The 2021 Nissan Rogue has some big shoes to fill. Nissan sold 412,110 units of the outgoing second-generation Rogue in 2018. Although Nissan sold only 350,447 units (representing a 15 percent drop) in 2019, the message is clear: The Rogue is Nissan’s most popular vehicle in North America, so the third-generation model better be good.
“The all-new Rogue was purposefully designed to meet all the needs of today’s young families,” said Mike Colleran, Senior Vice President, Nissan U.S. Marketing and Sales.
With that in mind, let’s take a complete, top to bottom look, at the 2021 Nissan Rogue.
Fashion Repeats Itself
Skinny jeans and high-waist trousers were all the rave in the 1980s. However, I still fondly remember the days when rocking a pair of baggy jeans was cool. If you were a college kid in the late 90s and early 2000s, you didn’t want to be caught dead wearing skinny jeans lest you be ridiculed for life. But now, high-waist jeans (and skinny/slim fit trousers) are making a comeback, and it seems the Nissan Rogue is forging the same path in terms of design.
According to Nissan, the 2021 Rogue’s updated exterior design reflects the fun, edgy, versatile, and adventurous nature of the vehicle. I think it looks great, but why it needs to follow the current trend of moving the headlights to a different spot than the usual is beyond me.
But then again, no other automaker but Nissan is to blame for starting this unusual trend. Do you remember the ogling Nissan Juke? Now, the Hyundai Kona and Santa Fe are leading the charge, and the 2021 Rogue is not too far behind. “Rogue is playing to win in the midsize crossover game with the ideal mix of expressive design, advanced technology, safety, comfort, and versatility,” Colleran added.
2021 Nissan Rogue: Signature Design Cues
Instead of growing even marginally over the previous generation, the 2021 Rogue is an inch and a half shorter than the outgoing model. However, it manages to display an impression of bulk with chunkier proportions, a vertically-oriented silhouette, and a more upright stance. Nissan’s double “V-motion grille” design is flanked by daytime running lamps (DRL) on both sides. Meanwhile, the standard LED headlights (and fog lights) are situated below the DRLs.
The fascia has active grille shutters and air curtain intakes for enhanced aerodynamics. Nissan reshaped the A-pillars and the underbody cladding to tame the airflow at highway speeds. Out back, the new Rogue’s tailgate has a broader opening while the familiar taillight design completes the updated look.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue has an updated version of the previous model’s 2.5-liter DOHC four-banger. Now featuring direct-injection, the new motor produces 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque, 11 more horses, and six more lb-ft. of torque than the old engine. Power is sent to the front wheels via a standard CVT, while higher trim models receive Nissan’s intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) with Vehicle Motion Control.
“The all-new Vehicle Motion Control predicts what the driver is trying to do by monitoring steering, acceleration, and braking,” explained Chris Reed, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Nissan Technical Center North America. In addition to having five driving modes (Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport), AWD versions of the 2021 Rogue can offer four-wheel individual control by lightly applying the brakes to either one or all four wheels. “This is technology that does what a human can’t,” Reed added.
Intelligent AWD and Vehicle Motion Control provide the 2021 Rogue an edge when forging rough, snowy, or demanding terrain. Combined with new suspension updates, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and electric power steering with quicker gear ratios, the 2021 Rogue should offer more comfort and capability when compared to previous models.
Refined Interior & New Technology
Nissan’s Intelligent Key now works on the rear doors, while the butterfly center console allows for easy pass-through access to the second-row seats. The rear doors now open 90 degrees for better ingress and egress, even when fitting a child seat. Also, the standard reclining Zero-Gravity rear seats (inspired by NASA, nevertheless) offer better spinal support.
And since the 2021 Nissan Rogue is a modern crossover, it receives a full array of display screens. The new Rogue features a 10.8-inch heads-up display, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a nine-inch touchscreen display on the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but navigation is only standard on the fully-loaded Rogue Platinum.
The new Rogue also has 15-watt wireless charging for up to three smartphones. Wired charging is courtesy of USB Type-C and Type-A charging ports.
Safety Is Top Priority
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is brimming with new safety tech. It receives Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, lane departure warning, and rear automatic braking. Also included is a rear door alert system and Nissan’s Intelligent Driver Alertness technology to keep sleepy drivers on the straight and narrow.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue will come in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and the new Premium trim. The latter includes semi-aniline leather seats, ambient lighting, heated rear seats, a premium Bose audio system, and many other goodies.
You can expect the new Rogue to arrive at Nissan dealerships this fall. Pricing and other specs are not yet available, but we reckon base prices to hover in the $26,000 range.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.