2021 Nissan Rogue Redesign Emphasizes Tech, Versatility
16 June 2020 - motor1
Smart tech and clever design abound in the new crossover.
No one is going to look back on 2020 fondly. But there may not be an outfit that's more eager to put this Annus Horribilis behind it than Nissan. From the bizarre saga of former leader Carlos Ghosn getting smuggled out of Japan to monumental financial woes, the Japanese automaker has had a no good, very bad year. And it's only June. The arrival of the 2021 Nissan Rogue, then, is a much-needed bright spot for the struggling brand.
Already Nissan's most popular product in the US market, where it racked up nearly 30 percent of the company's 2019 sales, the Rogue's redesign adds a number of family friendly enhancements and advanced pieces of tech to its new interior and exterior design body. It has all the makings of a serious competitor in America's most popular segment.
Let's talk about that design for a minute. Despite the split headlights and V-Motion grille, the Rogue isn't an aggressive piece of design. Nissan's restraint should be commended, though. The lines here are attractive up front, if a bit on the conservative side. There's a sizable character line over the rear wheel arch, but designers kept the overall two-box shape simple. This is a crossover with zero off-road chops, so of course there are plastic surrounds on the wheel arches.
Hidden in that body are smart touches, though. Air curtains in the front fascia and active grille shutters improve the aerodynamics at speed, and the uninteresting, upright design of the rear end – it kind of reminds us of the current Toyota RAV4 – belies a huge, motion-activated rear tailgate for accessing the roomy cargo hold.
Once open, the cargo area's aperture spans 45.6 inches across, and owners can find smart cargo solutions like removable covers, which hide small divided cubbies. Finally, those big rear doors open to nearly 90 degrees, making for effortless rear seat access. The 2021 Rogue has, possibly, the easiest second row to get in or out of in the class. Once inside, there's ample legroom for adults – we wouldn't hesitate to road-trip the 2021 Rogue with four fully grown humans and their luggage. Beyond the sheer comfort and space of the rear bench, sunshades hidden in the rear door, available seat heating, and the segment's only three-zone climate control system should keep occupants content.
The front seat is the place to be, though. Nissan's comfy zero-gravity bucket seats return, with an available semi-aniline leather finish in the range-topping Rogue Platinum. Occupants will look out on clean dash with stitched leather. Even on the pre-production car we featured in our video, the cabin quality felt impressively high. A new electric shifter allowed Nissan to adopt a floating-bridge center console, enhancing cargo storage up front, too.
But it's the tech that steals the show. The Rogue is available with an all-digital instrument cluster, featuring a 12.3-inch display (lesser models get 7.0- or 5.0-inch displays in the cluster), as well as the largest infotainment display in the segment, a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Finally, a 10.8-inch head-up display puts pertinent info directly in the driver's line of sight. There are both USB-A and USB-C charging ports, while the Rogue offers wireless Apple CarPlay as an option (wired CarPlay/Android Auto are standard).
Nissan's advanced ProPilot active safety suite expands to all but the base model as standard, although the Platinum trim, as well as the SL trim with the SL Premium Package, add a navigation tie-in. Called ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link, the integration draws data from the navigation system and correlates it with the GPS, allowing the Rogue to slow for upcoming highway junctions, curves, and ramps. The Rogue also adopts traffic sign recognition that can, with the driver's okay, increase or decrease the speed to the posted limit.
On the less exciting side of the equation, there's the Rogue's sole powerplant: a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Mated up to a standard continuously variable transmission, it's about as uninteresting as things get. Nissan is claiming improved fuel economy, with a one-to-two-point jump on all trims and regardless of front- or all-wheel drive.
The 2021 Rogue will arrive in dealers in the fall of 2020, with prices coming ahead of the official launch.