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2021 Nissan Rogue Glides Effortlessly To The Front of the Crossover Pack

Nissan’s new generation of the top-selling Rogue has us rethinking the pecking order in this important vehicle segment.
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The two-row crossover segment in which the Nissan Rogue resides is the largest vehicle segment in America. For every automaker, this is a segment in which they must put forth their best effort. Nobody knows this more than Nissan, which does not have a robust truck business to prop up its American-market profits. Based on our test this week of a lower-trim 2021 Nissan Rogue SV, Nissan has done all that is practical to rejoin the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 lines on the sales podium for the foreseeable future. Here is our review packed with opinions for shoppers of a two-row crossover to consider.

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2021 Nissan Rogue – What Is It, How Big Is It?
The two-row, five-passenger 2021 Nissan Rogue is perfectly sized for its segment. With 105 cubic feet of passenger volume, it is slightly larger than the Toyota RAV4’s 99 cu ft. Its cargo volume is 31.6 cu ft behind the second row, and 74 when the seats are folded. The RAV4 offers 37.5 and 70 cu ft by comparison.

Most of the added space the Rogue has is in the second row. Subjectively, it felt the largest in this class to us. Two adults could sit very comfortably and three across would be fine for a quick trip. For the kids that will normally sit back there, space is way more than adequate.

2021 Nissan Rogue – What’s It Cost, What’s Its Warranty?
The Nissan Rogue line starts at about $27K in its base S trim and can rise to about $38K in its Platinum AWD full-whammy trim. Our Rogue SV FWD tester had only floor and cargo mats as an option, and it was priced at $28,820. All the prices we mention include the destination fee. The Rogue’s prices seem to mimic closely what the best vehicles in the segment are priced at.

The Rogue’s warranty is the standard, “minimum” 3-year/36K new car limited warranty, and 5-years/60K powertrain warranty. No maintenance is included. By contrast, the Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Kia lines offer a much longer 5/60 new car warranty and a 10/100 warranty on the powertrain for the original owner. Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Volkswagen all also offer included maintenance for a number of years.

Related Story: Choosing A Rental Car? Here's Why The Nissan Rogue Crossover Is The Perfect Pick

2021 Nissan Rogue SV – What Powers It?
Nissan uses a four-cylinder, non-turbo engine coupled to a constantly variable transmission in its Rogue. The vehicle is available with front or all-wheel drive. Our SV tester was front-wheel drive. There are other crossovers with a bit more standard power than the Rogue, but trust us, the small differences are meaningless. The Rogue’s powertrain feels as satisfying as the standard one offered in the RAV4, CX-5, or CR-V. Unlike some competitors, notably Toyota, Nissan has not shown off an up-powered trim, plug-in hybrid, or standard hybrid model for 2021 (yet.)

In our mixed testing, we observed mileage of 7.43 gallons consumed over 241.6 miles traveled, so 32.5 MPG. The vehicle’s average fuel economy display was “optimistic.” It showed us 35.8 MPG over that same span, and at times displayed highway mileage over 40 MPG. The EPA says the Rogue has an estimated Combined MPG of 30 MPG for our SV FWD trim, and that the trims with larger wheels and AWD earn a 28 MPG rating. There is nothing special about these ratings in a world where the Honda CR-V Hybrid earns a 39 MPG number and the RAV4 Prime a 94 MPGe rating.

2021 Nissan Rogue SV FWD– The Drive
This new Rogue is going to win a LOT of customers based on a test drive. In just a few miles, it becomes apparent that this vehicle is among the most satisfying to drive in its segment and price point. We’d rank it tied with the Mazda CX-5 and higher than the CR-V and RAV4 at this sub-$30K price.

The Rogue SV does everything right. The power and torque delivery is as smooth as silk, quiet, and feels very refined. The handling is going to win over some Mazda fans for sure. Our SV trim with its 60-series, 18-inch “normal” profile tires was smooth and comfortable over bumps and broken pavement. Nissan has nailed this new Rogue’s driving experience. We haven’t tested any crossover this size and price that is better on the road.

2021 Nissan Rogue Features To Note
The new Rogue has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but you need to plug the phone in to make it work. Wireless is all the rage now. Our Rogue SV had a compact spare tire, and under the cargo floor, there is ample space for a big stash of emergency gear.

We also noticed that the cargo cover is rubber on the bottom. That is a great bonus, and those who haul trash and wet gear will appreciate that attention to detail. Flip the included mat over and it is waterproof. No need to buy an aftermarket one.

We also loved the interior’s use of space. There was a lot of room for our right knee. Too many automakers crowd that spot. The cupholders and center console are also as good as it gets. Ergonomics is a big plus in this new Rogue.
The infotainment system is easy to use, works by touch, by voice, or by steering wheel controls, and the HVAC controls are separate from the screen. This is the best setup, and we think every automaker should do it this way. Our SV trim didn’t have heated seats or a heated steering wheel. Adding them seemed to require a $2K options package of stuff we would prefer not to have, like a ginormous glass moonroof. Perhaps Nissan will sneak in a “winter” package for the 70% of Americans who drive in winter conditions?

Nissan's Pro Pilot driver-assist system in the Rogue SV works very well to help center the vehicle in the lane on the highway. We also loved that there are no audible chirps if you stray over a line. Instead, there is a slight vibration one feels. All-in-all, Nissan does a fantastic job of eliminating the driver-assist annoyances and false alarms that spoil too many vehicles we test.

2021 Nissan Rogue SV – Conclusion
The all-new Nissan Rogue glides effortlessly back onto the podium with the top sellers in this class. More importantly from our point of view is that it will also give the reviewer’s favorite, the Mazda CX-5 a run for its money in terms of refinement level and driving satisfaction. Many will appreciate the added space and the new look of the Rogue. We’d give the new 2021 Nissan Rogue two thumbs up. Watch for it to again be a top-seller based on the attention to detail and smart design decisions Nissan has made.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin


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Comments

Happy to see Nissan fielding a good vehicle. The Rogue has grown into its role as capable SUV with sensible styling that lends itself to practical use as opposed to some maniacal notion of styling that has possessed some companies (Toyota cough, cough). It also bodes well for the upcoming Ariya as it will be a critical introduction in the EV space. It looks like the odds are in Nissan's favor that it will be a good one too.