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Nissan has redesigned the Rogue for 2021, basing it on a new platform and upgrading every single aspect of this popular SUV. It retains a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and gets expanded connectivity and a rich complement of advanced safety features.
This marks the Rogue’s first redesign since the 2014 model year. The new Rogue is essentially the same size as the outgoing model, but the new shape makes it appear more solid.
The familiar S, SV, and SL trim levels are joined by a new high-end Platinum trim that layers in upscale touches, such as quilted leather seats, head-up display, heated rear seats, expanded advanced driver assist and safety features, and upgraded infotainment system.
We will buy one to test when it goes on sale in the fall. Until then, this is what we know so far.
The Rogue looks quite evolutionary, with a similar profile as before. The front is evocative of other recent Nissan models and dressed up with LED headlights and dramatic corner shapes that remind of an angry robot.
There is a “floating roof” design, as seen on the Maxima and Murano, that uses trim elements to visually distinguish the horizontal roof from the body sides. This effect is more dramatic on Rogues finished with an offset-colored roof, mirroring a trend seen on many other recent models, including the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Kia Seltos, and Toyota RAV4.
The new sheetmetal is among the efforts to reduce wind noise and bolster fuel economy. The improved aerodynamics can be seen in tire deflectors, active grille shutters, and underbody covers. Further efforts to quiet the cabin include increased suspension isolation, stiffer body, and front acoustic glass.
The changes to the platform and suspension are intriguing. Nissan says that its engineers paid significant attention to improving the ride and handling. If the new Sentra is anything to judge by, that bodes well for the Rogue. We look forward to evaluating the new model’s dynamics.
Access to the front and second row is said to have improved with wider-opening doors. The cabin has a contemporary appearance, and it looks truly upscale in the top Platinum trim, which adds a 12.3-inch LED instrument panel, quilted leather upholstery, ambient lighting, and a wireless phone charging pad.
The infotainment touch screen looks like an iPad emerging from the center dashboard. This 9-inch entertainment hub includes standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Siri Eyes Free, Google Assistant, and SiriusXM radio. Wireless CarPlay, WiFi hotspot, and NissanConnect services with Amazon Alexa are available.
The use of an electronic shifter opens up a sizable storage space underneath the center console. Storage is said to have improved, with larger bottle holders on the doors and a “butterfly” opening armrest console.
The driver’s seat has eight-way adjustability, with more lumbar support range and greater travel for the seat base, fore and aft.
Nissan says that second-row seat comfort is aided by increased knee room and headroom, as well as tri-zone heating and cooling to allow separate settings for the driver, front passenger, and back seat. The rear doors have sun shades available—a feature associated with luxury vehicles that can be welcomed by younger passengers. Unlike its predecessor, which offered a third row until 2018, the redesign won’t offer an optional third-row seat.
The cargo section again has a “Divide-N-Hide” function, where the firm floor cover can be mounted vertically to split the area and create a wall to prevent items from tumbling about. There is also a nook for stowing a gallon milk jug to avoid spills. Access is said to have improved with a wider, taller opening. A motion-activated liftgate is available.
What Drives It
Though some competition offers a turbo option, the 2021 Rogue comes with a single engine: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Numerous improvements bring an 11 hp increase, to 181 hp total, along with a slight bump in torque and fuel efficiency. This engine is again paired with a continuously variable transmission.
The driver has five modes to select from on all-wheel-drive models, including Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport, to tailor the powertrain and AWD system to road conditions and fine-tune the car’s responses.
Nissan says that the new Rogue will show a 1 to 2 mpg improvement, depending on the trim and configuration. The company expects most AWD models to be rated at 28 mpg combined by the EPA, with 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The last Rogue was rated 27 mpg combined by EPA, and returned 24 mpg overall in our tests, a figure that now trails the segment leaders.
Safety & Driver Assist Systems
The Rogue boasts a generous roster of standard advanced safety and driver assist systems that is hard to match in the segment. The so-called Nissan Safety Shield 360 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. It also includes driver monitoring (based on steering wheel input) and a rear-seat reminder system to prevent leaving a small child or pet in a parked car. The back seat belts have pretensioners and load limiters, adding injury prevention hardware akin to what is used to protect the front-seat passengers. Nissan claims this is a segment first.
The upgraded ProPilot Assist adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot intervention, and traffic sign recognition. ProPilot Assist with Navi-link extends the capabilities by proactively reducing speed for upcoming freeway curves or junctions. It can also help the driver slow for freeway exits. ACC is enhanced by extending hold time from 3 seconds to 30 seconds, allowing the car to pause for longer and automatically resume driving in stop-and-go traffic. It can also use sign recognition to adjust speed.
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