inline-4 making 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. A CVT is the only available transmission. All-wheel drive can be equipped in lieu of standard front-wheel drive on all trims.

Front-drive models return 24 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined, while those with all-wheel drive clear 24/30/27 mpg.

A long list of driver aids now comes standard on the Rogue Sport, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high-beam headlights. Adaptive cruise control is standard on the top trim, along with a surround-view camera system.

Crash testing remains incomplete, with only a limited number of tests having been completed by the IIHS and nothing yet by the NHTSA. The few results that have surfaced are promising: the IIHS has issued the Rogue Sport its highest rating of “Good” for all tests done thus far.

Model Lineup

The Rogue Sport begins with the $24,580 S trim. Besides the aforementioned safety features, it includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloth upholstery, and 16-inch wheels.

The $26,050 SV introduces a few more creature comforts, including heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and 17-inch wheels. Adaptive cruise control is optional.

For $29,750, the SL brings aboard leather upholstery, navigation, 19-inch wheels, and memory seats. For a bit more money, the SL Premium Package adds a sunroof, Bose audio, power passenger seat, and LED lights.

Exterior

The Rogue Sport has a pleasing shape that can be told apart from its competition mainly by the Nissan badges affixed to the front and rear. It’s handsome and contemporary but not trendy.

The Sport’s base 16-inch wheels can be upgraded to 19-inchers on the SL to improve the look dramatically. It still isn’t a runway star, but the extra three inches of diameter lends a certain visual excitement missing from the lower-trim cars.

Interior

The Rogue Sport trades off interior style for logical, ergonomic pragmaticism. You won’t find fancy trim-and-color combos or artsy flourishes here: this is a fairly basic, utilitarian cabin with ample plastic and a plain design.

A 7.0-inch touchscreen is used on all trim levels, even the SL. We like the standard smartphone compatibility and intuitive menus, but we do have our reservations with the low-resolution screen.

Nissan is known for comfy seats, and the Rogue Sport is no exception—the driver and front passenger enjoy plenty of support and a commanding outward view. In the back, some 33 inches of leg room will have long-legged riders grumbling. Children won’t mind, though.

The 23 cubic feet of cargo space is about mid-pack among subcompact crossovers, but the 53 cubic feet that’s available once the rear seats are folded down is one of the most generous figures in the class.

Driving impressions

The Rogue Sport checks the boxes for most buyers in this segment. The standard inline-4 is refined around town and the ride quality does an adequate job of tempering road seams and potholes. The CVT, which has a spotty track record in Nissan vehicles, behaves itself sufficiently.

The biggest drawbacks we noted was the tendency for the powertrain to drone at high speeds and a general lack of highway passing power. Being better suited to around-town driving isn’t unusual in this segment, however. Just plan your passes and the Rogue Sport shouldn’t disappoint.

Final Word

For anyone interested in a straightforward, no-nonsense subcompact crossover, the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is worth a look. We would go straight for the SV trim, as it offers a nice array of standard equipment for a fair price.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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