2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Puts Its Best Face Forward

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Nissan revealed its plans to slot the North American version of its Qashqai crossover between the Juke and Rogue. While the company ultimately decided to call the model the “Rogue Sport” in the United States, replacing the Juke with the Kicks shortly thereafter, the rest of the plan went off without a hitch.

There was just one itty-bitty problem — the North American crossover was based on a model that debuted globally in 2013.

At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan has once again decided to give North America the rest of the world’s leftovers. The Qashqai received a mid-life facelift in 2017 and now so will the Rogue Sport. Fortunately, both versions of the crossover should remain worthy of reasonable praise, as the changes help bring the model visually closer to the rest of Nissan’s fleet and further away from looking like a utility version of the 2004 Pontiac Sunfire.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport receives a new (for this market) front end, updated tail lamps, and some new equipment options. While the automaker claims the new exterior design should help “provide a greater separation” from the bigger Rogue, we think the opposite is true. The inclusion of the brand’s Vmotion grille actually makes the pair look extremely similar in photos.

However, face-to-face encounters won’t hold any confusion. The Sport is substantially shorter than the Rouge and bit longer than the Kicks — which it doesn’t resemble quite so closely. Regardless, we like the “new design” and are glad to see it making its way here.

In addition to the company’s ubiquitous grille, the crossover also receives a new hood, bumper, and daytime running lights. Nissan is also offering new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and two new colors (Nitro Lime Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic) as optional extras.

Trims will be split into thirds (S, SV, and SL) with even the base model Rogue Sport S receiving Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 for the 2020 model year. That includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and high beam assist. Shoppers also can opt for Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system, which is basically Nissan’s take on adaptive cruise control with some lane keeping.

All versions of the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport will continue sourcing their power from a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four engine slotted up to an Xtronic CVT. That means it’s still really slow (60 mph can take upwards of 10 seconds). But this isn’t a segment known for its blistering quarter-mile times. In fact, most of the praise thrown at the Rogue Sport revolves around its surprising level of comfort, which Nissan doesn’t seem to have tampered with.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport should start arriving on dealer lots in the fall. Pricing should be nearly identical to the 2019 model year, with base versions showing up right around $23,000 after destination fees.

[Images: Nissan]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Maroon Maroon on Feb 08, 2019

    It just seems like they mailed it in with the engine. Ford and Honda can get ~160hp out of two liters of displacement. What about a small turbo? I know they'll sell a zillion, but to me gotta have more pah than that.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Feb 11, 2019

    This class of car---the compact-length, subcompact-width CUV---is really built for Europe, and is selling up a storm over there. I've driven a few of them on long road trips in their native habitat, including a Nissan Qashqai (aka Rogues Sport) diesel automatic in the UK and a Fiat 500x diesel manual in Spain. The Qashqai was surprisingly relaxing to drive; the 500x was surprisingly good to drive. I've driven the same cars in the US, and, well, no dice. For one thing, narrow cars mean narrow seats, and the tradeoff isn't worth it when you don't have to contend with country lanes. For another, the US-spec gas engines are as slow as the diesels, without the benefit of their fuel economy. I can see the Rogue Sport helping Nissan sell regular Rogues though.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
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