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2021 Nissan Rogue Crossover: A Rogue You’ll Want to Be With

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The 2020 Nissan Rogue crossover was a best seller. But the new exterior and interior design make the 2021 model more handsome and luxurious than ever.

What’s New for the 2021 Nissan Rogue

The all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue has improved so much you wouldn’t think it’s from the same company. The previous Rogue has been a best seller and, although aging, wasn’t a hateful SUV. But the new exterior and interior design gives the 2021 version a more handsome and luxurious look and feel. It’s bolder styling, high comfort interior, up-to-date technology, better ride, and performance will help it compete against VW’s Tiguan and Honda’s CR-V. In every area, the Rogue has gone to finishing school. Let’s see what it’s learned.

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

2021 Nissan Rogue – usa.nissannews.com |  Shop 2021 Nissan Rogue on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $26,650

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

FWD or AWD

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

27 City / 35 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 5

The Breakdown

Improved exterior styling

Efficient 2.5L I4 engine

Enhanced interior design

Plenty of available technology

Expanded driver-assist features

Not a fan of the CVT

Possibly add a larger engine

Add in a sports trim

Maybe a future EV powertrain

2021 Rogue Specs

Trims & Pricing

S - $25,650
SV - $27,340
SL - $32,000
Platinum (new) - $35,430

2021 Nissan Rogue Powertrain

2021 Nissan Rogue 2.5L I4 - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue 2.5L I4 - usa.nissannews.com

The Rogue crossover’s heart is Nissan’s new 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder. It pumps out the same 180HP at 6000 rpm and 181 lb-ft of torque at 3100 rpm in every trim. This power flows through a CVT transmission and into the front-wheels or optional $1400 AWD system. CVT transmissions continue to receive complaints about the odd noises and rubber band effect they have, but this updated transmission doesn’t do a lousy job. The paddle shifters give you the impression you’re driving a real automatic, and everything works well in most driving situations.

One of the nicer performance enhancements you’ll find is behind the cup holders. It’s an optional drive-mode button for all-wheel-drive that allows you to select between off-road, snow, auto, economy, and sport. Your selection determines throttle response and transmission shift points, among other things, and it’s fun to play with.

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

This tester left it in sport, which made the SUV feel more responsive. Downshifts are made more quickly, RPM’s are held longer and kept higher, and the engine makes better use of its power. Gas mileage suffers, of course, but for spirited driving, passing, and getting on freeways, this will be your friend. Plus, you have the convenience of using paddle shifters while in drive mode for a quick pass or in full manual mode. Overall, the car is more responsive when shifting with the paddle shifters, and a little bit of your inner Formula 1 racer will come out. Sometimes you feel sporty and sometimes you want to mosey, so this is an excellent option.

However, you won’t win any races. The Nissan Rogue is on the heavy side. At 180hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, it isn’t exactly going to pin you to your seat in acceleration, as evidenced by the perfect condition 8.2 second run to 60. You can feel its 3400 pounds being huffed and puffed as you accelerate, but it’s important to remember you’re in an SUV. The engine does get louder in full-throttle applications, but this 4-cylinder is pleasing to hear. It’s quiet, efficient, and doesn’t draw attention to itself in everyday driving.

2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com

Although we love the acceleration, a vehicle’s braking ability is just as important. The Rogue’s ventilated discs are 11.7 inches in the front and 11.5 inches in the rear. Stopping hard from 60-0 is extremely quick and drama free. Tests put the distance at 114 feet, and that’s what it feels like. To give you a comparison, the VW Atlas takes 139 feet to stop from 60mph, and Rogue competitors are in the 120 to 130 feet range. Nissan has done an excellent job with the brakes.

The 2020 Rogue steering felt disconnected from the road. So much so that you would have had more feel through a game controller steering wheel. In comparison, the 2021 Nissan Rogue’s steering feels properly weighted, connected to the wheels, and even gives you road feel. We applaud whatever Nissan did to the Rogue’s steering. It helps make this SUV more fun to drive.

Towing & Payload

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

Although the Rogue has a stiff chassis, it’s still limited to 1350 pounds towing, which is less than the 1500 – 3500 pounds of the RAV 4. If you wonder about this limit, think about the last time you ever towed anything and act accordingly. Most crossover owners never pull stuff, and that’s probably you too.

2021 Nissan Rogue Fuel Economy & MPG

The EPA estimates 27 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined, which are on the higher side of crossover SUVs in the same category. Our Platinum trim with all-wheel drive gets two mpg less, and that’s normal for AWD versions. While we didn’t drive long enough to test the gas mileage claims, other tests have shown between 28 and 30 mpg averages.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

Inside, the 2021 Rogue crossover is a bit smaller than the 2020 version, but you won’t miss that inch in head and legroom in the front. A 6-foot adult can sit in the front and another in the rear seat with legroom to spare. On the Platinum version, both front and rear seats are heated. A nice touch that’s expected on the top-of-the-line models. You’ll also enjoy the two-position recline of the rear seatbacks.

2021 Nissan Rogue Pull-Up Sunshades - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue Pull-Up Sunshades - usa.nissannews.com

An excellent addition is the rear window sunshades option on the SV and standard on the SL and Platinum. They roll down into the door like a window and are manually pulled up to connect at the top of the frame. Window shades are a welcome addition in this SUV segment.

2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com

Getting into those rear seats this year is helped by the doors opening at a nearly 90-degree angle. You’ll appreciate this if you’ve ever tried to get those random shaped boxes full of items from store and other things into the rear seats.

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

For larger items, you get 36.5 cu ft behind the rear bench cargo area. That’s a little smaller than the 2020 model, but the new design makes it more useable. If you want to add Nissan’s Divide and Hide cargo system, it’s a good option when you have more eyes looking into interiors these days. If you need more space, the beneficial 60/40 split rear seats fold flat and expands the cargo capacity to 74.1 cu ft, which is more space than the 69.8 cu ft of the RAV4.

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2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

We drove the Platinum trim Rogue with the quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats, which give the crossover a luxury feel. Front-seat occupants will appreciate the new integrated wireless charger and fully digital dashboard with a 10.8-inch high-resolution touch screen. The user-interface and graphics on the infotainment system is much better than 2020’s version, and there’s a minimal delay on swipes.

2021 Nissan Rogue Digital Dashboard - carsforsale.com
2021 Nissan Rogue Digital Dashboard - carsforsale.com

If digital gauge clusters are your thing, pick up the Platinum trim. They replace the standard gauges in the S, SV, and SL. Visually, they look very nice, rivaling competitors that cost much more. You’ll also receive the Nissan Door to Door Navigation with Premium Traffic and Bose Premium Audio System, including a dual-driver woofer. It’s all very reminiscent of the VW digital gauges, but definitely has a Nissan feel to it. Not worse or better, just different. The plastics and wood appliqués are of good quality and look like they belong together. It all contributes to a nice place to take a long trip, if that were on your schedule.

Entertainment & Technology

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

If you want the latest technology, the Nissan Rogue crossover will not disappoint you. The S and SL trim comes standard with an 8-inch color touchscreen display in the dash’s center, running the newest NissanConnect infotainment system. An option on the SL is the larger 9-inch high-definition screen, which is standard on the Platinum trim. The HD display is perfect, and the user interface is better than the 2020 Rogue. As mentioned, it has some minimal delay, but nothing that will be too noticeable. Compared to its Toyota competition, for instance, it looks and works better.

The previously mentioned 10.8-inch center console showcases the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on our Rogue Platinum crossover, which is standard on each Rogue trim. Wireless Apple CarPlay, standard on the Platinum, is optional on the SL, and you can have a Wi-Fi hotspot on every model except the S. Remember that it doesn’t work unless you have a data plan with it – of course.

