By on June 21, 2021

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

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.

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

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.

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

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.

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

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.

2021 Nissan Rogue. Tim Healey/TTAC

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/]

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32 Comments on “2021 Nissan Rogue SV AWD Review – Comfortable Conformity...”

  • avatar

    I believe the previous generation Nissan Rogue had a fold flat front passenger seat.

    I can’t find any mention that the new Rogue has this feature. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it can massively increase the utility of the vehicle, especially if you are transporting stacks of 2×4’s or some other oddly long item.

  • avatar

    So since Ipad-in-dashism has become an epidemic, is this happening because of lazy design choices or do the proles actually like it?

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Excellent point. I believe that most auto designers do not actually own and/or drive cars.

      • 0 avatar

        I would think they did for the most part. A while back there was the story where Ralph Gilles used his Jeep to help push a burning car away from an accident.

    • 0 avatar

      Normies I know think it looks modern. It’s also an easy way to put a big screen in a low dash.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Lazy design choices.

      But somebody in the office must think a tacked-on display is a means of highlighting the fact that it’s there at all, sort of like the “EFI” fender badges of the 1980s to indicate electronic fuel injection.

      Maybe someday designers will figure out how to make them look good again. My lowly 19 Hyundai Ioniq EV has a nicely integrated display; as a designer, it just doesn’t seem that hard to do.

      • 0 avatar

        I just saw “EFI” on a gas powered *golf cart* last week (a Club Car Carryall). I’m not sure when that started, but the one I drove in the early 2000s used a carburetor.

        In the “to 2017” Corollas, they just integrated the touch radio into the hole in the dash for the head unit like every other car ever. But those models were likely designed by adults.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it’s customer preference… coupled with easier upgrades (E.g., if you want to add a bigger screen etc…. you don’t have to wait for a major redesign)

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      It’s likely cheaper, too. Most HVAC systems simply send an electronic message to the motor,solenoid, etc, so now they no longer have to design and manufacture physical controls.

      These screen are against everything product design is supposed to stand for, but if you look at the hundreds of over-designed elements in cars these days, you see that ‘design for design’s sake’ is now the rule.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a design choice to show off technology..”hey look at that Ipad on my dash”.
      I have a VW Alltrack….The 8″ touchscreen is beautifully integrated into the dash…Doesn’t look like an afterthought or an ipad

  • avatar

    I just rode in the previous gen Rogue on Saturday. Compact, it ain’t.

  • avatar

    Dunno who maintains the “authoritative” statistics on car buying—-but presumably if indeed new car buyers are holding onto their cars longer (whether by choice or budget), those buyers will gravitate to the conformity-cars.

    So reasonable chance that the mainstream car market in the 2020’s will go from vanilla in 2019 to bleach vanilla by 2029.

    lovers of the brown station wagon with a stick should make reservations at the Kevorkian clinic before the spaces fill up.

    • 0 avatar

      The brown station wagon with a stick was its day’s Rogue/CR-V/RAV-4. The only reason they’re popular now is because hipster types want to advertise that they’re part of the in-crowd by liking the least-likable possible thing. In fifteen or twenty years, the future equivalent of the people currently on Jalopnik telling everyone how great minivans are will be telling everyone how great white subcompact crossovers are – I guarantee it.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Nissan Rogue has become the very definition of the term “car” now. As in, it’s a car, it does car things. The most bland and generic method of automotive conveyance that you can find.

    It is bought based on price alone. Not comfort, appearance, or performance – or anything that makes enthusiasts excited. Therefore, I cannot relate to someone who buys one of these. Though my best friend drives one.

    • 0 avatar

      That nails it right there. I can’t think of anyone, family or friend, that would wake up and tell themselves and then us that they were going to seek out and pay money for a Rogue (or any other overtly generic CUV or car.) You can make a case to buy a lot of different cars out there, but there are some, much like the go-to beige Camry with steel wheels on the back of the lot, where you wonder, “Who wakes up in the morning and tells themselves that this is what they are going to strive for, not settle for???”

      I know there has to be a market for these cars because Nissan sells a lot and not just to rental fleets, but it might not be a market that one strives to capture.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        For some people, a car is an appliance, just like a refrigerator. Those people likely don’t read the car mags or visit sites like this one. Toyota, to its credit, builds very good appliances. They’re durable and dependable, for the most part, and not too expensive for what they do.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      You mean it’s what people want and need.

  • avatar

    “this second-from-base trim Rogue cost $30,220 as-tested and based at $28,740.”

    Well that’s more than I anticipated.

    • 0 avatar

      I know – remember not too long ago when CUVs like the CR-V, RAV4, and Rogue were the cheap ones? The creep upwards doesn’t seem to end. When I see upper end RAV4s priced like BMWs and Mercedes, it causes that involuntary spit the coffee out moment.

      • 0 avatar

        My gut reaction is the same as yours, but after you spit out your coffee go and check what actual BMWs and Mercedeses now cost. The best selling Mercedes is now a 2000cc crossover with grey paint and vinyl seats for $70,000.

        Zimbabwe dollar printing leads to the whole list of other Zimbabwe things.

        • 0 avatar

          I made a killing buying and selling Zimbabwe hundred trillion dollar banknotes. They used to be a couple bucks apiece, but those things are pretty pricy now…

        • 0 avatar

          I made a killing buying and selling Zimbabwe hundred trillion dollar banknotes. They used to be a couple bucks apiece, but those things are pretty pricy now…

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    So you admit the styling is somewhat “rogue” when compared to other CUVs? Love it or hate it, it is different. I personally think the styling is a strong selling point.

  • avatar

    I hope the dangerous transmission issue has finally been addressed. My 2013 Rogue with 86000 miles, like other Rogues, looses power at unfortunate times, like the mountains near Yuma and east county San Diego. Haven’t been rear-ended or pushed over a cliff yet, and no one has been hurt in another vehicle. Don’t understand why Nissan doesn’t step up to the plate and do a recall since they’ve known their vehicles have this issue. Their answer is to pull over, let it cool awhile, which in my case seems to be hours, but this answer doesn’t help in mountainous and inclined areas with guard rails and no shoulders in 100+ degree desert heat since we’re in Arizona. Maybe Nissan will exchange my deathtrap for a no deathtrap model. Currently the vehicle is at the Yuma dealership and I’m in California. Do your homework. Fixes are costly. You’ll find alot of these complaints. Nissan doesn’t take responsibility for knowing about the defect but admits it’s existence. The review is correct that it is comfortable.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    Crossovers may be “conformist” but they are the ideal vehicle, and I’ve known that since long before there were crossovers.

  • avatar

    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”.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    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.

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