The Car Connection Nissan Rogue Overview
The Nissan Rogue compact crossover SUV is Nissan's bestselling vehicle. Sold alongside the Rogue Sport, the two crossovers share little in common. The Rogue is fitted with some of Nissan's most advanced safety features.
In the Rogue, Nissan has a rival for popular crossovers that include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, as well as the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester, among others.
Redesigned for 2021.
MORE: Read our 2021 Nissan Rogue review
The new Nissan Rogue
The 2021 Nissan Rogue gets new skin and bones but the beating heart remains a 2.5-liter inline-4 paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. With a powertrain shared with the Altima mid-size sedan, output is boosted to 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The tweaked CVT as well as more aerodynamic elements increase fuel economy to 30 mpg combined, and a new platform featuring a stiffer chassis and multi-link rear suspension calm the rear and make for a quieter, smoother ride overall.
Interior roominess is the big story for the Rogue. Shortened by an inch in length, the Rogue doesn't strike out in any daring new directions with the exception of LED headlights split off but stacked beneath the daytime running lights. Inside, cargo volume increases more than 4 cubic feet to 74.1 cubic feet total with the seats folded down.
Clever packaging such as a tiered storage floor, deep side pockets, cup holders wide enough to fit the proliferation of mammoth water bottles, a deep center console, and a storage cubby beneath the console. An electronic gear shifter enables the extra space, but it has a flimsy feel.
The Rogue is quiet on the highway, buffeted from road and engine noise, until the throttle is slammed in Sport mode, when the engine deserves to be heard. Standard and Eco mode complete the picture, but all-wheel drive models add Snow and Off-Road modes, but the latter is aspirational at best.
Built for comfort not for speed, comfy seats and roomy proportions complement a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, and blind-spot monitors. The Platinum trim crowns the Rogue lineup and adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated leather power front seats, a Bose sound system, navigation that can go down to a stop for 30 seconds and restart without driver intervention, and other premium-leaning features.
Nissan Rogue history
The first Nissan Rogue debuted for the 2008 model year. That original 2008 Rogue had a fairly unconventional appearance, completely without any unnecessary SUV cues. More a slab-sided and taller-than-usual wagon, the first-generation Rogue had echoes of Nissan's Murano, the larger and clearly more luxurious sibling placed above the Rogue in the model lineup.
This Rogue was based on the same underpinnings as the Sentra sedan but didn't take full advantage of the Sentra's chassis. Handling was on the soft side, and while other crossovers aimed for class-best performance or handling, the clear focus for the Rogue was affordable, economical, and comfortable transportation for small families, and for those looking for a low-cost sedan or minivan alternative.
The Rogue was fairly fuel-efficient, too, courtesy of a 170-hp 4-cylinder engine and CVT that could be teamed to either front- or all-wheel drive. The fuel economy ratings were as high as 23 mpg city, 28 highway.
This first Rogue could move quite quickly but wasn't particularly inspiring to drive, even when equipped with the available steering-wheel paddles, which might have improved the experience somewhat on hilly or curvy roads.
More than anything, the Rogue succeeded as a compact sedan replacement, with room for five inside, though three adults were a bit cramped in the back row. The back seats reclined, for either best comfort or to help fit cargo, and when needed the back seats folded flat.
Over the years, the first Rogue saw few changes. For 2010, a new 360 Value Package brought alloy wheels, a chrome grille, and other extras to the base S model, while a Krom appearance package gave it an aftermarket-accessorized look. It included showy wheels, sporty center exhaust, tinted glass, and more. A very mild makeover came in the 2011 model year. Otherwise, options were fine-tuned for 2013 to bring a new Premium Edition (replacing the Premium Package) with front fog lamps and Bose audio. A Bluetooth hands-free interface remained optional on base S models, but was included in the rest of the model line.
The Rogue arrived for the 2014 model year, though, confusingly, the former version remained on sale for two model years badged as the Rogue Select.
The new model was styled handsomely and more conservatively than the one it replaced, and but the refined interior with supportive seats remained on the smaller side of the compact-crossover class. Nissan offered a cramped third-row seat that expanded the Rogue's capacity to seven.
It used the same 170-horsepower inline-4 and continuously variable transmission (CVT) as its predecessor, but improvements to the driveline and aerodynamics helped boost fuel economy to 29 mpg in the EPA's combined rating.
The Rogue earned Top Safety Pick status from the insurance-funded IIHS, but the NHTSA initially gave it a low three-star rating for front-impact protection. That was upgraded to four stars, which is certainly better, but many rivals get five star front crash ratings. Safety options include a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, a lane-departure warning system, and forward collision alerts.
Other Rogue features included a standard USB port, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and a rearview camera. Options include third-row seating, Bose audio, navigation, a power tailgate, a surround-view camera system, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, and leather upholstery.
No major changes were made for the 2015 model year, though the Rogue's NHTSA crash-test score improved and an Eco mode was added to the powertrain. For 2016, Nissan added Siri Eyes Free to the SV Premium Package and SL model, and rear cross-traffic alerts and automatic emergency braking become available on various packages and models.
In the 2017 model year, Nissan added a Rogue Hybrid to the lineup, giving it a direct rival to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Nissan's gas-electric drivetrain pairs a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 30-kilowatt (40-horsepower) electric motor and lithium-ion batteries. The Rogue Hybrid accelerated up to 25 mph on electric power alone, though it took a very practiced foot to keep its gas engine silent. The EPA rated the Rogue Hybrid at up to 34 mpg combined.
Nissan added a smaller Rogue Sport to the lineup for 2017, although that model isn't a quicker version of the crossover. Instead, it's based on a worldwide crossover sold as the Nissan Qashqai, and costs less than the Rogue, which grew in size over the years.