2020 Nissan Rogue

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
November 7, 2019

Buying tip

A base 2020 Nissan Rogue S with popular options package is a good value for most drivers, even with all-wheel drive.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue is a bread-and-butter crossover that does it all for a low price.

The humility of the 2020 Nissan Rogue lasts as long as it takes you to check the refrigerator door. See that long list of errands and honey-dos? The Rogue attacks all of them better than many in its compact crossover class. 

Unassuming and even a little boring, the 2020 Rogue weighs in with a TCC Rating of 6.3 that’s weighted heavily toward the value end. There are many that safely haul as much people and cargo, with room to spare, but few do it as inexpensively as the Rogue. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Nothing’s changed on the Rogue this year except for a few numbers. The 2020 Rogue is available in S, SV, and SL trim levels with standard front-wheel drive on all models, and all-wheel drive available for $1,350. The Rogue starts at $26,245 for a base front-driver and runs up the tab past $34,000 for a top-trim Rogue SL with AWD. 

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The standard engine on all Rogues is a mildly anemic 170 horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4 that’s paired only to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Speed isn’t the Rogue’s forte, space and efficiency is. The EPA rates front-wheel-drive models at 29 mpg combined, and AWD versions at 27 mpg combined. 

Inside, five comfortable seating positions offer plenty of leg room and head room for adults. Behind the second row there’s nearly 40 cubes of available cargo room, which is near the top of its class and also near the top—much of the space is vertical. 

With the second row folded, the cargo area grows to nearly 70 cubic feet. 

The Rogue is equipped with standard active safety features including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. Mid-grade and higher versions can get driver-assistance features typically reserved for luxury cars. 

Federal and independent crash testers may slightly disagree about the Rogue’s structure, but the IIHS called top trims of the Rogue a Top Safety Pick for 2019. 

Every Rogue gets good standard features including a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 17-inch wheels, power features, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. 

Although it may be modest, and modestly priced, the Rogue has plenty to brag about.

5

2020 Nissan Rogue

Styling

Plain and straightforward, the 2020 Rogue doesn’t take many risks in its style.

The Rogue’s looks haven’t aged poorly, but they’ve still aged. 

While we appreciate its no-frills, can-do attitude toward our list of errands, the Rogue can blend in to the background compared to others in its class. We give it a 5 for style. 

If nothing else, the Rogue’s looks are clean and functional. The high window line rises toward the roof in the rear and doesn’t cut too deeply into rearward vision. 

In front, the Rogue wears Nissan’s V-shaped grille—the most adventurous part of the crossover’s design. 

In back, the liftgate buttons together nicely but doesn’t boast many of today’s trends—no LEDs spanning the width of the gate, wide badging, nor chrome tailpipes. It’s unadorned, if that’s what you’re into. 

Inside, the Rogue’s logical layout is dominated by a 7.0-inch touchscreen plunked into the middle of the dash. The simple controls are easy to see, except for a stack near the driver’s left knee including AWD Lock (when equipped) that can be hard to find. 

The available panoramic sunroof helps open the cabin more to sunlight and, when paired with a light-colored interior, makes the interior feel even bigger without cutting too deeply into available head room. 

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4

2020 Nissan Rogue

Performance

Don’t expect to win many drag races in the 2020 Rogue.

Outright performance isn’t the Rogue’s first priority. 

Its ride is now on par with the rest of its class, but its powertrain feels a step behind. It’s a 4 for performance. 

The Rogue’s sole powertrain for 2020 is a 2.5-liter inline-4 rated at 170 hp and 175 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired exclusively to a CVT geared for efficiency and it delivers combined mileage in the high-20s, rain or shine. Front-wheel drive is standard on all Rogues, though many will be equipped with all-wheel drive for all-weather traction. 

The ride and handling in the Rogue is expectedly dissonant and far off, just how we like our commuter crossovers to be. (Not every day is a race, we know.) 

The Rogue’s base 17-inch wheels are the best at swallowing bumpy road imperfections, but 18- and 19-inchers on top trims aren’t overly harsh. 

The Rogue steers and drives down the road confidently, although its tall-riding body leans heavily into corners. It’s reasonably nimble around parking lots and at low speeds, and thankfully the Rogue has better outward vision than many of its competitors. 

The 8.4-inch ground clearance on the Rogue makes promises that its long overhangs could never deliver. Although tall-riding + all-wheel drive = off-road potential, the 2020 Rogue prefers to stay planted on pavement—or something resembling a roadway. 

Last year’s Rogue Hybrid was shelved and the unrelated Rogue Sport is covered elsewhere. 

When properly equipped, the Rogue is rated to tow up to 1,100 pounds, which is about as much as a small moving trailer. 

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8

2020 Nissan Rogue

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Nissan Rogue is spacious and comfortable for up to five adults.

The tall, boxy 2020 Nissan Rogue has room for five—and room for high-fives. 

It’s a durable-feeling crossover with spread-out space and room for gear. It’s an 8 for comfort. 

Nissan’s institutional knowledge of how to make a comfortable seat—that’s not overly padded and eats into rear seat leg room—gets a warm welcome from our rears. The front seats are all-day comfortable, heated, and power-adjustable in Rogue SV and Rogue SL models. (Base versions can add heated seats as a spend-up extra.)

Second-row riders get nearly 38 inches of leg room with a perk: the tall head room means big bodies and big legs can better fit.

Three abreast is a breeze in the back seat, with only very broad shoulders looking for more wiggle room. 

Behind the second row the Rogue carries 39.3 cubic feet of cargo, which is impressive even though much of that space is little-used vertical space. With the second row folded down from a 40/20/40-split affair, the Rogue’s rear carries 70 cubic feet of caro. Underfloor bins help secure small-item storage beneath the floor, away from prying eyes. 

