2021 Nissan Rogue

2021 Nissan Rogue First Drive Review: Premium Is Now Mainstream

The Nissan Rogue is one of several new or redesigned Nissans coming to market in 2021 that continues the Japanese brand's notable evolution into a more premium alternative. The Rogue is already the brand's top-selling model, but the compact crossover needs to up its game if Nissan is to elevate itself further. In a segment led by the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in sales, the all-new Rogue needs to bring style, comfort, utility, and one hell of a value proposition to pick up more sales to move up from third place on the sales charts.

Nissan's approach with the all-new Rogue is to focus on becoming a "family hub" - offering just as much comfort to those sitting at the back - while also concentrating on safety, convenience, and improving driving dynamics. Styling hasn't been skipped over, either, and the new Rogue pulls its angular and rugged new look from the X-Motion concept that debuted in 2018. We got behind the wheel of the new Rogue, powered by a 181-horsepower 2.5-liter four-pot, to see if it can surpass its strong-selling rivals in the USA.

2021 Nissan Rogue Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Rogue?

The new Nissan Rogue arrives as a complete redesign for the 2021 model year. Riding on an all-new platform, the Rogue is stylishly designed while atypically being 1.5 inches shorter than the model it replaces. It boasts a much more premium-feeling cabin with available features such as quilted semi-aniline leather seats, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and a 10.8-inch head-up display, which is a first for the Rogue. A raft of driver aids under the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite includes blind-spot monitoring, rear automatic braking, and lane departure warning. Although powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine as before, the latest Rogue sees increases of 11 hp and six lb-ft of torque compared with its predecessor.

Pros and Cons

  • Handsome styling
  • Quiet, high-quality cabin
  • Smooth ride and improved maneuverability
  • Comfortable Zero Gravity seats
  • Many standard safety features
  • Offers plenty of value
  • Some rivals remain more engaging to drive
  • Not the quickest crossover in this segment
  • No turbocharged engine option

Best Deals on Rogue

2021 Nissan Rogue Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,490
SV
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,870
SL
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,840
Platinum
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,630

Rogue Exterior

Nissan's aspirations for the Rogue are bold, and that's immediately reflected in the new visual design. Nissan's signature floating roof and the latest version of the V-Motion grille bring sophistication to an angular, busy design. The new headlights and "U-shape" bodyside highlights compliment the new V-Motion grille to create a heavily stylized and instantly recognizable from the front. Unique signature LED taillights at the rear and a distinctive "U Shaped" body style complete the aesthetic transformation. Base models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, but these increase to 18- and 19-inch items higher in the range. LED headlights and rear privacy glass are standard, while available features include a power panoramic moonroof and a motion-activated liftgate. New "3D" tire deflectors complement an air curtain system while an active grille shutter helps control airflow into the engine compartment.

2021 Nissan Rogue Forward View CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue View Out Back CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
See All 2021 Nissan Rogue Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Nissan bucks the trend of a new model being bigger than the one it replaces. The new Rogue is 1.5 inches shorter and 0.2 inches lower than its predecessor. Key dimensions are a length of 183 inches - concealing a 106.5-inch wheelbase - a width of 72.4 inches, and a height of 66.5 inches. The Rogue crossover has a minimum ground clearance of 8.2 inches. In terms of curb weight, the lightest Rogue is the base S in FWD guise at 3,371 pounds, while the heaviest version is the Platinum equipped with AWD which weighs 3,633 lbs.

  • Length 183.0 in
  • Wheelbase 106.5 in
  • Height 66.5 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.4 in
  • Rear Width 62.6 in
  • Curb Weight 3,369.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

At the time of writing, Nissan had yet to divulge the new Rogue's full color palette. However, we know it will be offered with five two-tone color combinations for the first time, along with some fiery red and orange shades like Monarch Orange and Scarlet Ember Tintcoat which work well with the bolder lines. For more conservative tastes, expect a choice of white and silver hues, including Brilliant Silver, Pearl White TriCoat, and Glacier White.

  • Caspian Blue Metallic
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Gun Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
  • Pearl White Tricoat
  • Glacier White
  • Boulder Gray Pearl
  • Super Black/Pearl White Tricoat
  • Super Black/Caspian Blue Metallic
  • Super Black/Champagne Silver Metallic
  • Super Black/Sunset Drift Chromaflair
  • Super Black/Boulder Gray Pearl
  • Champagne Silver Metallic

Rogue Performance

Nissan has stuck with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder naturally aspirated power plant for the 2021 Rogue that offers acceptable rather than class-leading performance. It's paired with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters and a manual shift mode, with power going to the front or all four wheels. Outputs are now rated at 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, which is about average for the segment but falls well short of the power on offer in the turbocharged version of the Mazda CX-5. We expect the 0 to 60 mph sprint to come in at under 10 seconds, but that's not as good as many of its primary rivals including the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. The Rogue is rated to tow a maximum of 1,350 lbs, which is an improvement on its predecessor but still not top of the class, especially when the RAV4 manages up to 3,500 lbs on select trims.

