Class: Compact Crossover
Miles Driven: 244
Fuel Used: 9.3 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 26.2 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 45% city, 55% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 25/32/28 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gasoline
Base price: $36,830 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test car: External ground lighting ($350), two-tone paint ($350), illuminated kick plates ($400), interior accent lighting ($350), frameless rearview mirror with universal remote ($310)
Price as tested: $39,685
The great: Outstanding passenger space/comfort and cargo versatility; broad range of available comfort and driver-assist features
The good: New-for-2021 Platinum trim level delivers a notably ritzier interior and several desirable features; pleasant driving character
The not so good: So-so acceleration; only one powertrain is available
To you or me, the 2021 Nissan Rogue might look like a compact SUV. To Nissan, it looks like the fountain of youth.
Having wrung seven model years—which begin to feel like “dog years” the more they build up—from its second-generation Rogue, Nissan certainly was ready to rejuvenate its top seller in the American market. That it has with the obligatory fresh styling, of course, but also some different dimensions, enhanced features, the addition of a premium trim level, and a pinch more power. Add it all up and it comes out to another Consumer Guide “Best Buy” selection in its class.
Newly available features are a wireless smartphone charger, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, full-color 10.8-inch head-up display, tri-zone climate control, and an updated ProPILOT Assist light-autonomy system with improved radar and camera technology and available “Navi-link” capability. All of this was built into the Rogue Platinum—the new deluxe-trim model—that CG editors got to sample. With all-wheel drive (a $1400 boost over front-wheel drive) and delivery, it had a starting price of $37,925; a quintet of individual options spurred the total to $39,685.
Platinums hold pride of place in the Rogue hierarchy by virtue of having the Navi-link ProPILOT Assist, digital gauge cluster, head-up display, and wireless charging pad standard to go along with quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated rear seats, interior accent lighting, Bose premium audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay functionality, 9-inch touchscreen for the NissanConnect infotainment system, navigation with premium traffic monitoring, traffic-sign recognition, side sonar object detection, and a front center seat-mounted airbag. All models come equipped with the Nissan Safety Shield 360 active-safety suite: automatic high-beam headlights, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and rear automatic braking.
Every Rogue also once again comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine is newly rated at 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque—11 horsepower and 6 lb-ft more than it made in the 2020 model. It’s a no-nonsense powerteam without any glaring flaws but also minus much, um, personality. It gets around respectably once it finds its footing (peak torque is reached at 3600 rpm), and it does so perhaps a little more quietly than you might expect from a 4-cylinder engine. “Sport”—one of five drive-mode selections available in AWD jobs—puts a pinch more pink in the Rogue’s cheeks by letting the engine rev a little higher before moving on to another of the CVTs infinite ratios. There’s no CVT we can think of that’s as satisfying as even a just-pretty-good stepped-gear automatic is to be around, but the Rogue’s isn’t as prone to the droning so common to the breed, and there are steering-wheel paddle shifters that allow drivers to move things along at their own pace.
The EPA estimates that an AWD Rogue should deliver 25-mpg fuel economy in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. This reviewer was close to the combined number, chalking up 27.3 mpg from a run of 110.9 miles that included 42 percent city-style driving.
With a multilink rear suspension, the Rogue rides well, even on the Platinum’s 19-inch wheel/tire package. Steering may be a little light on feedback but it is responsive enough to make the little truck easy to maneuver.
Inside, Nissan has, you might say, rearranged the furniture. In a vehicle that’s 1.5 inches shorter overall than its immediate predecessor, cargo capacity behind the rear 60/40-split seats has been reduced by 19.6 percent, to 31.6 cubic feet (though 36.5 becomes available with the SL and Platinum’s “Divide-N-Hide” movable cargo floor in the lowered position). However, volume with those seats folded expands by 5.9 percent—to 74.1 cubic feet.
When the emphasis is on carrying people, there’s excellent small-vehicle head- and legroom. Even long-legged passengers will fit comfortably. Doors open wide for easy entry and exit, and sightlines are very good nearly anywhere a driver would need to look. Passengers in both rows settle comfortably on Nissan’s patented Zero Gravity seats. Personal-item storage is well served by a good-sized center-console bin with “butterfly” doors, a commodious glove box (that does open low around a passenger’s knees), front- and rear-door pockets each large enough to hold a 32-ounce bottle, a purse-shelf area underneath the center console, and pouches on the backs of the front seats.
Convenient controls add to the positive experience. The digital gauge display allows the driver to choose clear and legible information readouts, and the helpful head-up display is easy to read without diverting attention from the road. There’s no great challenge to finding and saving radio presets or working the climate system. (Both have the kind of surface dials that we prefer.) Our First Spin report on the new Rogue deemed its new “slider-lever” shifter to be “unconventional” with a forward push forward for Reverse, a backward pull for Drive, and a button atop the lever to activate Park. All things considered, though, it still presents itself as more of a familiar shift lever than some of the devices that are engaging transmissions these days, and it’s easy to get comfortable with. The improvements to ProPILOT Assist are focused on delivering smoother automatic braking and sharper steering help. Navi-link ties ProPILOT in with the navigation system to slow the vehicle as it “sees” impending curves, junctions, and highway exits.
When cargo hauling is at the top of the agenda, the Rogue is up to the job with room and flexibility. Divide-N-Hide panels accommodate multiple configurations. Release levers in the cargo-bay sidewalls make it easy to retract the 60/40-split rear seat backs from the rear of the vehicle. The seats fold flush with the cargo floor for easily expanded cargo loading.
The old Rogue certainly may have been feeling its age. Fortunately for Nissan—and its customers—the new one can now start showing its age.
2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)
2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum
2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum