2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Review - Comfortable Conformity

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Fast Facts

2.5-liter four-cylinder (181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 181 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm)
Continuously-variable automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
25 city / 32 highway / 28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
9.2 city, 7.2 highway, 8.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$28,740 (U.S) / $34,598 (Canada)
As Tested
$30,220 (U.S.) / $34,733 (Canada)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $2,060 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2021 nissan rogue sv awd review comfortable conformity

The word “rogue” has several meanings, and one of those meanings relates to someone who goes their own way – someone who has “gone rogue.” This is why it’s long been ironic that Nissan slaps the moniker on a conformist crossover.

I am sure I am not the first to point this out, but it bears repeating, especially as the 2021 Nissan Rogue conforms to Nissan’s newest design identity.

Not the conformity is necessarily bad – the updated Rogue’s greatest strength is arguably style. It has a more aggressive look, thanks to boxier edges instead of rounded corners, and it borrows a lot of its interior design from other new Nissan models, which is good since the newer cabins make more of a statement than the bland interiors of recent vintage.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque doesn’t make much of a statement, on the other hand. Unless “just fine for 80 percent of your driving needs” is a statement. You’ll scoot around the city just fine.

Nor will handling blow your mind – it, too, is just fine. It’s par for the small crossover class, maybe a bit above par. It’s a little bit sporty, but just a bit. It’s completely acceptable – and completely unremarkable. An available Sport mode makes the steering feel a little heavier and tighter, but like many sport modes, it only goes so far in terms of making the vehicle actually that much more fun to drive.

Ride quality for the lower (0.2 inches) and shorter (1.5 inches) is generally good, at least – this is a comfortable crossover for commuting duty.

Nissan’s XTronic continuously-variable automatic transmission, which often earns the ire of scribes like us, is the only transmission available. Despite its reputation, it was well-behaved in this application.

All four trims – S, SV, SL, and Platinum – offer front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and Nissan sent me an SV AWD for evaluation.

LED lights are standard on all Rogue trims. Other standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth.

Standard features for this trim included Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, which has been wonky in the past but worked as advertised here, steering assist, satellite radio, intelligent cruise control, blind-spot intervention, intelligent lane intervention, around-view monitor, and rear charge-only USB ports (one Type A, one Type C), 18-inch wheels, and keyless entry and starting.

Standard on all trims is Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 driver-aid/safety suite, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, rear automatic braking, and rear-door alert.

My tester had no options, save floor mats and a cargo-area protector, which cost $385. All told, with the $1,095 destination fee, this second-from-base trim Rogue cost $30,220 as-tested and based at $28,740.

That’s not an objectionable price, though you’ll need to climb the trim ladder for leather and navigation.

Nor is the Rogue an objectionable crossover. It’s not particularly memorable – hence the relatively short word count on this here review – but it works well at a reasonable price. And looks pretty good while doing so.

That’s not necessarily “roguish” behavior. More like pretty mainstream, if you ask us.

But hey, car names are silly. So we can’t begrudge Nissan slapping an “edgy” name on a conformist crossover that does a lot of stuff well without really doing anything greatly (or poorly, for that matter).

It may not be much of a Rogue, but it does what it’s supposed to, and that’s undoubtedly good enough for Nissan and its buyers.

What’s New for 2021

The 2021 Nissan Rogue rides on a new platform and offers technology and driver-assist upgrades.

Who Should Buy It

The compact-crossover shopper who wants a value and the ability to blend in.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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3 of 32 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jun 22, 2021

    Google "rogue CVT problems". I'll wait. There's going to be a lot of folks buying these on 60 month notes who are going to get a very nasty surprise at the 80 k mark, out of warranty but still in "the loan".

    • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Jun 22, 2021

      I'm legitimately curious if this affects the Rogue Sport in the same way. It's a smaller, slightly lighter car. My gran just traded an Optima for a Rogue Sport because she wanted something a little higher, but not too high and wanted the lane keeping and nav. I heard about it after the papers were signed and tried filling my uncle in, who will likely be her surrogate to deal with service advisors; he blew me off.

  • Funky D Funky D on Jun 25, 2021

    Having rented a few Rogues over the years, I still the overall feeling that the Rogue is just a slightly inferior version of the RAV4. It is OK, but it doesn't do anything that the RAV4 does better.

  • Varezhka They cheapened out on the hardware side too, so we'll see how much they can improve with the software updates. I know they're using faster processors with some of their newer vehicles, but not sure how much faster.
  • Varezhka I mentioned yesterday that I wasn't a fan of Mazda Connect v1.0 in MX-5. Now I count Mazda Connect v2.0 in Mazda3 as among my favorites. Clean, fast, and intuitive without being a distraction to driving.I also don't mind the v7 BMW i-Drive, though BMW also seem to go back and forth between quite good and quite messy between updates. I also liked the screen position better before they incorporated touch.
  • EBFlex When you support socialism I guess it makes sense to support countries that are socialist.This is absolutely ridiculous though. The dementia-riddled, installed president won't allow drilling here and as recently as early November said "NO MORE DRILLING" ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2022/11/07/biden-promises-no-more-drilling-just-days-after-demanding-more-drilling/?sh=eeef4a578e7a )Why help people here and give them work when you can ship it off to Venezuela? Next, he will be advocating for giving jobs to China who are continuing to commit crimes against humanity (something the elf Fauci wishes he could do).This is insanity. We have tons of oil here. We should be drilling for it and aggressively building refining capacity to turn it into lovely, lovely gasoline and diesel.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh In the news : Rich people join forces to stay ultra rich and EFF poor people in all countries by dividing them against each other and killing them
  • Kcflyer I'm curious if the elections in Venezuela take as long to call as the one's in the U.S. ? Too bad we don't have hundreds of years supply of petro right here in U.S. sigh.