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.

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]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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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.

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...