It's so nice, it almost deserves an Infiniti badge. But it's missing one thing.
Much like sports teams, automakers are capable of massive, perception-changing turnarounds. Remember when the New England Patriots were one of the worst teams in the NFL? Well, winning six Super Bowls does a lot to make people forget. Much like the Patriots, Nissan is currently stacking up proverbial trophies with a slew of new products that replace rather lackluster vehicles. The most important of these new models is the 2021 Nissan Rogue, the company's best-selling vehicle.
Following the previous generation's sales success, Nissan couldn't afford to mess up the new Rogue. Though the outgoing model was far from our favorite compact crossover, it sold in huge numbers, nearly outselling the dominant Toyota RAV4 in 2017. We recently spent a week driving the 2021 Rogue in its luxurious Platinum trim, and not only do we believe it is infinitely better than the old one, we think it's among the best crossovers on the market. Here are five things we love about it and one option we believe is missing.
The Rogue's perception-changing transformation starts in the cabin, where Nissan integrated many of the design elements we enjoyed in the Altima sedan. The cabin design looks purposeful with premium materials throughout. If you opt for the top Platinum trim for $35,530, the interior comes decked out with luscious semi-aniline leather featuring a diamond-quilt pattern.
This seat material wouldn't look out of place in an Infiniti. The seats themselves are very comfortable too, thanks to Nissan's pressure-free Zero Gravity cushion technology that was inspired by NASA. The only missing feature in this otherwise perfect interior is ventilation for the seats, which is available on the Toyota RAV4 Limited.
Looking beyond the cabin design, the cabin technology is also stellar. The Platinum trim boasts every bell and whistle in Nissan's arsenal, including an intuitive nine-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology. This screen also houses a surround-view monitor, which features a higher resolution than the last Infiniti QX50 we tested. Other standout features include a configurable 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 10.8-inch head-up display, wireless device charger, and a 10-speaker Bose premium sound system.
Nissan crams the Rogue with safety tech too. As standard, the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite bundles together automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, and a driver alertness system. On the Platinum trim, ProPilot Assist helps manage vehicle speed and steering. This is one of the best semi-autonomous systems we've tested, and it's especially impressive at this price point.
In addition to all the other great tech features, Nissan Concierge is a simple but effective tool that we found extremely useful during our week with the Rogue. Nissan Concierge is essentially like having a personal assistant in the car who can schedule appointments, order food, set navigation destinations, or pretty much any legal task that can be done using an internet connection. The service comes free for the first six months, then costs $8 per month. That price also includes remote engine start/stop, horn and lights, data wipe, vehicle status, My Car Finder, destination download, and journey planner.
Compact crossovers like the Nissan Rogue are driven by people who need space for their stuff. The Rogue's cabin is thoughtfully laid out to ensure no loose object will need to take up valuable cupholder space. Ahead of the shifter on the Platinum model sits a wireless charging pad, which allows owners to charge their phones while staying connected to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Since the shifter is electronic, there is a huge area beneath the center console to house large objects. Should an owner wish to keep any items hidden, the glovebox and armrest house massive amounts of storage.
Nissan's clever storage solutions don't stop at the front seat. The trunk area features a cool option called the Divide-N-Hide trunk. Like other crossovers, the Rogue's trunk floor can be lowered to accept taller objects. If the floor is left in its upper position, it remains flush when the second row is folded and houses additional covered storage underneath. Should owners have smaller objects that they'd like to prevent from rolling around, the trunk floor can be mounted standing up, dividing the cargo hold into two smaller areas.
We came away from our week in the Nissan Rogue highly impressed by the overall package. However, we think it could be even better with the addition of a hybrid drivetrain. Toyota has seen a massive increase in RAV4 Hybrid demand, and it seems like Nissan is currently missing out on this emerging segment. The Rogue's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft, which is significantly lower than the RAV4's 203-hp rating. In hybrid form, the RAV4 produces 219 hp, which is much more than the Rogue.
The Rogue Platinum only manages okay consumption figures of 25/32/28 mpg city/highway/combined when equipped with all-wheel drive. The RAV4 Hybrid is rated at 40 mpg combined, and has gutsier performance. Nissan doesn't currently have a hybrid drivetrain that it could drop into the Rogue, but it needs to make one soon.