The Nissan Rogue is the beating heart of the Japanese brand’s lineup, and we all need a functioning heart don’t we. This is the kind of model that has no room for error, as in none at all. The compact SUV category has been lucrative and ferociously fought over for years now, as North American households have been gradually swapping their sedans for these “Swiss Army knives on wheels”.
If you play the say-the-first-thing-that-pops-into-your-head game, the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V come immediately to mind when people think of compact SUVs they might consider for their next vehicle, but right behind them is the Nissan Rogue, the new generation of which says hello to the world for 2021.
The outgoing edition, which first appeared in 2014, did get a refresh and redesign for the 2017 model-year, but more was needed - in this highly competitive segment, inaction is fatal. The Japanese car giant's top management had to make some major changes, especially in view of the Rogue’s status as the brand's best-seller.
I recently had occasion to put to the test the latest Rogue, in its most-equipped Platinum trim, over a week of rather icy temperatures this past January.
And I came up with 10 things I deemed most worth knowing if are considering the new Rogue, regardless of what trim you choose.
# 1 New front-end = newly redesigned headlights
This is not Nissan's first attempt to find a new home for its headlights. The first time was in 2010, when the manufacturer unveiled the Juke which, you may recall, came with large rounded headlights housed in the centre of its shield. But that look stayed an outlier, and no model of the brand has had this approach… until this new 2021 Rogue. Its headlights, those things that light up the road in front of the vehicle, are also installed right in the centre, and I must admit the brand's designers did good.
# 2 Same displacement, new engine
Since its first steps on the market, the Nissan Rogue has been powered by a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine. This new Rogue 3.0 still foregoes turbocharging, but the engine it uses has been extensively reworked to deliver more power (181 hp, up by 11) and more torque (181 lb-ft, up by 6).
Direct injection is part of the equation, but there's also reflective spray coating, a variable flow oil pump, an integrated exhaust manifold and a continuously variable electronic valve timing control system, all part of the strategy to improve fuel efficiency as much as possible.
When compared to the RAV4 in particular, the Rogue loses a few points in terms of power, but then again, compact SUV buyers aren't necessarily looking to break acceleration records on their daily commutes and trips to the grocery store.