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2021 Nissan Rogue: First Look

  • All-new vehicle for 2021
  • Built in the U.S.
  • Wireless Apple Car Play
  • 10-speaker Bose audio
  • Enhanced automated driving features

The 2021 Nissan Rogue has moved far from the original compact SUV. The second generation, which debuted in 2013 as a 2014 model year SUV. While the early Rogues of more than a decade ago felt rather crude, the second generation, those sold from 2014 through 2020, was a bit more refined. At one point, the Rogue was the best small SUV you could get since it was a little more comfortable than other small SUV and sized exactly right for growing American families. The Rogue is Nissan’s best selling vehicle.

Luxury Touches

Looking at the new Rogue, it’s clear one of the goals here is to put a little more distance between the new Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport. Where Rogue was the bargain choice years ago, now it looks more like the Rogue is a small SUV buyers may aspire to own (kinda like a baby Pathfinder but even that will be updated soon) and the Rogue Sport is what you get when you place price and/or fun over space and luxury.

For example, there’s a new Rogue Platinum, a trim level that didn’t exist before. Kudos to Nissan for being cautious about what vehicles they adorn with the “Platinum” badge. Newly available options on Rogue also enhance, not just the top of the line model, but the entire Rogue line up as well. Platinum versions come with some fairly high-end features like semi-aniline leather for the seats, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charger, 12.3-inch display screen gauges, AND a 9-inch center display.

Rogue SL used to be the top version, now it’s one down from the top. It still includes leather seating, moonroof, power driver and front passenger seats, and memory functions for the driver’s seat and steering wheel position.

Shoppers can also add the large moonroof to the mid-grade SV as well as a hands-free rear tailgate, faux leather seating, and cargo-friendly roof rails. Even the base S model gets the full suite of safety features like lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, automatic forward and reverse braking, and headlight high-beam self-dimming.

It may seem like a little thing but the 2021 Nissan Rogue has 10 different color choices with 15 different color combinations. Typically, an economy car will have few color choices. The 2020 Nissan Versa has five color choices. A 2020 Range Rover has more than 30 color choices. So the 10 colors + 15 combinations (most of those include the option of a black or body-colored roof) is fairly significant for a an SUV that starts under $30,000.

Tech Features

New tech options include a premium Bose audio system, a 9-inch center display screen, and an enhanced ProPilot driving assist system that knows when you’re on the freeway and can keep the car stopped for up to 30 seconds, then resume automated driving without the driver intervening. Another enhancement to the ProPilot system is that it can “see” the road ahead, thanks to a GPS connection, and decelerate your car knowing a freeway interchange or curve is coming.

ProPilot can also recognize traffic signs and gives the driver the ability to accept the vehicle’s recommended speed based on posted signs. This all seems very similar to a self-driving car Nissan showed us a short time ago – that car navigated public roads, observed posted speed limits and both entered and exited the highway with no driver involvement. This isn’t really new. Nissan has been experimenting, demonstrating, and gradually rolling out semi-self driving features for about a decade.

Driving Dynamics

Nissan also promises a smoother and quieter ride and has added five different terrain modes – Standard, Eco, Sport, Off-road, and Snow. This should dramatically enhance the Rogue’s ability to be that one family car that does it all – everyday, road trip, mild off-road adventures, bad weather etc.

One thing that hasn’t changed dramatically is the Rogue’s engine. It does get some performance and modernization updates but it is a similar 2.5-liter engine that has powered other Nissans. Power is now 181, a 10 percent improvement versus the 2020 Rogue, and the transmission (a CVT) has been recalibrated to deliver better acceleration and fuel economy.

Nissan says the fuel-economy has improved by 1-2 mpg. The base version is expected to get 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving. That translates to a decent 35 mpg on the highway and 27 in the city.

Look for the 2021 Nissan Rogue to go on sale Fall of 2020. It will be built in Smyrna TN with some vehicles coming from Japan depending on demand. No pricing information is available yet. Find a Nissan Rogue Sport for sale

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