This is not what anyone expected.
The completely redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue is now in showrooms across the country. Like its predecessor, it's destined to be a strong seller for the Japanese automaker, which is still recovering from financial problems. But in an unexpected and disappointing new update, the third generation Rogue's government safety scores are not up to par.
The Car Connection noticed late last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the 2021 Rogue just two stars out of five for the passenger-side crash test, a two-star decrease in that category compared to its immediate predecessor. That's clearly not good for any new car.
However, the safety agency still awarded the Rogue a four-star overall crash test score. But why did it manage just two stars in that particular category? There's no exact answer at the moment but there's a pretty decent chance it has something to do with the compact crossover's front passenger restraint systems. Nissan released a statement after the agency's rating became public claiming this test score involves Rogue's built before January 28 at its Kyushu plant in Japan. A majority of US market Rogues will be assembled in Tennessee.
"Nissan is committed to vehicle safety and is pleased with the 2021 Nissan Rogue's overall four-star NCAP safety rating," a Nissan representative said. "All 2021 Rogue vehicles fully comply with federal safety standards."
It sure sounds like the culprit for this two-star rating is that front passenger restraint system and, hopefully, it has already undergone adjustments for US manufacturing. The NHTSA already plans to retest the Rogue in May and will publicize the results at around that time. Chances are the sacrificial test vehicle will be a US-built example made sometime after January 28.
This is not only a big deal for Nissan but also for its alliance partner Mitsubishi. Just last week, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander debuted and aside from some unique exterior sheetmetal, it's a new Rogue underneath, engine and all.