The Car Connection Nissan Rogue Sport Overview
The Nissan Rogue Sport is a compact crossover that slots below the automaker’s popular Rogue, but is smaller inside and out—as well as less expensive.
With the Rogue Sport, Nissan is introducing neither an all-new model nor a sportier variant of the current Rogue. Instead, it’s a version of the five-seat Nissan Qashqai ("KASH-kye") sold around the world, updated for North America (but sold in Canada as the Qashqai).
The Rogue Sport for the U.S. is built in Japan, while the larger, five- or seven-seat Rogue crossovers are assembled in Tennessee.
MORE: Read our 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport review
The Rogue Sport enters an increasingly competitive crossover segment; with trim dimensions—it’s a foot shorter than the Rogue—that split the difference between truly pint-sized crossovers like the Chevrolet Trax and bigger (but still compact) models like the Ford Escape. Technically, the Rogue and the Rogue Sport share underpinnings, but the Sport rides on a shorter wheelbase and has a considerably shorter rear overhang (and, subsequently, less rear cargo volume).
Especially at the front, the Rogue Sport shares some of the larger Rogue’s styling touches, including a V-shaped grille flanked by headlamps with standard LED running lights. Base models come with 16-inch steel wheels and hubcaps, but larger alloy wheels are available. The Rogue Sport’s interior is lifted almost wholesale from the larger Rogue, but there’s less rear-seat room and the cargo area is decidedly more compact until the second row of seats is folded.
The Rogue Sport is only offered as a five-seater, which is to be expected from its small size. Its single powertrain pairs a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rated at 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque with a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option on each of the three trim levels. The handling is average for a small crossover, and acceleration is on the slow side, belying the "Sport" in the model's name.
It’s hardly an off-roader, either, so don’t view it as a replacement for the now-departed Nissan Xterra. Instead, with car-like suspension and a fairly low roof line—the bigger Rogue is fully 6 inches taller—the Rogue Sport is a city-slicker crossover for buyers who want a high seating position and the ability to haul boxier items than will fit into a sedan. All-wheel drive will appeal to those in wintry climates.
For 2018, the Rogue Sport is offered in S, SV, and SL trim levels. All come standard with power windows and locks plus an audio system with Bluetooth streaming and a backup camera. Higher-spec models gain things like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, a moonroof, and a premium audio system with a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen.
On the safety front, the Rogue Sport will be available with a surround-view camera system that displays a 360-degree overview of the vehicle. Additionally, various of the latest active-safety options are available. They include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward-collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. The full suite of active-safety systems is only offered on the Rogue Sport SL, however, the very highest trim level. The mid-grade trim, known as SV, offers just a subset, and the few buyers who choose the spartan Rogue S are entirely out of luck.