Nissan’s floating roof and V-motion grille design elements enhance the all-new 2021 Rogue. (Nissan)

Nissan’s floating roof and V-motion grille design elements enhance the all-new 2021 Rogue. (Nissan)

Redesign for 2021 means a more sophisticated Nissan Rogue

The compact SUV, Nissan’s best seller, gets a power boost, improved ride and handling, and more tech.

Nissan’s Rogue compact SUV, the most popular model in the brand’s lineup, gets a full redesign for 2021. Along with an entire change in appearance, the 2021 Rogue has an all-new platform providing a quieter cabin and improved ride and handling characteristics. Its engine receives a power boost over the previous Rogue, and infotainment and connectivity technology is now up-to-the-minute.

Rogue is available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels. The Platinum trim is new for 2021. All versions offer a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive and have the same engine: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. That’s a gain of 11 horsepower and 6 pound-feet over the outgoing model. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard across the board.

Fuel economy ratings for the new Rogue are a strong selling point. As estimated by the EPA, they are 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The trade-off is acceleration — a tad less exuberant than some Rogue competitors in the compact SUV segment.

Base pricing with destination charge included ($1,095) starts at $26,745 for an S model with front-wheel drive and tops out at $37,925 for the AWD Platinum.

Riding on a new platform, the 2021 Nissan Rogue delivers a smoother ride and livelier driving dynamics than its predecessor. (Nissan)

Riding on a new platform, the 2021 Nissan Rogue delivers a smoother ride and livelier driving dynamics than its predecessor. (Nissan)

My test car was an SV model with AWD, priced at $29,835. Five drive modes are included in the all-wheel drive system: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco and Sport. They are driver-selectable using a dial on the center console.

Rogue doesn’t skimp on standard features. Even the base S trim is abundantly equipped. Moving up a step to the SV adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated outside mirrors, 18-inch wheels, upgraded audio (six speakers), a Wi-Fi hot spot, two rear charge-only USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control and remote start. Additional driver assistance features are also added, including a surround-view exterior camera system, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving technology.

The 2021 Rogue interior is an achievement in style, comfort and functionality. Nissan Zero Gravity seats are worthy of long trips. Headroom and legroom are generous for both rows, and rear seats recline. Rear doors open nearly 90 degrees, which makes entry, exit and child car seat installation easier.

High style, comfort, and functionality are hallmarks of the 2021 Nissan Rogue interior. (Nissan)

High style, comfort, and functionality are hallmarks of the 2021 Nissan Rogue interior. (Nissan)

Rear cargo capacity with second row seats in upright position is 31.6 cubic feet in the S and SV grades. A Divide-N-Hide system in the SL and Platinum grades provides hidden and secure storage and expands cargo capacity to 36.5 cubic feet. There are numerous storage compartments for smaller items, including a center console bin with butterfly-style top opening and door pockets designed to perfectly hold a 32-ounce water bottle or thermos.

Thanks to Rogue’s nifty new electronic shifter that doesn’t require mechanical equipment below it, there’s extra storage space available beneath the center console.

The strikingly good-looking Charcoal cloth upholstery in my test car was two-toned, with grayish patterned seat centers trimmed in black. Very dapper.

At the forefront of Rogue’s new cabin is its stillness, which persists even at higher speeds and over rough surfaces.

2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $29,835

Price as driven: $30,220

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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