The all-new, completely redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue is here, and everyone from prospective buyers and car buffs to the automotive press is giving it a vigorous thumbs up. In fact, just about the only folks who aren’t too excited about this newest Rogue crossover are its competitors, and with good reason. This Rogue is a force to be reckoned with in the compact SUV category.
This latest Rogue redesign is part of Nissan’s larger strategy to revamp the entire Nissan lineup of cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Dubbed “Nissan Next,” this global corporate initiative is focused on infusing industry-leading innovation into vehicles like the all-new 2021 Rogue. The Rogue’s expansive list of advanced technological features clearly demonstrates that Nissan is succeeding.
Starting in the mid-$25,000 range, the Rogue is an affordable compact SUV loaded with all the next-generation driver-assist technology and infotainment features today’s buyers want. With a span of five different trims, buyers can zone in all the luxury they desire, as well as choose between front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Rogue’s freshly restyled exterior is edgy and modern and prominently features Nissan’s signature V-motion grille.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is the category standout in a sea of unimaginative, vanilla-flavored compact SUVs. It’s no wonder the Rogue is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle, and with this newest redesign, we expect it to dominate the small SUV category.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue sets the standard for performance, thanks to a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a generous 181 horsepower, plenty of oomph for brisk acceleration and responsive ride handling. The engine is mated with Nissan’s innovative Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters give drivers the option of manually controlling shifting, but with the CVT, it’s almost not necessary.
The Xtronic CVT is a dynamic transmission technology that continuously varies the transmission’s gear ratios versus a traditional transmission, which follows a set gear shifting pattern. This constant variability creates a smoother ride and better fuel economy. CVTs don’t actually have traditional gears; the system uses pulleys to transfer information between the engine and the wheels. CVTs are considered a third type of transmission, the other two being manual and automatic.
The Rogue is available with either a front-wheel drive or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive powertrain. The available selectable drive modes allow drivers to toggle through five different settings to dial in the ideal ride and handling characteristics for a variety of road conditions. The five modes - Sport Mode, Off-Road Mode, Snow Mode, Auto Mode, and Eco Mode - adjust transmission and throttle settings to optimize performance and handling.
The Rogue also features Nissan Intelligent Mobility, a series of driving technologies designed to contribute to better performance and higher levels of safety. These include Intelligent Trace Control, which applies braking to individual wheels during cornering to maximize turn efficiency, and Hill Start Assist, which will hold the brakes while you switch your foot to the accelerator, eliminating potentially dangerous rollback. These systems intuitively automate mundane everyday driving annoyances, making the driving experience more pleasant and, ultimately, safer.
Automotive journalists are quick to point out the massive gains in performance Nissan achieved with this newest Rogue redesign. Car and Driver note the Rogue’s “improved performance” and “more adept ride-and-handling,” while J.D. Power says it “feels more substantial…and the steering is dramatically improved.” Overall, feedback from journalists and reviewers is overwhelmingly positive. The Rogue is a sporty, responsive, and performance-oriented SUV for buyers who still love to drive.
Infotainment and connectivity are front-and-center on the 2021 Nissan Rogue. It’s here that Nissan’s technological advancements are on full display. All Rogue trims have at least an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a larger 9-inch touchscreen is available on upper-level trims, like the Platinum. The system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for easy smartphone integration.
The top-of-the-line Rogue Platinum comes equipped with the larger 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, as well as a massive 12-inch customizable digital dashboard and a head-up display. Door-to-door navigation is also standard and includes Waze integration for real-time traffic updates and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). A wireless charger and an upgraded Bose audio system round out the Platinum trim’s long list of standard tech.
NissanConnect, the app-based connectivity service, turns the smartphone into a remote key fob and control hub. The subscription-based service offers drivers the ability to remotely lock/unlock the vehicle, flash the lights, or sound the horn. Owners can also set boundary or speed limit alerts, which helps track teen drivers and keep them safe. Additionally, vehicle diagnostic data is easily accessible via the NissanConnect app.
In addition to app-based services, NissanConnect offers in-vehicle emergency assistance in two ways. First, via a single button located in the vehicle, drivers can easily initiate a call for emergency services. Second, if the airbags deploy, Automatic Collision Notification is triggered, and a call for help goes out automatically, dispatching emergency services to the vehicle’s location.
Nissan’s in-vehicle technology - and by extension its smartphone integration platform - aims to blend infotainment, connectivity, convenience, and safety to keep drivers more attentive when they’re behind the wheel and attain higher levels of safety and accident prevention. With all this technology and entertainment, it’s easy to forget that a vehicle’s primary job is to provide occupants with safe transportation. These systems keep safety at the forefront of every element of design.
Nissan wants drivers to think of driver-assist technology as a support system, not a replacement for attentive driving habits. It’s a good framework for explaining how these systems - called Safety Shield 360 and Nissan Intelligent Driving - work to mitigate potential hazards and keep occupants safe in a variety of conditions. Driver-assist technology at first seemed like a nice add-on, but today it is considered to be the most successful accident-avoidance tool, second only to driver alertness.
Every 2021 Rogue comes equipped with driver-assist technology, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, which monitors both the vehicle’s speed and the road ahead and alerts the driver if conditions require braking. The system can also automatically brake to avoid or minimize the severity of a collision. Rear Automatic Braking works similarly, helping drivers avoid hitting objects when backing up.
Blind Spot Warning monitors the dreaded blind spots on both sides of the vehicle and alerts the driver when a vehicle enters them. Lane Departure Warning sends an alert when it senses the vehicle is drifting out of its intended lane of travel and the turn signal is not engaged. The system can also send gentle steering nudges to help drivers correct the course.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert scans and alerts the driver when objects approach on either side of the vehicle while backing up. Also, High Beam Assist takes the tedious chore of switching between low and high-beam settings off the driver’s plate, automatically making the adjustment for them. The system helps drivers stay more focused on the task of driving instead of having to remember to make repetitive adjustments.
Additional Intelligent Driving systems like Driver Alertness sense your attention level via steering patterns and chime with a recommendation to take a break. Traffic Sign Recognition can read speed limit signs and remind drivers when it’s time to slow down. Embedded bumper radar systems use sonar to help drivers avoid stationary objects. The system beeps when it detects an object and increases the frequency of beeps as the vehicle gets closer.