|S||2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$20,493||$21,640|
|SV||2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$22,004||$23,240|
|SL||2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive||$24,885||$26,290|
by Chris Wall
The Nissan Rogue Sport is not any sportier than the normal Rogue as the name suggests, instead it’s simply built on a shorter wheelbase and features a trimmed down body as a result, so it’s really only a smaller version. In fact it features a smaller, less powerful engine too, so the Sport moniker doesn’t quite make sense because sporty it’s not. The Rogue Sport is a capable daily driver though that’s fitted with some good tech and can be had in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive guise. Pricing is on par with segment rivals so it looks set to be as popular as the original Rogue.
The interior is a little smaller in the Nissan Rogue Sport thanks to the body size being chopped down a little. The result is that there’s a little less rear legroom, but it’s still not bad, three can fit in ok although two would be better. The roof is domed though so taller passengers will be ok too. Up front the seating is spacious and a great position can be set thanks to the 6-way power adjusting seats with 2-war lumbar support. The dash layout is good and looks ok in the available two-tone finish, and some plastics are hard to the touch, which on a positive note is easy to clean. The infotainment screen could be a little larger, but it’s easy enough to see what’s displayed, and the important information comes up on a driver information screen in the gauge cluster anyway. The shifter looks classy in the SV model, as does the flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel.
The motor isn’t too strong even though it pulls a smaller, lighter body along. To get it going at any sort of fast pace you will have to drive it with your foot flat, but for normal commuting speeds it feels ok and is actually rather smooth. The CVT transmission has pre-programmed “shift” points that make you feel like you’re in a conventional automatic, but they can feel a little jerky at times, particularly at partial throttle. The suspension is good; it’s soft enough to absorb bumps well and it’s also stiff enough that it doesn’t show any signs of body roll, and when you add that to light steering and a solid feeling build quality, you have yourself a nice drive. It feels much the same with the front-wheel drive option and the all-wheel drive option. The all-wheel drive part of it is also intelligent, so it’s brains can adapt to changing conditions “30 times faster than you can blink” to optimum traction is maintained at all times.
Even though the Nissan Rogue Sport sounds like it will be quick and have good performance, it really doesn’t have what the name, or the looks suggest. What it doe shave is a normally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that’s a little less than what a car of this size needs, but it does get the job done with power rated 141 hp with 147 lb-ft of torque. It is nice and refined though, silky smooth. With a continuously variable transmission it works ok, but it’s not a selling point. It does feature those fake shift points to make it feel like a conventional automatic, which always begs the question – why not use a conventional one in the first place? The Rogue Sport can be had in front-wheel drive guise or it can be optioned in all-wheel drive, and of course the latter is better.
Nissans have always been good with standard equipment levels, and the Rogue Sport keeps with this trend. Depending on the trim chosen, you will get cruise control, auto headlights, Bluetooth and reverse camera, dual zone climate control, navigation can be found. The optional 7.0-inch screen for the infotainment is a worthy option as the standard 5-inch is a little, well, little. Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection is a great feature to option in any car, it ensures safe parking and driving in lees than ideal situations. Siri Eyes Free is available for Apple users and that keeps you focused on the road and not fiddling with bits to get tasks done. Safety includes Nissan’s advanced airbag system, vehicle dynamic control with traction control and ABS with EBD.
While the new name lulls you into thinking things are sportier, they’re not, but besides that the Nissan Rogue Sport is set to be a popular choice among buyers who like trendy SUVs with a design and look that stands out. Available tech and spec along with interior finishing options is good, some standard items do need to be ignored in favor of the better options though. The space is good throughout and with the Rogue being a bit smaller; the 141 hp 2.0-liter still works well with a full compliment of passengers. The continuously variable transmission is the only feature not worth bragging about, but as a complete package, the Nissan Rogue Sport looks set to be a popular choice.