2018 Nissan Rogue Sport Review

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Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
February 1, 2018

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is comfortable as a small car with a tall ride height and affordable base models. Don’t venture too far from there.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is the smaller of the two Rogue crossovers.

It’s tastefully styled with versatility that we’d expect from a crossover, and even its relative lack of power doesn’t sour us on the Rogue Sport. Its value compared to the bigger Rogue does.

We give the Rogue Sport a 6.0 on our overall scale with praise for the less-expensive trim levels. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The Rogue Sport starts at $22,615 for base models with front-wheel drive. The Rogue Sport is offered in S, SV, and SL trim levels with all-wheel drive available at every stop for $1,350 more.

We’d suggest keeping close to the base trim too.

That’s because every Rogue Sport is saddled with the same engine-transmission combo: a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). It’s not thrilling, but it keeps the Rogue Sport around 28 mpg combined, which is average for its class.

The CVT mostly stays out of the picture, which is relatively high praise for that transmission.

It’s a comfortable ride for two adults up front, or four adults in a pinch. Any fifth passenger would need to be short—or short appropriate bus fare.

Adding all-wheel drive or optional extras doesn’t help the Rogue Sport’s case.

Base models are equipped with 16-inch wheels, a 5.0-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and cloth seats. Ask for bigger wheels, active safety features, navigation or a bigger touchscreen and the Rogue Sport’s price creeps unnecessarily toward the Rogue, which is bigger, more powerful, more spacious, and perhaps a smarter buy.

Advanced safety features for the Rogue Sport are confined to the top trim level and, even then, they’re bundled into a pricey package that adds more than $2,000 to the bottom line. That’s not completely out of the norm, but the same money buys a well-equipped Rogue that has advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking standard.

Even though the Rogue Sport was brought to the U.S. to complement the Rogue lineup, in some ways it’s already out of step.


2018 Nissan Rogue Sport


Sometimes the best style isn’t the one that’s trying too hard.

Compact crossovers and doctors share one thing in common: First, do no harm.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport doesn’t bother with unnecessary styling elements in a mad dash for millennials’ money. (We leer at the Toyota C-HR as proof of how it can go wrong.)

As the smaller sibling in the Nissan Rogue family, the Sport resembles its namesake—especially from the front—but from the rear, it cuts its own style. Inside the Rogue Sport cribs the Rogue’s interior, and that’s a good thing.

We give it a point above average for its interior moves but stop short of doing the same on the outside; it does no harm. It earns a 6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

From the outside, the Rogue Sport successfully adapts the corporate look for smaller proportions. The V-shaped grille is tasteful without looking bolted in, the headlights don’t reach too far back on the fenders, and the hood even sports small bulges near the wheel arches that hint at some fun. In profile, there’s not much on the Sport that will raise pulses. Around back, the highwater tailgate exchanges outward vision for style, which is common for small crossovers.

Inside, Nissan’s shrink ray successfully reproduced the Rogue’s interior into the Rogue Sport’s smaller shape. The dash manages some style with an accent that visually separates the upper and lower halves, and the center stack offers a simple and logical array of buttons and knobs for convenience controls.

It all may not sound like much, but it’s executed well and isn’t over the top. That’s refreshing among its competitive set. 

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport


Performance isn’t the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport’s priority.

Seek alternate definitions of “Sport” when shopping the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport.

More akin to an endearing nickname rather than racy performance (“Great game today, sport!”) the Nissan Rogue Sport comes in only one powertrain flavor, and it prefers efficiency.

A 2.0-liter inline-4 and continuously variable transmission is the only choice, mated to front- or all-wheel drive.

It handles well enough, and its CVT does its best to get out of the way. There’s no denying that the Rogue Sport isn’t quick and we take away a performance point for its pokey get up. It earns a 4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2.0-liter inline-4 produces 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque tasked with motivating about 3,300 pounds of vehicle. Acceleration is leisurely on its own time, but once it’s up to speed, the engine settles into a respectable trot.

Its CVT shoulders some of the blame and some of the fame. The CVT is tuned for efficiency, and Nissan has a long record with the belt-and-pulley-style automatic transmission, but it can be loud and unrushed after deep stabs at the gas pedal.

The Rogue Sport somewhat redeems itself with lively steering that forgives some of the engine’s shortcomings, but it’s hard to forget that it’s lacking some enthusiasm under the hood.

Most Rogue Sports ride on 17-inch wheels that offer some forgiveness in their sidewalls. Opt for the top-end Rogue Sport SL and those wheels swell to 19-inchers, with thin rubber that’s not forgiving on broken pavement.

Nissan offers all-wheel drive on the Rogue Sport, but it’s best considered as all-weather traction rather than off-road ready—and even then, its value is questionable. All-wheel drive is a $1,350 option on all trim levels, bumping the starting price of a Rogue Sport dangerously close to an all-wheel drive Rogue. The Rogue Sport offers 7.4 inches of ground clearance compared to the 8.4 inches from a Rogue, and while neither will be mistaken for a Jeep anytime soon, the Rogue is more spacious and more powerful.