2021 Nissan Rogue Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Gear Shifter CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, a modest increase of 11 hp and six lb-ft over its predecessor - these numbers are similar to those offered by the CR-V. The engine features Nissan's Direct Injection Gasoline system. While there are no fireworks under the hood, we found there to be plenty of power for zipping around town, merging onto freeways, and overtaking slow traffic. Unlike last year's review of the Nissan Rogue, the power delivery of the new Rogue is smooth and effective, and the CVT transmission does a great job of becoming invisible and responding swiftly to throttle input. The transmission features paddle shifters for the manual shift mode, although this doesn't markedly improve performance. Overall, the powertrain is perfectly adequate for most needs, but a turbocharged engine option with a bit more grunt would have been appreciated.

  • Engine
    2.5L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Despite a presentation covering the new Rogue in detail, we still weren't prepared for the overall improvement over the outgoing model. The new platform developed as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance is stiffer and, matched with a new multi-link rear suspension system, the ride is smoother and the crossover is more planted on the road. The Rogue doesn't have sporty aspirations, so hurtling around at top speed will see the crossover a bit out of its element, but the improved dynamics inspire more confidence when maneuvering at speed. It also delivers a smoother and quieter ride, living up to Nissan's aspiration of a more premium product. We had a remarkably pleasant time on country roads, stints on the freeway, and rolling along California's Pacific Coast Highway. On our test drive, power was never an issue, whether joining traffic or overtaking, and the Rogue hums along the freeway with smooth ease. A couple of hours in the driver's seat only reaffirmed our love of Nissan's Zero Gravity seats, and visibility is on the better side of good.

The Rogue features several drive modes: Standard, Eco, and Sport. All-wheel-drive models also get Off-Road and Snow Modes. We didn't get a chance to slip off the road with the Rogue, and there's little snow on the coast of California in the summer. However, Sport mode improved throttle response but didn't inspire us to race around, Eco softened throttle response but not to the point of frustration, and Normal was perfect for the usual cut and thrust of daytime traffic.

Rogue Gas Mileage

EPA-rated economy figures have yet to be published, but Nissan's own estimated figures demonstrate a small improvement over last year's model with best figures of 27/35/30 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. This figure applies to the S derivative in FWD guise. The least efficient models are the top AWD versions with figures of 25/32/28 mpg. By comparison, the most efficient Mazda CX-5 returns figures of 25/31/28 mpg. If efficiency is a priority, hybridized rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 returns figures of 41/38/40 mpg. Should Nissan's estimates be confirmed by the EPA, the 14.5-gallon gas tank will allow for gas mileage in mixed driving of 435 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 27/35 mpg
* 2021 Nissan Rogue S FWD

Rogue Interior

Like the latest Nissan Sentra, the Rogue takes a clear step upmarket with a plusher and much more stylish cabin than its predecessor. It goes deeper than just the choice of materials and high-tech features such as the expansive head-up display, though. Less wind noise filtering into the cabin is no accident as Nissan has worked on making the interior of the Rogue as quiet as possible. Acoustic glass in the windshield, a thicker dash insulator, and a multi-link rear suspension all work together to produce a pleasantly quiet ride. Nissan's excellent and supportive Zero Gravity seats stand out as a highlight in the roomy cabin, which is equipped with standard gear like cruise control, remote keyless entry, and rear parking sensors. All models come with safety equipment like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

2021 Nissan Rogue Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Central Console CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

The Nissan Rogue seats a total of five occupants across two rows. Passenger space is excellent all-round, and with the front seat set for a tall driver, there was still plenty of knee room for that driver in the back as well. Despite the latest Rogue being shorter than its predecessor, rear legroom has increased by 0.6 inches. All models besides the entry-level S offer a power-adjustable driver's seat and all feature a tilt/telescoping steering wheel which helps to find an optimal driving position. The second-row seats can also slide and recline. Ingress and egress pose no problems, aided by the rear doors which open to almost 90 degrees. Conveniently, a child seat can be installed in all three rear seating positions.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 41.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.2 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The range starts off with premium cloth seats for the S and SV, with leatherette being an option on the SV. The SL and Platinum both feature leather-upholstered seats, while the latter trim enjoys classy quilted stitching and soft semi-aniline leather. The top two trims receive a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Interior color choices include Charcoal, Gray, and Tan, with our test unit's dark color scheme relieved by white stitching on the door panels, dashboard, and center console lid. Pleasingly, there are no large areas covered in shiny Piano Black plastic which does little more than attract fingerprints and scratches.

