2021 Nissan Rogue

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
July 9, 2021

Buying tip

The 2021 Nissan Rogue SV balances value with plenty of creature comforts.

features & specs

AWD Platinum
25 city / 32 hwy
26 city / 33 hwy
25 city / 32 hwy

The 2021 Nissan Rogue nudges its way upstream with a more refined ride and more standard features but the powertrain doesn’t take any steps forward.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Nissan Rogue? What does it compare to?

The redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue compact crossover SUV prioritizes creature comforts and advanced technology to stand out among competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape.

Is the 2021 Nissan Rogue a good car?

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The updated Rogue earns a TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10, which is above average in our rankings for compact crossover SUVs. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Nissan Rogue ?

In addition to a new look, Nissan’s best-selling vehicle gets a more potent powertrain, a stiffer but quieter ride, more standard safety and driver assistance features, and clever packaging that opens up more interior space. 

The 2021 Rogue’s grille flows over the hood and down the sides in a design that’s mostly understated. The two-tiered headlights are the most daring design element for the compact crossover that has a smaller footprint but is actually roomier inside than the preceding model.

A familiar 2.5-liter inline-4 pairs with Nissan’s fourth-generation continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for a bit more acceleration and better efficiency to get up to 30 mpg combined. 

It’s quieter inside thanks to a new platform and chassis that helps reduce engine and road noise. A rear independent suspension and more rigid mounts calm the Rogue at cruising speeds. 

Despite the smaller outward dimensions, cargo volume increases to 74.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down due to clever packaging such as a two-tiered console and tiered storage floor. The Rogue seats five, but only four adults. Rear leg room is a bit shorter but there is ample head room.  

The 2021 Rogue comes loaded with standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, and blind-spot monitors. 

How much does the 2021 Nissan Rogue cost?

The 2021 Rogue starts at $26,745 in base S trim with front-wheel drive. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a bunch of standard driver assist features, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

The Rogue SV is our pick at $28,335 with power front seats, wi-fi, adaptive cruise control, and remote entry. The Rogue SL adds leather memory front seats and a sunroof, but the top Platinum trim new for 2021 adds all the goods, including wireless Apple CarPlay, a Bose sound system, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for $36,525.

Where is the 2021 Nissan Rogue made?

It’s made in Smyrna, Tennessee; some models are made in Japan. 


2021 Nissan Rogue


The 2021 Rogue isn’t daring when it comes to design, except for the tiered headlights.

Is the 2021 Nissan Rogue a good-looking car?

It’s not bad. It doesn’t go out of its way to stand out in this homogenous class, but it also doesn’t blend into obscurity. The new Rogue rides a little lower and is more than one inch shorter than the outgoing version for a stouter, beefier stance. Nicer materials inside bump it up to a 6. 

The hood flattens to a buff V-shaped grille, which is broader and taller than the prior Rogue. Fortunately, the face isn’t all up in your grille with a massive...grille. The biggest change to the design are “multi-level” LED headlights. The headlights are split, with standard automatic high beams on top of LED low beams. Above and separated from that are LED daytime running lights that wrap around the top and side of the front bumper like hawkish eyebrows into the belt line.

That line down each side dips below the side mirrors to the door handles, then back up over the rear fenders into the rear taillights in a kind of U-shape that resembles the shape of the grille. Familiar Nissan design cues include the blacked-out rear pillars meant to evoke a floating roof. Wheel choices range from standard 17-inch alloys up to 19-inchers. 

Aerodynamic elements blend into the design to improve efficiency, including active grille shutters, tire deflectors, underbody covers to push airflow down and out, and a rear spoiler.

Inside the cabin is a pleasant mix of materials. On SL trim, a fake wood trim piece divides the soft synthetic leather up top and light lower panels below. The contrasting colors and some graphic metallic touch points on the console and door panels make for a calming cabin.

Review continues below


2021 Nissan Rogue


The 2021 Rogue isn’t going anywhere fast but it gets there with more comfort and efficiency.

The 2021 Rogue comes with just one engine, an improved CVT, a stiffer chassis, and an overall  ride that prioritizes comfort and efficiency over power, by design. The quieter, smoother ride helps it earn a point that is then deducted for its sluggish powertrain. It’s a 5.  

Is the Nissan Rogue 4WD?

Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive costs $1,400 extra. It goes from three drive modes to five, adding Off-road and Snow to Standard, Eco, and Sport modes. 

How fast is the Nissan Rogue?

We wouldn’t go challenging anyone off the line. It can hit 60 mph in about nine seconds in Sport mode. With no one else in the car. With the wind at your back. Downhill. 

The 2021 Rogue uses a powertrain from the Altima mid-size sedan, with a 2.5-liter inline-4 rated at 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, which represent improvements of 11 hp and 6 lb-ft over the 2020 model. 

The CVT is improved, and in Standard and Sport modes under heavy throttle it can simulate shifts with up to seven gear steps. There’s very little engine noise until it’s switched to Sport mode, and the engine revs much higher.

The retuned CVT helps both acceleration and efficiency, but most of the improvements to the Rogue come from the ride quality. The new platform and chassis underpinning the 2021 Rogue (and likely the next iterations of the Altima and Pathfinder) lead to a big difference in both handling and a quieter ride inside the cabin with less road noise. Rigid mounts in the front suspension complement an independent rear suspension that soaks up the road while cruising. 

