The interior is a delight; it’s simple and modern with clean lines and quality materials.
The Nissan Rogue has been nipping at the heels of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V since its inception. The first generation was released in Canada in late 2007 as a 2008 model, presenting itself as a refreshing alternative with great value. Unfortunately, t never had the same level of composure or inspired the same level of confidence on the road as its alternatives. Our experience with recent Nissan models gave us confidence in the latest model – here’s the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD.
The current Rogue comes with commanding exterior design. The signature V-motion grille is even bolder than before, complementing futuristic multi-level LED headlights. The lights are implemented into the grille openings for an aggressive fascia. The angular lines of the headlights are extended into the fenders to create muscular shoulder lines. The thin plastic fender moldings are a good balance between ruggedness and modern asthetics. Overall the Rogue looks like a scaled down Pathfinder, retaining the rugged looks with a smaller and more agile footprint.
The interior is a delight; it’s simple and modern with clean lines and quality materials. It’s spacious enough to comfortably accommodate five passengers with ample leg and shoulder room. Our tester is the SV AWD model with the Premium Package, which adds features such as manual rear sunshades, leatherette seating and heated rear seats. This package gives the Rogue a more upscale interior without needing to go up to the Platinum trim.
Practicality is a strength of the Rogue by nature. There is ample cargo space for daily duties, however the cargo area is visually smaller with a higher load floor than its competition. The Rogue was designed with a modern interior; however most of the tech is reserved for the Platinum. The SV model still gets a decent amount as expected in this segment; NissanConnect infotainment is controlled via an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Voice recognition with hands free text messaging and Bluetooth is equipped as well, allowing for the least intrusive experience possible. It’s interesting to see Nissan nickel and dime us on a wireless charging pad and rear USB ports as standalone options rather than being included on the SV trim or even the Premium Package. A leather wrapped steering wheel and a smart looking electronic shifter gives the finishing touches to the upscale interior of the Rogue.
Safety features are in abundance as well in the Rogue. ProPILOT Assist is the driver assistance suite equipped here, adding intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning and blind spot intervention. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 is another slew of tech that keeps drivers alert of surroundings, with blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and pedestrian detection. The Intelligent Around View Monitor is my favourite, making parking in narrow spots a breeze. The Rogue manages to make life easy and safe.
The driving dynamics of the Rogue can also be described as easy, smooth and safe. The steering is nicely weighted for effortless driving with sufficient feel and feedback to inspire confidence. The Rogue handes beautifully with confidence and poise, feeling sufficiently nimble in urban settings and very stable at highway speeds. Unlike Nissans of the past, the steering does feel connected to the road. The overall dynamics were very enjoyable, and not for one moment does it feel like something tall and wobbly.
With the all-wheel-drive capabilities, the Rogue is certain to inspire even more confidence in snowy or adverse conditions. A bonus is the ability to choose between snow, off road, sport, eco and auto modes, adjusting the all-wheel-drive system, CVT tuning, and throttle. This will give drivers the flexibility of ultimate grip or more balanced performance. The all-wheel-drive system is a slip-and-grip setup that stays in front-drive mode unless slip is detected.
The powertrain is a simple tried and true inline four-cylinder engine that’s naturally aspirated and direct injected with 2.5 liters of displacement. Output is 181 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 181 lb-ft. of torque at 3,600RPM. These torque figures are impressive for a naturally aspirated unit of its kind. Even though the powerband is not as wide as a turbocharged engine, the Xtronic CVT system does wonders in keeping the car running in the sweet spot all the time.
Nissan’s continuously variable transmission is the only one which makes me forget I am driving a CVT. It is so perfectly tuned that it often feels like a regular conventional automatic gearbox. Paddle shifters are available to shift through mimicked gear ratios, but as always, they’re fairly pointless and the typical Rogue buyer will never touch them.
This drivetrain setup does result in impressive fuel economy figures. The Rogue is rated at 9.2L/100km city and 7.2L/100km highway for a combined 8.3L/100km. We managed an as-advertised 8.4L/100km fuel consumption average during our week of testing. This isn’t quite as frugal as a RAV4 Hybrid, but more than acceptable for a mainstream compact crossover. Of course, regular 87-octane fuel is perfectly acceptable for the Rogue.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD with Premium Package stickers for $37,298 as-tested, including $2,200 for the aforementioned package. The Rogue starts at $28,998 for the base front-driver, but the SV AWD really is the sweet spot for most Canadians. It has all of the creature comforts and practicality without any added fluff. Pricing is on par with the RAV4, which starts at $28,590 and is similarly equipped for $37,345. The Rogue is the better driving package and is more aesthetically pleasing.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. The second-generation Rogue was adequate on paper but hard to recommend after driving it. However, the new model is a ground-up redesign and a contender for the top spot in the segment. With top-notch interior quality, handsome looks and superb dynamics, it really is the one to have.