Safety Features

2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com
2021 Nissan Rogue - nissanusa.com

Government-mandated driver-assistance technology comes standard on every Rogue, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a driver alertness monitor, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. Nissan’s updated ProPilot Assist is standard on SV, SL, and Platinum trims and combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to keep you safe on the road.

The Platinum trim had an enhanced ProPilot Assist version with Navi-Link. According to Nissan, it uses 3D navigation data to adjust the Rogue’s speed for things like tight highway curves and busy intersections. It also keeps the steering assist active on freeway exit ramps. Using it is sort of scary for the first time, but it does its job similar to driving a Tesla. The software/camera can, amazingly, also read street signs. In theory, it’ll keep you from getting tickets because it sees that the speed limit is 55. We’ll let you decide if that’s a feature or not. On the negative side, we found that it seemed to be delayed on slower surface streets in its turns and recognition. Overall, it seems a bit big brother-ish, but you’ll never have to tell a policeman you didn’t know the speed limit.

2021 Nissan Rogue Trims & Pricing

2021 NIssan Rogue S - carsforsale.com
2021 NIssan Rogue S - carsforsale.com

S – $25,650 (ADDITIONAL $1400 FOR AWD)

The Rogue S is a great new base to start with, offering standard features that are optional on other makes. These include Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and standard LED headlights and taillights. For the interior, you get the Rogue’s redesigned and very user-friendly dashboard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

2021 NIssan Rogue SV - carsforsale.com
2021 NIssan Rogue SV - carsforsale.com

SV – $27,340 (ADDITIONAL $1400 FOR AWD)

Moving up to the SV gets you larger 18-inch wheels that help the Rogue look more substantial. The best addition to this model is the ProPilot Assist Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist technology. And inside, you’ll love Nissan’s Around View 360-degree parking camera.

2021 NIssan Rogue SL - carsforsale.com
2021 NIssan Rogue SL - carsforsale.com

SL- $32,000 (ADDITIONAL $1400 FOR AWD)

We think that the Rogue SL is the best value and has the best look. Its 19-inch wheels will give you a smoother ride, and you still have all of the tech to move you down the highway safely. You’ll see the most significant improvements in the interior with leather seats, power driver and passenger seats, and memory functions for the driver seat and steering column. The panoramic roof will brighten up the interior and the tri-zone automatic climate control will keep everyone comfortable inside.

2021 NIssan Rogue Platinum - carsforsale.com
2021 NIssan Rogue Platinum - carsforsale.com

PLATINUM – $35,430 (ADDITIONAL $1400 FOR AWD)

The Rogue Platinum provides the most luxury and convenience. It comes with Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless charging, so you don’t have to worry about connections. New technology continues with ProPilot Assist with Navigation Link, a digital gauge cluster, a 10.8-inch color heads-up display, a larger 9.0-inch center display, and a lovely sounding Bose Audio system subwoofer. You can enjoy all of that while sitting in your soft and quilted leather front and rear seats.

Warranties

Nothing special here. Like other Nissan vehicles, the Rogue is covered by a 3-Year / 36,000-mile limited warranty and a 5-year / 60,000-mile limited warranty for powertrain components.

What we think

2021 Nissan Rogue - usa.nissannews.com

2021 Nissan Rogue – usa.nissannews.com |  Shop 2021 Nissan Rogue on Carsforsale.com

I love what Nissan has done with the car. The exterior looks handsome and purposeful in a Mercedes SUV kind of way. All the soft edges are gone, and it looks like it knows what it’s doing. Inside, especially with the Platinum trim, you can convince yourself that it’s not a mid-priced compact SUV. And as much as I would like a turbo, the relatively low-tech engine does a decent job with everything it’s asked to do. Although a more powerful engine would be nice, I would still buy it as it is today. It will make you drive happy.

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Steve Mitchell

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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