A rack-mounted electric power steering used in the 2020 Sentra compact sedan provides a more direct steering feel, and the stiffer chassis gives it a slightly more nimble feel while turning, though it’s still tall so passengers slide to the right, then slide to the left on and off ramps.

Review continues below


2021 Nissan Rogue

Comfort & Quality

Smaller yet roomier thanks to smart packaging, the 2021 Rogue feels larger than it is.

Redesigned for 2021, the Rogue is smaller yet roomier. It's 1.5 inches shorter and 0.2 inches lower than the outgoing model, yet cargo volume with the rear seats folded forward increases 4.1 cubic feet to 74.1 cubes total over the 2020 model. It’s the same 39.3 cubic feet behind the second row, but second-row riders lose an inch of leg room. A two-tiered storage floor can make for a flat load floor with the seats down, or can drop about three inches for deeper storage. It earns a point for cargo space and for pretty good front seats to get an 7. 

Rear doors open up to nearly 90 degrees, making it really easy to get in and out with child safety seats, four-legged friends, or extra cargo. 

The base S seats are unimpressive, but the next step up to SV comes with 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. The driver’s seat is comfy but the console limits space for the right leg to stretch out during cruise control. 

Clever packaging expands the roominess of the Rogue despite the smaller proportions. The gear shifter is now a more compact electronic shifter in the center console that looks like a traditional shifter but acts like a broken joystick on an ‘80s arcade game. It’s too flimsy. Some of the buttons below the navigation have a cheap, flimsy feel as well, though everywhere else the Rogue’s attempts at being more upscale are convincing. 

The deep console splits into upper and lower levels, so purses, tablets, or other precious items can be stowed out of sight but remain conveniently close at hand. 

The storage area under the elbow rest was redesigned with a butterfly opening that splits in half longwise, so all five occupants can access it. Up to four USB ports are available, with two USB-C and two USB-A ports. Large cupholders in the doors can accommodate 32-ounce bottles, according to Nissan.

Review continues below


2021 Nissan Rogue


Comprehensive standard safety features help prevent a crash in the 2021 Rogue.

How safe is the Nissan Rogue?

It's a very mixed bag. The IIHS calls the new Rogue a Top Safety Pick+. The NHTSA gives it four stars overall; initially the agency gave the 2021 Rogue a two-star rating for front passenger protection for vehicles built prior to January 28, but vehicles built since then now earn a four-star front-passenger rating.

We get to 8 with extra points for standard and optional safety features and for its IIHS score.

Nissan claims the most standard safety features in the compact crossover class, and we believe it. Like last year, it includes rear door alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic rear braking, which was not standard for 2020. 

Adaptive cruise control is still optional, even though automakers such as Toyota and Subaru include it as standard. Nissan improved its options with an upgraded navigation, called ProPilot Assist that uses GPS and map data so the system can plan for slowdowns around curves or near exits. Standard on all but the base S model, it stays centered in the lane better without the ping pong feel of less sophisticated systems, and the braking isn’t as abrupt. In stop-and-go traffic, the adaptive cruise control can stop for up to 30 seconds without driver intervention. A wide and tall windshield makes for good outward vision.


2021 Nissan Rogue


The Rogue SV trim hits the sweet spot for value and features.

The standard convenience and tech features in the 2021 Nissan Rogue measures up to the standard safety features. An 8.0 touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, solid base content, luxury-like options, and overall value each earn a point to 9 for features. 

Which Nissan Rogue should I buy?

The SV is the best value at $28,335 including destination with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive adds $1,400 across the lineup of S, SV, SL, and Platinum trims, which is new for 2021. 

Along with the LED headlights and taillights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and standard safety features on the S, the SV adds 18-inch wheels, keyless entry, navigation, adaptive cruise control, wi-fi, two rear USB ports, 8-way power driver’s seat, and a surround-view camera system. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Nissan Rogue?

New for 2021, Platinum becomes a standalone trim instead of a package and costs $36,525 in front-wheel drive. It comes with a 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, the 7.0-inch instrument cluster display upgrades to a 12.3-inch digital display, and a 10.8-inch head-up display rounds out all the displays. Quilted semi-aniline seats complement a Bose sound system for the poshest Rogue in town. Wireless charging and wireless CarPlay comes standard, but sorry, Android users, you still need the USB umbilical cord.

Review continues below


2021 Nissan Rogue

Fuel Economy

Without a hybrid powertrain, the most efficient Rogue gets 30 mpg combined.

Is the 2021 Nissan Rogue good on gas?

It improved by up to 2 mpg from the 2020 model thanks to the retuned CVT to get an EPA-rated 27 mpg city, 35 highway, 30 combined in front-wheel drive in the base S model. That just misses a 6 on our scale, but without a hybrid powertrain like rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, the Rogue is not the most efficient compact crossover. 

The hybrid competitors get at least 40 mpg around town, but they also cost more. 

The 2021 Rogue in SV, SL, and Platinum trim with front-wheel drive gets 26/34/29 mpg, which is a tad off the turbo-4 in the Honda CR-V at 28/34/30 mpg. With all-wheel drive, the 2021 Rogue S gets 26/33/29 mpg; SV, SL, and Platinum lose 1 mpg off that. 

Review continues below

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Styling 6
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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