Most of the compact SUV offerings in the U.S. have been redesigned or refreshed in the last two years. Finally, it is the Nissan’s turn. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is new from top to bottom with a beefy exterior, more power, and reconfigured storage space. As expected, there’s also a number of high-tech upgrades.
The Nissan Rogue competes directly with the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Equinox, and Mazda CX-5, among others. It slots into the Nissan lineup between the larger Pathfinder and the smaller Rogue Sport. The Nissan Kicks is even smaller.
The SUV has a commanding presence with a flatter front indicative of the fresh Nissan design language coming throughout the SUV lineup.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Nissan will sell the 2021 Rogue in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Rogue Platinum is new to the lineup and gives the buyer the equipment in nearly every option box.
Though most vehicles seem to be increasing in size with every redesign, the Rogue is not. Nissan has shrunk the Rogue’s body by 1.5 inches and lowered it by 0.2 inches, which they say helps with the SUV’s maneuverability. The wheelbase is the same (106.5 inches) compared to the 2020 model.
The sizing changes mean that the SUV loses some head-, hip-, and legroom in both rows of seating. Shoulder room, however, is increased in the front and remains the same for rear passengers.
Cargo volume with the second-row seats folded has increased by over four cubic feet while space behind the second row seats remains the same. The Rogue now has more space with both rows of seats folded down than nearly every other SUV in its class except the cavernous Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. A motion-activated tailgate is available.
All-wheel drive and a motion-activated tailgate are available.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Many hallmarks of Nissan design play out on the exterior of the new model. The V-motion grille is applied with a new dynamic, riding the hood to give the Rogue a robust front. Standard multilevel LED headlights flank the grille. This is a completely new look for Nissan and the Rogue. LED fog lights come standard in SL and Platinum grades.
The 2021 Rogue will be offered in a wide range of color combinations, including – for the first time – five two-tone combinations.
Those who frequently use the rear seats will appreciate that the new Rogue has rear doors that open nearly 90 degrees.
Each Rogue will be powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are increases on the amount achieved by the 2020 Rogue. The engine is pared with a continuously variable transmission.
Uniquely, the SUV’s rear is rather flat with a sculpted C-pillar doing the work to create a curvy posterior.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
The new Vehicle Motion Control system uses technology to smooth out the drive experience for better fuel efficiency. It predicts what the driver is trying to do to do by monitoring steering, acceleration, and braking then acting to smooth out the effect of those actions. It works in conjunction with the all-wheel drive system.
Depending on trim level, the five-passenger SUV rides on 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels.
Engineers have given the SUV five drive modes in vehicles equipped with available all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is standard): Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are activated via a dial on the center console. That area is also home to a new shifter, electronic parking brake and auto hold buttons, and two cup holders.
From the look of things, Nissan is continuing to up the ante toward premium with its top-level Rogue cabin offering.
The SUV’s cabin has been completely restyled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
Rear seat occupants benefit greatly from the generational redesign. They get Nissan’s signature Zero Gravity seats standard, available pull-up sunshades, optional tri-zone climate control, and available heated seats.
USB-C and USB-A ports are located in the center console. A 7.0-inch driver’s information display is standard.
The list of available features includes a 10.8-inch head-up display,12.3-inch digital instrument panel, “floating” 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Bose sound system, wireless charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, navigation, Google Maps, Waze, and NissanConnnect Services.
Nissan equips every Rogue with Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of safety technology that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrians detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. A surround view camera, blind spot intervention, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition are available. Adaptive cruise control is part of the available ProPilot Assist system.
The look of the buttons on the steering wheel is new for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
For the new model year, Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system works with next-gen radar and camera technology. Additionally, the hold time in stop-and-go highway traffic changes from the previous three seconds to up to 30 seconds (for vehicles with ProPilot Assist with Navi-link only) – allowing the vehicle to remain stopped and automatically continue without the driver resetting the function or tapping the accelerator pedal.
The center console features a new design with a fresh shifter.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America
The 2021 Nissan Rogue goes on sale at dealerships nationwide this autumn. Pricing is expected to increase from the 2020 model, with the Platinum grade topping out several thousand dollars over the formerly top-tier Rogue SL.