2021 Nissan Rogue: Dominant and Generous Image for a Compactly Built SUV

2021 Nissan Rogue 29 photos
Photo: Nissan
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Did they expect such a success when they introduced the first generation of the Nissan Rogue? Hard to believe. Why did they call it the “Rogue”, anyway? Probably, they were trying to bring a suggestion of freedom and noncompliance in the picture, otherwise the concept of this compact SUV is anything but rogue. And, in the form of the third generation, it has evolved promisingly.
Marketing artifice: the dimensions of many model series keep growing from one generation to the next. In theory, that’s the best excuse for asking the customer to pay more for the new and bigger car (new cars don’t come cheaper than the ond ones, do they?). However, Nissan has chosen to stick to the size calibration of the first generation while improving considerably everything.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Photo: Nissan
The 2008 Nissan Rogue/project S35 had a length of 182.9 in (4.645 m) and the length of the 2021 Nissan Rogue/T33 project measures 183 in (4.648 m). Now comes the stunning part: the new Rogue relies on an incisive and self-confident image, leaving completely behind the cuteness of the rather feminine-kind of compact crossover it used to be. It’s impossible to miss that message.

Interior and trunk

The interior design boasts some robust lines, taking further the idea of the exterior style. Depending on the trim level, it may offer the sturdy-functional kind of ambiance typical for a serious SUV or it may impress with a distinctive premium note in the case of the SL and Platinum versions. The cabin is roomy and the large windows let in plenty of natural light.

Even if the passengers space is not bigger than what the previous generation offered, the perception is different in a positive way.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Photo: Nissan
The trunk is easily accesible and the asymetrically divided rear bench favors a practical use of the available cargo volume. In standard configuration, the trunk is slightly smaller than that of the predecessor model (37 cu ft vs 39 cu ft).


The Japanese brand offers the so-called Nissan Safety Shield 360 across its entire range. These terms refer to a comprehensive collection of advanced devices and functions also featured by the 2021 Nissan Rogue, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking. The Intelligent Cruise Control is proposed as part of the optional ProPILOT Assist system.

Another first for the Rogue: the 10.8 inches head-up display, visible above a 12.3 inches digital instruments cluster. The multimedia touchscreen has a diagonal of 9.0 inches and wireless connectivity is available.
Rear seat comfort features include reclining NASA-inspired Zero Gravity low-fatigue spinal support seating. Also available: class-exclusive Tri-Zone Climate Control, meaning the rear passengers can adjust the temperature for their own zone separately. Rear doors may be optionally equipped with pull-up sunshades.

Power unit

The 11 hp increase in power over the previous generation is welcome, as is the higher value for maximum torque: 181 lb-ft (6 lb-ft more). There is nothing new about the engine displacement and configuration: DOHC, 4 cylinders, 2.5 liters. Feeding is ensured via the Nissan’s appreciated DIG (Direct Injection Gasoline) and electromagnetic Valve Timing Control (e-VTC). A 3-cylinder turbo engine of 1.5 liters might join the offer this fall, yet its basic figures are not really appealing. However, if you remember this: in 2014, Nismo managed to squeeze some 400 hp and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) out of an experimental DIG-T R 1.5-liter 3-cylinder mill weighing only some 88 lbs. (40 kg). Funny enough?


We are not at all enthusiastic about the CVT transmission, which is OK in terms of comfort, but doesn’t fully exploit the potential of the engine (at least, that’s what we felt in the case of the former generation). Many competitors have more crispy automatic transmissions with at least 6 gears. We can understand the CVT is a convenient and quite cheap technical solution, yet some of the customers out there might be eager to pay the price for something better.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Photo: Nissan
The expected lack of vigor of the CVT may also penalize the efficiency of the otherwise remarkable Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which uses an advanced electro-hydraulically controlled clutch to govern the front/rear torque distribution in a very responsive manner. Well, after torque finally arrives via that CVT box. Proof that the 2021 Nissan Rogue is a competent SUV, five drive modes are available for the All-Wheel Drive versions: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco and Sport. The driver can select them through a big round knob mounted on the center console, between the seats.


Everything should be outstanding regarding this chapter. Both axles have independent suspension and the fine roadholding of all the former generations gave us a hint about the dynamic behavior of the 2021 Nissan Rogue. A pleasant note of comfort is to be expected in a coherent stability context. Fast driving (not sporty) should be enjoyable also thanks to the new Electric Power Steering with a short gear ratio, helping minimize steering corrections.

What to pay for

The 2021 Nissan Rogue will be offered in the already known S, SV and SL trim levels. Making life easier for the luxury-oriented customers, a new top trim called Platinum was added. It features quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed upholstery, the 12.3 inches digital instruments cluster, head-up display, heated rear seats, ambient lighting, wireless charging pad, ProPILOT cruise-control with Navi-link, Bose Audio System and door-to-door navigation. The base price of the 2021 Nissan Rogue is $25,750 – that’s convenient for a modern compact SUV with a rather generous standard equipment.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Photo: Nissan
They ask for the next three trim levels $27.440, $32.100, and $35.530, respectively. Well, it is easy to notice the SL and Platinum are expensive. A Rogue SV with some carefully chosen options looks like the best idea. Anyway, we are talking about the front-wheel-drive versions here. To get the all-wheel-drive, you have to spend $1,400 more. We think it is a fair price for the Nissan Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, as long as you want a really capable SUV, not just a SUV-looking family car for exclusive tarmac use, within some city limits in a winterless region.


Nissan has done it the smart way: while many of its competitors adopted a sporty-advanced style for their compact SUVs, the Rogue steered toward the off-road origins of the class with a certain high-tech note added.

Hard to believe that someone who sympathizes with some rather urban SUVs, like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson or the VW Tiguan, would be attracted to the hard-metal style of the 2021 Rogue. The Toyota RAV4 and the (somewhat smaller) Jeep Compass could be some pertinent temptations.
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