Rogue Trunk and Cargo Space

The Nissan Rogue offers a generous cargo area measuring 31.6 cubic feet in the S and SV and 36.5 cubes in the SL and Platinum which are equipped with the Divide-N-Hide system. This system provides hidden storage for essential items. The square-shaped cargo area can easily swallow a few larger suitcases and additionally comes with a 12-volt outlet and four floor-mounted tie-down hooks. A power liftgate is optional on the SV while the top two trims feature a motion-activated liftgate as standard. On all trims, folding the second row of seats unveils 74.1 cubic feet of cargo space.

Interior storage space is excellent, with large door pockets to stash gear or drinks and improved upper and lower console storage areas. The butterfly-style opening center storage is useful, too, as are the four cupholders. Our favorite small detail is improved storage behind the wheel arch in the trunk, designed perfectly to hold a quart of milk.

2021 Nissan Rogue Armrest Storage CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Cargo Room Behind Second Row CarBuzz
2021 Nissan Rogue Interior Details CarBuzz

Rogue Infotainment and Features

Features

Starting with the S, the Nissan Rogue comes equipped with remote keyless entry, cruise control, manual air conditioning with ventilation outlets at the back, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, and a rearview camera. Higher up in the range, the Rogue gets a surround-view monitor with additional images on the center display improving driver visibility, push-button ignition, dual- or tri-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, wireless charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, front/rear heated seats, and power-adjustable front seats. A power panoramic moonroof is standard on the top two trims and optional on the SV.

Infotainment

The NissanConnect infotainment system works well. An eight-inch touchscreen display is standard for the infotainment screen while a floating nine-inch touchscreen display, a customizable 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster, and a 10.8-inch head-up display are standard on the top Platinum trim. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and, on the new top Platinum trim, wireless CarPlay is coming. Our test models were generously optioned out, and the new displays are crisp and clear, while the infotainment system is logical and intuitive to work through. We didn't try out the Nissan Concierge Personal Assistant service that comes free for the first six months on all trim levels. Every version comes with Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, voice recognition, SiriusXM radio (with the SiriusXM subscription sold separately), and two USB ports in front. A further two charging USB ports are fitted to the rear of the top three trims. The S gets a four-speaker sound system, the SV and SL feature a six-speaker system, and the Platinum has a 10-speaker Bose premium sound system. Only the Platinum has navigation fitted as standard.

Rogue Problems and Reliability

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a new vehicle so it's quite early to assess its reliability, but the omens are good since last year's version has yet to be affected by any recalls.

Nissan's warranty is on the average side, running for just three years or 36,000 miles, while there is also a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. No complimentary scheduled maintenance is included.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Rogue Safety

At the time of writing, no Nissan Rogue safety rating was available as both the IIHS and NHTSA had yet to evaluate the new crossover. Nissan seems confident about the Rogue's chances as it claims that the crossover comes with the most standard safety technologies in its segment, so when it does eventually get an official rating, we expect it to do well.

Key Safety Features

The 2021 Nissan Rogue benefits from the brand's comprehensive Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety features, which is standard across the lineup. Among the standard features are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection, intelligent forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, and a driver alertness system. The top three trims feature intelligent lane intervention. Also on offer is ProPilot Assist, which Nissan describes as a hands-on, driver-assist innovation. The system reduces fatigue by helping to control acceleration, braking, and steering both on the highway and in stop-go traffic scenarios. On the Platinum, this system works even more effectively in conjunction with the navigation system. Most Rogues have a surround-view monitor whereas the base model uses a more conventional rearview camera. On top of all that, a segment-first is the rear seatbelts coming with pre-tensioners and load limiters.

The airbag count totals eight, including curtain and side airbags for both front and rear occupants. The Platinum also gets a front central seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbag. As expected, traction control and tire pressure monitoring are standard.

Verdict: 🏁Is the New Nissan Rogue a good car?

