2021 Nissan Rogue

2021 Nissan Rogue First Look Review: Rivals Beware

by Jay Traugott

The Nissan Rogue has been the company's best-selling vehicle for the past few years. The compact crossover also happens to be the industry's largest segment, so it was vital to get everything right and then some when it came to designing the all-new 2021 Rogue. Playing it safe was not an option. Nissan knew it had to go above and beyond in order to stave off the Rogue's many and worthy rivals.

Introducing the all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue, a bolder-looking vehicle than the model it replaces, packed with the latest safety and driver-assist technologies along with the most sought after infotainment features. It's also more powerful than its predecessor and more capable than ever for off-road and rough weather situations.

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Bolder, More Commanding Exterior

Nissan describes the new Rogue as having a premium appearance. We concur. Measuring 1.5 inches shorter and 0.2 inches lower than its predecessor, designers have retained now-signature Nissan styling elements such as the floating roof and the latest iteration of the V-motion grille, which now adds a new headlight shape and "U-shape" bodyside highlights. The standard headlights also have multi-level LED technology with an expanded illumination area. LED fog lights are standard on the higher level SL and Premium trims.

The overall styling is more aerodynamic than before, evidenced by the new "3D" tire deflectors in the lower front fascia, active grille shutter to help control air flow, and unique A-pillars. For the first time ever, the new Rogue will offer buyers a total of five two-tone exterior color combinations in addition to the regular color palettes.

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Yesterday's Luxury Interior Is Now Mainstream

Nissan has succeeded in its mission to make the new Rogue's interior far more premium than before. A fully customizable 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a floating 9.0-inch touchscreen display are optional, as is a 10.8-inch head-up display. A 7.0-inch touchscreen display is standard, replacing the previous 5.0-inch unit. Apply CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard while wireless Apple CarPlay will be available at a later date.

Another cool new feature is the wireless smartphone charger, located on the center console directly in front of the gear shifter and dual cupholders. Both USB Type-C and Type-A charging ports are included. Other features include the standard Zero Gravity seats with available heating, and optional heating steering wheel. Another first for the Rogue is a tri-zone climate control system accommodating front and rear seat occupants. Those rear seat passengers will also appreciate the optional pull-up sunshades.

Nissan also redesigned the rear cargo area with some hidden storage spaces. An optional motion-activated tailgate makes access even easier.

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Power And Safety

Under the hood, just one engine is on the table for all trims, a 2.5-liter inline-four with 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 11 hp and 6 lb-ft over last year. Power is sent to either the front or all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission. That new AWD system has an electro-hydraulic controlled clutch for more responsive torque distribution. There's also a new suspension design with six mounting points and a multi-link rear.

A total of five driving modes are included: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport.

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety features are standard fare. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and high beam assist. A total of 10 airbags come as standard.

Nissan's Intelligent Driver Alertness Technology and Rear Door Alert come standard while Intelligent Cruise Control as part of the optional semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist system.

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Pricing And Competition

The Nissan Rogue continues to compete in a highly competitive segment. Some of the latest entries include the Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, Honda CR-V, and Kia Sportage.

Official pricing has not been announced at this time, but we don't expect it to greatly differ from that of the outgoing model, which begins at $25,300 and goes up to about $35,000. Sales of the 2021 Nissan Rogue are set to get underway this fall.

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