Base Rogue S models wear durable cloth that doesn’t feel cheap, but doesn’t impress much either. The interior plastics are black and cheap-feeling, an obvious place where the Rogue has cut its costs. 

Dressy Rogue SLs wear leather hides that look high-buck, but feel a little low-rent.

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8

2020 Nissan Rogue

Safety

Crash-test scores are mixed, but the Rogue has available advanced safety features that others don’t yet offer.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue has our safety scorecard crossed up like defenders on Steph Curry. 

Federal testers gave the Rogue a relatively rare four-star overall score for crashworthiness, very few new cars are rated similarly. The IIHS counters with a Top Safety Pick nod after it earned top “Good” scores on most of its tests, except the newer passenger-side small overlap crash test.

The Rogue is equipped with standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist on all models. Rogue SV and Rogue SL are equipped with an expanded suite that includes rear automatic emergency braking. Driver-assistance features that can help drive the car with minimal driver attention (but not hands-free) are on the options list. The pluses outweigh the minuses for now, so it’s an 8 on our safety scale. 

More on the safety scorecard: Federal testers gave the Rogue a four-star overall score for front crash safety and rollover protection. That four-star score indicates relative safety compared to other cars that weigh more or less the same as the Rogue, which there are many. Compared to cars 10 years old or older, the Rogue’s structure reduces the risk of injury in a crash, but not as much as its competitors. 

The IIHS’ rated the Rogue’s standard automatic emergency braking system as “Superior” at avoiding forward crashes at 12- and 25-mph. The Top Safety Pick award applies specifically to the Rogue SL when equipped with an $1,820 premium package that adds upgraded LED headlights. 

Aside from automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, the Rogue can be equipped with Nissan’s latest suite of active driver assistants called “ProPilot Assist” that can help steer, slow, or speed up the Rogue on long trips. The system is far from hands-free and far from perfect, but it is available at a lower price than many of its competitors. When turned on, the system reads lane markings and cars ahead to guide the Rogue with minimal driver input. 

If the wheel doesn’t detect hands for a short period of time (fewer than 20 seconds) it beeps. And it beeps when it detects a car ahead. And it beeps when you change lanes. And it beeps when it recognizes road markings again. It beeps when it can’t turn on any more. And so on. We appreciate the communication, but Nissan’s clearly gone out of its way to remind us to keep our hands on the wheel. Fair play. 

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8

2020 Nissan Rogue

Features

The Rogue’s best feature will be its affordable price for many shoppers.

Affordability and availability are the 2020 Nissan Rogue’s most endearing qualities, and we reward those virtues here. 

The Rogue lacks the panache and polish of some of its rivals, but its low starting price of $26,245 has an appeal all its own. Paired with Nissan’s generous incentives and sales efforts, more shoppers may consider a 2020 Rogue.

Those shoppers could do worse. Every Rogue gets life-saving safety tech that we cover above, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and power features. Those are good features among small crossovers for Rogue’s starting price, $26,245, but we doubt many people will be asked to pay that much. On our feature scale, the Rogue gets points above average for its base features, value, and 7.0-inch touchscreen. It’s an 8. 

Like last year, the Rogue is available in S, SV, and SL trim levels. All-wheel drive is optional on trims and costs $1,350 extra. 

An optional package on base Rogue S models adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, and nicer exterior trim pieces for $800. Unless keyless ignition with remote start for cold days and available driver-assistance features were must-haves, that’s the model we’d pick with our money. 

For $27,645 to start, the Rogue SV adds to base versions more speakers for the audio system (six vs. four), keyless ignition, power-adjustable heated front seats, and more available options such as adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, embedded navigation, driver-assistance features (that we cover above), premium audio by Bose, and unique wheels. Those packages can add $1,800 to $3,500 to the bottom line, so we would tread carefully. 

The top-trim Rogue SL adds leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, and everything listed above. For $32,635, the Rogue SL’s value proposition falls down against others in its class. 

Nissan infotainment

Unplug the base Nissan infotainment system and plug in a smartphone—in a hurry. 

Although the Rogue’s touchscreen is generously sized compared to others in its class, the menu system and baked-in navigation feels stuck in 2008. What’s worse, we’ve noticed that the screen in the Rogue washes out in direct sunlight easily, making it relatively hard to use for passengers and especially in cars equipped with a sunroof. (Mercifully, there are redundant hard buttons for menu, back, track selection, and contrast.)

Provided you can see the screen, the base Nissan system is straightforward with big, easily readable icons that help us dive into menus. Drivers would do well to set it and forget it—then find an Apple CarPlay- or Android Auto-compatible device for the duration.

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5

2020 Nissan Rogue

Fuel Economy

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid is gone this year, and what’s left is average among compact crossovers.

Compact crossovers like the 2020 Nissan Rogue have finally caught up with other new cars for fuel efficiency. The Nissan Rogue is rated 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined in front-wheel-drive configuration, according to the EPA. That’s a 5 on our fuel-economy scale. 

Opting for all-wheel drive modestly dents those figures: 25/32/27 mpg. A slow-selling Rogue Hybrid was shelved last year by Nissan, despite increasing competition from automakers such as Honda, Ford, and Toyota. 

Among small crossovers, the Rogue keeps pace but won’t lead the pack. The Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester return about 30 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. 

The Nissan Rogue isn’t related to the Rogue Sport, which we cover separately. 

Review continues below
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November 7, 2019
2020 Nissan Rogue Base

Better Than This Guy Makes It Sound

  • Overall Rating
  • Styling
  • Performance
  • Comfort & Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy
  • Reliability
Nice vehicle all around. This author is great at back-handed compliments. It's better than he says it is in many ways. Maybe he is paid by Toyota.
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6.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 4
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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