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport

Comfort & Quality

Grab the keys or call shotgun in the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport shares a name with its larger sibling, although the two don’t share running gear.

The Rogue Sport is more than a foot shorter than the Rogue, with more than two fewer inches between its wheels. The Rogue Sport makes the most of its interior room, but rear passengers bear the brunt of its more compact stature.

Starting from an average of 5, the Rogue Sport gets points for comfortable front seats and a spacious cargo area, which is common for crossovers. We’ll take one back for a cramped second row that doesn’t really suit three across, which Nissan advertises. It earns a 6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front seats in the Nissan Rogue Sport are agreeable and accommodating to a wide variety of body types. Over several drives, including long-distance interstate hauls, the Rogue Sport was accommodating to front-seat riders. Credit Nissan’s institutional knowledge from comfortable front seats in other models, we suppose.

Rear-seat riders get precious 33 inches of leg room that feels shorter than that. Fitting four adults in the Rogue Sport is possible with some horse trading between front and rear-seat riders; fitting five adults in the Rogue Sport isn’t advisable.

Behind the second row, the Rogue Sport offers 20 cubic feet of cargo room. With the second row folded away, that space increases to more than 53 cubic feet. Although the space is relatively large for such a small crossover, much of the available room is up high, where grocery bags and suitcases may not reach. To that end, Nissan makes standard on SV and SL trim levels a cargo management system called Divide-N-Hide that shuffles the load floor configuration for storing small objects. It may not change the world, but it hoists small objects off the floor for better space utilization.

In most of our drives, the Nissan Rogue Sport has been relatively quiet. Only the whine from the transmission during hard acceleration or some tire drone from the SL’s big 19-inchers has seeped in to the cabin.

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport


The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport lacks official safety data.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport hasn’t yet been tested major safety rating organizations in the U.S.

We’re withholding our score until more data rolls in. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Absent official crash-test data, the Rogue Sport is equipped with a full complement of airbags including front, side, and rollover airbags. The Rogue Sport is equipped with traction and stability control systems that are standard on all cars.

A rearview camera is standard equipment on all models. Blind-spot monitors are optional at the SV trim level. Active safety features such as forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and a surround-view camera system are reserved for the top SL trim level—and even there, it’s an extra-cost option.

That seems counterintuitive to us. For the more than $31,000 Nissan asks for a Rogue Sport SL, it's more expensive than the well-equipped bigger Rogue that comes standard with automatic emergency braking.

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport


The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport offers value in base trims; ask for more and you might be better served by looking at its bigger-brother Rogue.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is better lugging people and cargo—not a long options list. The Rogue Sport is offered in S, SV, and SL trim levels with few options scattered between the trims. It cuts down on complexity and is common among Nissan vehicles.

Base versions of the Rogue Sport offer 16-inch wheels with hubcaps, cloth upholstery, a four-speaker audio system with a 5.0-inch infotainment display, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and the freedom of an open road. (Admittedly, all cars have that last one.)

That’s good base equipment, and the infotainment display is above average. We give the Rogue Sport a 7 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Rogue Sport S costs $22,615, including destination. Adding all-wheel drive increases the price by $1,350.

The SV trim level offers more standard equipment and more available options. It adds 17-inch wheels, roof rails, automatic headlights, power adjustable driver’s seat, a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, and a cargo management system for the rear. The Rogue Sport SV is also more upgradeable than the S. Packages for the SV include a cold-weather collection that adds heated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, leather-wrapped gear shifter, and heated outside mirrors. A tech package adds all of the above, a larger 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and satellite radio.

The SL trim level includes equipment from the SV trim level and technology package and adds 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and Nissan’s telematics services. An SL premium package adds a moonroof, LED headlights, and active safety features that we cover separately.

All-in, a 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport SL with all-wheel drive and options cost more than $31,000. For not much more (or less if you’re willing to do with smaller wheels and no moonroof), the larger Rogue is available with more standard and optional active safety features.

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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Nissan Rogue is relatively fuel-efficient thanks to its small footprint and automatic transmission.

The 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is more fuel-efficient than the rest of the Rogue lineup, but it’s also smaller. Among small crossovers, the Rogue falls just short of a vaunted 30 mpg combined rating, which few rivals can claim.

The EPA rates front-drive Rogue Sports at 25 mpg city, 32 highway, 28 combined. That’s good enough for a 7 out of 10 on our efficiency scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Opting for all-wheel drive isn’t heavily penalized. The EPA rates those models at 24/30/27 mpg.

The Rogue Sport is competitive against its immediate rivals including the Subaru Crossover (29 mpg combined), Mazda CX-3 (31 mpg combined), and Chevy Trax (28 mpg combined).

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Styling 6
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  • 2018 Rogue Sport arriving; 2017 model still available
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