Nissan Rogue — Fully redesigned

By Paul Borden

(October 16, 2021) Fully redesigned, the 2021 Nissan Rogue looks to continue its role as not only the company’s best seller but also as one of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the market today. Through the first three quarters of the year, the Rogue holds a solid third place in U.S. sales as one of three in its class with over the 200,000 mark behind only Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V.

Only one other small SUV, Chevrolet’s Equinox with 151,111, has managed to get over the 150,000 mark for the first nine months.

The Rogue also jumped over 40 percent when compared to last year’s COVID-restricted sales numbers, among the biggest increases in the segment with a total of 234,646 sold from the first of the year through September.

No doubt, the upgrades Nissan gave the Rogue have played a big part in that sales success.The 2021 Nissan Rogue, which went on sale last fall, looks sharp, has a quality interior, and is packed with a myriad of convenience and safety features that make it ideal for families, seniors, and young couples alike.

The Rogue comes in four trim levels starting with base S that is equipped with such standard features as LED headlights with automatic on/off, LED fog lights and taillights, NissanConnect technology with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, two USB ports up front, Bluetooth hands-free communications, keyless entry, and safety systems like forward collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

SV and SL trims keep adding features. At the top of the portfolio, the Platinum trim this review is based on incorporates features from those trims and adds such exclusive features as a 12-inch digital dashboard display, a head-up display that gives the driver speed and cruise setting at a glance, a wireless charging pad, upgraded leather seats with quilted stitching, and heated rear seats.

All the features in the optional SL Premium package also are standard on the Platinum. That adds Bose Premium Audio and Nissan's ProPilot Assist with Navi-link to the features.

By the way, "assist" is the key word on the word on the ProPilot Assist system. It is not a hands-free system but allows the driver to cruise even in heavy traffic with its adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems.

Cargo space across the lineup is good with 36.5 cubic feet with the Divide-N-Hide setup in the Rogue Platinum lowered, an extra 5.5 cubic feet over the rest of the lineup. With the second-row seats folded, max cargo space is 74.1 cubic feet.

Passengers in the front enjoy up to 41.5 inches of legroom. Those in the second row get up to 38.5.

All Rogues come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, and there is about the only rub. The engine could use a bit more punch. It is rated at 181 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 181 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm, resulting on less-than-inspiring performance. The website reports the Rogue Platinum takes 8.1 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph.

The good news is that fuel economy is good (25 miles-per-gallon city, 32 mpg highway, and 28 combined for all-wheel-drive Platinum models and 26/34/29 for those with front-wheel drive).  Numbers for other trims vary slightly with the FWD S model topping the chart at a combined 30 mpg.

Further good news: the engine uses regular octane fuel, the CVT offers a manual shift mode via paddle shifters, and adjusting the transmission setting to Sport mode keeps the revs at a slightly higher level for more performance.

There are also settings for Off-Road, Eco, Snow, and Automatic, each adjustable via a handy dial on the console.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue starts at $27,225for the FWD S trim including the $1,175 destination and delivery charge. The FWD SV starts at $28,915. The FWD SL starts at $33,575, and the FWD Platinum carries a starting price of $37,005.

AWD adds $1,400 to the bottom, line, which brought my test vehicle, which included a handful of stand-alone options, to $39,685.

What I liked about the 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum: The redesign really upgraded the exterior appeal, giving it a sexier look.The cabin is roomy and has an upscale, even premium, feel about it. Techno features are plentiful and easy to operate. Cargo space is excellent.

What I didn’t like abut the 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum: Not looking for a dragster here, but the 181-horsepower engine hooked up to a CVT doesn’t offer much in the way of performance. It somewhat makes up for that with decent fuel economy even in all-wheel-drive configuration.

Would I buy the 2021 Nisan Rogue Platinum? A definite yes here. The Rogue offers comfort and convenience with a full suite of techno features, especially in the Platinum trim. Still, you might find everything you want in one of the less-expensive SV or SL trims. Even the base S model is well-equipped and boasts a lot of safety features.