2021 Nissan Rogue
2021 Nissan Rogue
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is new this year, and for the first time, it can rub shoulders with the segment leaders.
The overhaul goes beyond new styling. Among its major improvements are a new and more potent powertrain, a revised and improved chassis, and an injection of driver-safety and infotainment technology.
The 2.5-liter inline-4 is new for the Rogue but familiar within the Nissan family. In this application it makes 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, figures up slightly over the 2020 model. A CVT is once again the transmission of choice. Front wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for $1,400.
Nissan has tuned the CVT this year in order to bump fuel economy up to 26 mpg city, 34 highway, 29 combined for front-drive models. All wheel drive reduces efficiency to 25/32/28 mpg.
The redesigned Rogue hasn’t been crash-tested as of this writing, but standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high beams, automatic rear braking, and blind-spot monitors. Adaptive cruise control is optional, as is a navigation system that works in tandem with the Rogue’s safety features to slow down the car for curves or exits.
Nissan offers the Rogue in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trims, that last one being a high-content version new for 2021. The base S begins at $26,745. Its standard features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, LED lights, remote keyless entry, and rear parking sensors.
The SV starts at $28,335 and adds body-color trim, remote start, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a wi-fi hotspot, two rear USB ports, and an eight-way power driver’s seat.
Moving into the $32,995 SL brings about memory seats, a panoramic roof, a motion-activated liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
At the top is the all-new Platinum trim, which has an MSRP of $36,425. Its luxuries include a 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, a 10.8-inch head-up display, 12.0-inch all-digital instrumentation, wireless smartphone charging, Bose audio, second-row heated seats, and quilted leather seating.
The Rogue is a handsome crossover. The body ditches its former look for a visibly slimmer, more squared-off look that’s in line with current trends. Besides its newfound curb appeal, the revised shape also affords more interior space.
Up front, the new Rogue enlarges and emboldens the grille but keeps the distinctive chrome band outlining it. Flanking the grille are new daytime lights and headlights that recall the pre-facelift Jeep Cherokee or some recent Hyundai models. It’s a bit busy when seen from any angle that’s not dead on, but ultimately no more offensive than anything else being profemed in the segment.
The Rogue’s biggest strides come in the interior. The improvements are many: material quality, design, technology, and comfort are all better than last year. The newfound overall refinement brings Nissan’s popular crossover up to par with the competition.
The lower-trim Rogues use an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone capability, but the new Platinum trim gets a 9.0-inch unit that gives the Rogue the largest touchscreen in its class. The bigger screen gets navigation, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via a wired connection, and optional wireless Apple CarPlay.
The base, manual-adjustment seats are OK, but the SV trim gets improved power-adjustable seats with lumbar support. They’re comfy enough for long trips, even if the large center console impedes right-leg stretch-out room. Quilted seats in the Platinum add a degree of poshness to the Rogue.
Back-seat passengers get 38.5 inches of leg room, which is up half an inch over last year’s model. Rear hip room, shoulder room, and head room improve as well. The rear doors open nearly 90 degrees, making for easy ingress and egress.
Cargo space behind the second row doesn’t change from last year’s 39.3 cubic feet. Folding down the seatbacks opens up 74.1 cubic feet, which is up 4.1 cubic feet from 2020.
The new Rogue isn’t much faster than the old one, but in nearly every other way the redesigned model builds on its predecessor. The most dramatic improvement? Ride quality. Road noise has been drastically reduced and bumps are better suppressed, resulting in a much more refined, premium-feeling driving experience.
On the handling front the chassis response has been noticeably sharpened and the steering feels more direct than before. It doesn’t make the Rogue a sports car by any means, but, as with the improved ride quality, heightens the overall experience from behind the wheel.
The new 2.5-liter inline-4 isn’t exactly a powerhouse; its 181 horsepower and an equal amount of torque is only good for a nine-second 0-60 mph run. It still feels fairly perky around town.
More noteworthy than the new engine is the revised CVT, which does a much better job of imitating a traditional automatic. Engineers have done a stand-up job cutting down on powertrain noise and honing driveability.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue has elevated its crossover-SUV game. It’s spacious, well-equipped, and has good gas-mileage ratings. Opt for the Rogue SV for the best combination of features and value.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection