2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum Review

 


Intro

The Nissan Rogue has long been the company’s best-selling model. It enjoys a great level of success in the Canadian market, and competes well against the likes of Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape. Customers enjoy the Rogue’s practicality and attractive pricing. More than 40,000 units were sold in the year 2019, making it the 4th best selling SUV that year. 

Despite the strong sales figure, the second generation Nissan Rogue is starting to show its age. The compact SUV market is incredibly competitive, and Nissan has decided to completely redesign the Rogue for 2021. The new Rogue features a new platform, a new powertrain, more safety technologies, better connectivity, and distinctive styling. 

Thanks to Nissan Canada, I was loaned the 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum for one week to find out how it competes with the best in its class. Below is my unbiased review.
Exterior

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a much better looking vehicle than the outgoing model in my opinion. The redesigned exterior is athletic and modern. At the front, the new V-motion grille is accompanied by multi-level LED headlights and U-shape bodyside highlights. The light signature is bold, contemporary, and easily recognizable at night. To increase aerodynamic efficiency, the front fascia also features an active grille shutter, specially designed A-pillars, underbody covers, as well as air curtains to reduce air turbulence around the front tires. 

From the side, the new Rogue is 1.5” shorter and 0.2” lower than the previous generation. This provides the car with a sportier stance, and a slightly more rugged side profile. Other features like the floating roof, chrome door panel inserts, and large 19” alloy wheels give the 2021 Rogue a significantly more premium exterior.

From the back, chiseled character lines and sharp LED tail lights make the car look muscular and smart. The large metallic looking skid plate adds to the ruggedness of the rear profile. Our Platinum trim tester is equipped with the optional Motion Activated Liftgate. It is a handy feature for loading the trunk when your hands are full.











Interior

Just like the exterior, the interior of the new Rogue is a significant upgrade from the previous generation. The deck design is cleaner, more modern, and better appointed. The attention to details is much appreciated. These include the wood inlays, brushed metal looking center console, and thin chrome highlights. Of course, being a mass-produced model, some hard plastic surfaces are to be expected. However, they are nicely tucked away from your hands, and textured to look more expensive. The square-off electronic shifter design eliminates the need for mechanical components under the shifter, allowing extra storage space under the floating center console. 

The front Zero Gravity seats are plush and comfortable. Synthetic leatherette-appointed seats are available for the SV trim with Premium Package, while quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats are standard for the Platinum grade. Regardless of trims, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and heated outside mirrors are standard. 

In the rear, the seats are nicely padded and provide excellent lumbar supports. The legroom is decent, and the generous headroom should accommodate taller passengers without issue. The rear doors are wide, and open 85 degrees. This makes getting a child seat in or out much easier.

Available features like dedicated rear climate control, dual-panel panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and pull-up privacy shades are usually found in luxury SUVs instead of a mass-produced vehicle.













Infotainment

The infotainment system of the 2021 Rogue consists of a floating 8” standard (9” optional) touch screen, a 7” standard (12.3” optional) digital gauge cluster, and an optional 10.8” head-up display. The graphics are sharp and modern, and the manual layout is simple and intuitive. I appreciate the presence of physical volume and tuner knobs, as well as buttons for playback functions. 

The 12.3” digital gauge cluster that comes with our tester is crisp and stylish. I do find the graphics a little too busy, and the display lacks customizable options. The 10.8” head-up display is one of the largest in the segment. It projects useful driving information right onto the windshield, and allows the drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times. 

Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard through the provided USB ports. Wireless charging and wireless Apple Carplay are optional. The new Rogue provides passengers with both USB Type-C and Type-A charging ports.



Safety and Driver Assistance

All grades of the 2021 Rogue comes standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite. It includes a comprehensive list of features like:
  • Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear cross Traffic Alert
  • Lane Departure warning
  • High Beam Assist
  • Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking
  • Driver Alertness Technology
  • Rear Door Alert
The following safety features are optional:
  • Blind Spot Intervention
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • Around View 360-degree parking camera
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is not yet tested by NHTSA and IIHS at the time of writing.



Driving

Under the hood of every new Rogue is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that produces 181hp of power and 181 lb.ft. of torque. That is 11hp and 6 lb.ft more than the older model. 0-100km acceleration happens in roughly 9 seconds. It is not the fastest in the segment, but feels move lively compared to the previous generation. 

The engine is mated to a Continuously Variable automatic Transmission (CVT). While I am not a big fan of the CVT, the one in the new Rogue does a decent job of simulating gear changes. The quieter cabin also filters out most of the unpleasant whining noise that is associated with CVTs. The Rogue is offered as a standard front wheel drive vehicle, but AWD options are available. 

Five drive modes are available with AWD models: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The drive mode is selected through a dial mounted on the center console. The intelligent AWD system uses a new electro-hydraulic controlled clutch to send torque to the rear wheels quickly and accurately. It also works in conjunction with the new Vehicle Motion Control system to provide four-wheel individual control. The added control enhances line traceability through corners. 

On the road, the new Rogue handles much better than its predecessor. The new suspension design features a rigid mount and a new multi-link rear. It is on the stiffer side for a family SUV, but also provides much better body control in corners. The Rogue may not be as lively as say the Mazda CX-5, but it feels more agile than the Toyota RAV4. 

The FWD model of the new Rogue is rated at 8.9L/100km city, 7.0L/100km highway, and 8.1L/100km combined. The AWD model is rated at 9.2/7.2/8.3 (city/hwy/combined). Our one week city test drive observes a fuel economy rating of 10.2L/100km. 

The new Rogue is certainly more fun to drive. However, I feel like more engine options could sway potential buyers from other competitors. A higher output engine or a hybrid system would further justify the increased prices for higher trim models. 





Cargo Space & Storage

The new Nissan Rogue remains a very practical SUV. There is 1028L of cargo space behind the 2nd row seats. With the 60/40 2nd row seats folded, the cargo space is increased to 2064L. The redesigned Divide-n-Hide system allows additional configurations of the trunk space. Under the trunk floor is a physical spare tire and tools required for a tire change. 

In cabin storage options are above average. Both the glove compartment and the center console storage bin are on the larger side. The floating center console design allows additional storage underneath, but the side door pockets can only accommodate one water bottle each. Rear passengers also enjoy cup holders in the folding armrest and storage pouches behind the front seat backs.










Verdict
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a significant upgrade from the previous generation. While the updated drivetrain and improved handling of the car are appreciated by drivers like me, majority of the potential buyers will be swayed by the premium interior and handsome exterior. The Rogue’s greatest strength though, as always, lies in the tremendous value proposition of its lower trim models. The base S trim comes with the same updated engine, and a full suite of safety features at $28,498 for the FWD version. That is a bargain compared to some of its competitors. Higher trim models like our Platinum tester can get quite expensive, but the new Rogue is luxurious enough to justify the higher prices. 

Test Vehicle
2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum
MSRP
$40,583 CAD as tested
Color
Two-Tone Champagne Silver

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