The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport is basically a three-quarter version of the hot-selling Nissan Rogue and delivers the same visual punch and robust feature set as its larger counterpart — but for less money and with a smaller footprint. While the regular Rogue is a compact, the Rogue Sport is classified as a subcompact crossover utility vehicle and competes with others such as the Honda HR-V and the Toyota CH-R. Powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine, the Rogue Sport isn’t terribly quick, but it does handle nicely, and its fuel economy is decent.
While it gets a very mild update for 2020, the Rogue Sport is still a smaller version of the regular Rogue that’s been on sale since the 2014 model year, so it’s starting to feel a little long in the tooth. But, at the end of the day, the Rogue Sport is a competent subcompact CUV, with average performance within its segment and a compelling array of available safety, driver-assist and connectivity technologies. In other words, it checks all the boxes Nissan believes will be important to drivers over the next several years.
What’s New for 2020?
The Rogue Sport receives a mid-life-cycle refresh for 2020. Styling changes consist of a new bumper, hood and grille, aggressive exterior lighting with LED daytime running lights, new 19-in wheels for upper trims and two new colors: Nitro Lime Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic. All 2020 Rogue Sports now come with Nissan’s suite of active safety features, which the company refers to as the Safety Shield 360. See the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport models for sale near you
What We Like
- Good value
- Easy to maneuver
- Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Standard active safety features
- Better-than-expected handling
What We Don’t
- Unhurried acceleration
- Continuously variable transmission
- Middle-of-the-pack fuel economy
- Small back seat
- Design still feels a little dated
Nissan isn’t alone in sacrificing acceleration for fuel economy — that just may be the most common trait among today’s crop of small CUVs. Small-displacement 4-cylinder engines hitched to CVTs or automatic transmissions with more than six forward gears are becoming commonplace throughout this competitive segment.
In the case of the Rogue Sport, power comes courtesy of a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a CVT. Don’t expect neck-snapping acceleration. Nissan has gone all-in on CVTs. And, truth be told, it probably does CVTs better than any other carmaker. No matter — we still find them somewhat annoying and tire of the constant thrashing and engine roar as the CVT rushes to catch up to throttle input.
The benefit of the 4-cylinder/CVT partnership is decent mileage. It’s not segment-leading, but it’s decent. The government rates front-wheel-drive versions at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. You can add all-wheel drive to any Rogue Sport for $1,350. Doing so will drop the estimated mileage to 24 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport is offered in three trim levels: S, SV and SL.
The S ($24,335 FWD; $25,685 AWD) comes right out of the box with 16-in steel wheels, easy-fill tire alert, outboard power mirrors, cruise control, cloth seats, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, hands-free texting, a rearview camera and a 4-speaker audio system with satellite-radio capability and a 7-in display hosting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Standard driver-assist features include the Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety tech, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection and a rear door alert system that reminds the driver to check the rear seat for precious cargo before leaving the car.
The SV ($25,845 FWD; $27,195 AWD) adds 17-in aluminum-alloy wheels, roof rails, auto on/off headlights, outboard mirror-mounted turn indicators, a 6-way power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button ignition and two additional audio speakers. Optional packages include the All Weather package that brings heated front seats, heated side mirrors, a heated steering wheel and remote start with Intelligent Climate Control. The SV Technology package adds the contents of the All Weather package plus navigation, an Intelligent Around View Monitor and ProPilot Assist, which comes with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and an electronic parking brake.
The SL ($29,545 FWD; $30,895 AWD) adds 19-in aluminum-alloy wheels, leather seating and a Bose audio system to the SV grade’s standard and optional equipment. Options for the SL include a power moonroof, LED headlights and an auto-dimming rearview mirror that can be programmed to open your garage door.
Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of active safety tech now comes standard on the Rogue Sport. This means that every 2020 model now offers automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, and automatic high beams. ProPilot Assist adds full-speed radar cruise control and lane-keeping assist, which work together to pilot the vehicle over short distances on the highway.
Additionally, the Rogue comes with all of the safety tech you’d expect in a modern vehicle, such as a backup camera, traction and stability control and a number of airbags.
While the Rogue Sport hasn’t been tested, the larger Rogue on which its based receives a Top Safety Pick designation for its crash test performance. Expect the Rogue Sport to offer similar performance in a crash.
Behind the Wheel
Autotrader has had the chance to drive the Rogue Sport on country roads, city streets and freeways. Because it targets urban and suburban drivers, it shines when slogging its way through crowded city streets. Here, its higher seating position, maneuverability and comfortable interior minimize the stress of stop-and-go traffic. Its powertrain is better engineered for short sprints between traffic lights than it is for freeway on-ramps or passing maneuvers on a two-lane road.
Having been given the chance to pilot a Rogue Sport around the track at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, we can tell you that it handles speed better than you might expect. In turns, it’s relatively stable for a CUV.
No one will mistake the Rogue’s cabin for that of a luxury car, but the material quality and refinement are good. While it’s about a foot shorter than the regular Rogue, cargo space is still decent, with around 23 cu. ft. of space behind the second row, and 61 cu. ft. with the second row folded.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Honda HR-V — As the vehicle that Nissan seems to have benchmarked the Rogue Sport against, the HR-V posts marginally better fuel-economy numbers than the Rogue Sport. Expect to find a nicer, more refined interior in the HR-V than in the Rogue Sport, too.
2020 Hyundai Kona — As a newcomer to this burgeoning segment, the Kona offers a nice interior, good cabin tech and lots of usable space. AWD and a turbocharged engine are optional. Paired with a dual-clutch transmission, the turbocharged Kona is surprisingly fun to drive. It also comes with Hyundai‘s excellent warranty.
2020 Toyota C-HR — The C-HR’s design is a little polarizing, but in most other respects, it’s very similar to the Rogue Sport. The C-HR also comes standard with collision warning, auto high beams and adaptive cruise control.
Gently Used Nissan Rogue — While an all-new Rogue is due any day now, the model currently for sale on dealer lots has been around for a few years, meaning that you can pick up a used example that looks just like a brand-new one and probably costs about the same as a new Rogue Sport.
The Rogue Sport is a no-nonsense subcompact crossover. It won’t win many races or wow you with luxury touches, but it gets the job done. It offers reasonable efficiency, decent safety ratings and a fairly comprehensive array of cabin technology and driver assistance features. Its update for 2020 brings about some new styling cues, newly standard features — such as Nissan’s Advanced ProPilot assist technology — and a few new colors. Altogether, given the inclusion of some of this safety tech on lower trim levels, we think the Rogue Sport’s middle SV trim is probably a good balance of cost and equipment for most buyers. Find a Nissan Rogue Sport for sale