The new Rogue is proof that premium quality is now something you don't have to spend a lot of money to get. Starting at $25,650 for the front-wheel-drive S trim and topping out at $36,830 for the Platinum trim with all the bells and whistles, Nissan is bringing one hell of a value proposition to the table. In the industry's most competitive segment, the Rogue brings a smooth driving experience, a spacious and useful interior, and everyday practicality mixed with an upgrade in interior quality and materials. Matched with its distinctive and purposeful new looks, the Rogue could be a contender for the number one slot as best selling crossover in 2021. If it had the option of a more powerful turbocharged engine, the new Rogue would be incredibly hard to fault. The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are excellent, but the Rogue is a car that's more than a match for both.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Nissan Rogue?

The new Nissan Rogue starts off with an MSRP of $25,650 in the USA for the S. Next is the SV at $27,340 and the SL with a price tag of $32,000. The most expensive version is the Platinum at $35,430, with the cost increasing to $36,830 when you spec AWD. These prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge. The Nissan Rogue price range begins at a lower point than the Toyota RAV4.

2021 Nissan Rogue Models

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is available in a choice of four trims: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. All Nissan Rogue models are equipped with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, along with an Xtronic CVT transmission. FWD is standard but AWD is available.

Starting things off is the S with 17-inch alloy wheels, black outside mirrors, automatic LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights on the exterior. Inside, it's equipped with manual air conditioning, premium cloth seats, an eight-inch touchscreen interface, and a four-speaker sound system. Safety gear like forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring are standard.

The SV adds body-color and heated side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a six-speaker sound system, rear USB charging ports, dual-zone climate control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and an around-view monitor.

Next is the SL which gains a power panoramic moonroof, roof rails, 19-inch alloy wheels, a motion-activated tailgate, leather-upholstered seats, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and tri-zone climate control.

The Platinum is by far the most lavishly equipped derivative. It comes with semi-aniline leather seats with quilted stitching, heated front/rear seats, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, navigation, a nine-inch touchscreen display, wireless charging, a head-up display, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

See All 2021 Nissan Rogue Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The base S is the least customizable model in the range, limited to a few standalone options like front fog lights, whereas going for the SV avails the SV Premium Package with a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, leatherette-upholstery, a power moonroof, and a power liftgate. Unique to the SL is the SL Premium Package with a host of upgrades including a 10-speaker Bose sound system, traffic sign recognition, navigation, a larger nine-inch touchscreen display, front parking sensors, and more. Since the Platinum is already fully loaded, it isn't offered with any optional upgrades.

🚗What Nissan Rogue Model Should I Buy?

At under $2,000 more than the base model, the SV looks like a great deal within the Rogue SUV lineup. It adds welcome upgrades like a power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, a better sound system, and an around-view monitor while still coming in at under $30,000 in the US. FWD or AWD will depend on your specific needs and whether the climate you live in requires the added security of sending power to all four corners. However, there is good value to be found in the other trims as well. The Platinum is certainly lavish and borders on premium in feel, but at that price, we'd rather have a more powerful and equally luxurious Mazda CX-5.

2021 Nissan Rogue Comparisons

Nissan Murano Nissan
Honda CR-V CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Rogue181 hp27/35 mpg$25,850
Nissan Murano 260 hp20/28 mpg$32,810
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$25,350

2021 Nissan Rogue vs Nissan Murano

Not much is known yet about the 2021 Nissan Murano, so is an almost-new 2020 version a better bet than the new Rogue? Well, the Murano has been around since 2015 so it lacks some of the fancy new tech in the smaller Rogue such as the latter's digital gauge cluster. Both have comfortable and well-built cabins, but the Rogue has a fresher design and layout. The Murano is nearly 10 inches longer yet that doesn't translate into a bigger trunk, and neither is the interior significantly more spacious than the Rogue's. That said, you do get V6 power and a meatier 260 hp in the Murano, but you'll pay for it at the pumps, where the Rogue is far more efficient. If you need the extra grunt, the Murano is worth considering, otherwise, we'd opt for the newer Rogue, which starts at over $5,000 less.

See Nissan Murano Review

2021 Nissan Rogue vs Honda CR-V

The CR-V is Honda at its competent best and buyers can't seem to get enough of them. Among the CR-V's highlights is a peppy 190-horsepower turbocharged engine; outputs are similar to the Rogue's but the Honda's turbo improves drivability. There is also a hybrid version of the CR-V that is far more efficient and which offers a useful 212 hp, easily trouncing the Rogue. Both SUVs are pleasant to drive, although the CR-V comes across as a slightly more engaging prospect. Both have smart cabins but the Rogue now feels more luxurious, although it's the Honda that has the bigger trunk. But the Nissan fights back with the availability of features such as a head-up display and heated rear seats. Although we'd give the CR-V's powertrain the edge, the newer Rogue does just enough to edge out the Honda.

See Honda CR-V Review

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2021 Nissan Rogue Video Reviews

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