First Drive: Redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue Edges Upscale

Rogue returns as a serious competitor to small SUV class

2021 Nissan Rogue front

Nissan has redesigned the Rogue for 2021, basing it on a new platform and upgrading every single aspect of this popular small SUV. It retains a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and gets expanded connectivity and advanced safety features.

This is the Rogue’s first redesign since the 2014 model year. It's essentially the same size as the outgoing model, but the fresh design, with its solid stance and tasteful accents, signals a move upscale.

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The familiar S, SV, and SL trim levels are joined by a new high-end Platinum trim that layers in premium touches, such as quilted leather seats, a head-up display, heated rear seats, expanded advanced driver assist and safety features, a digital instrument cluster, and an upgraded infotainment system.

We rented a Rogue Platinum from Nissan to present early impressions. When the Rogue goes on sale this fall, we will buy a more mainstream Rogue SV AWD to test.

Until then, if you’re a Consumer Reports member, you'll see our first impressions of the Nissan Rogue below. If you haven’t signed up to become a member yet, click below to access this full article and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

We plan to put a Rogue through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road-test results.

What we rented: Nissan Rogue Platinum
Powertrain: 181-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $36,830
Destination fee: $1,095
Total cost: $37,925

CR’s Take

Based on our time with the Rogue, it feels like a major upgrade over the previous generation. The outgoing Rogue is a decent small SUV, but there isn’t anything special about it.

This new Rogue, especially in Platinum trim, feels more crafted, like it is designed to stand out in this popular class. This is a similar transformation we recently witnessed with the Sentra. Clearly, Nissan is now taking small vehicles seriously.

Styling is a key initial draw to the Rogue, and the exterior has glamour. There are hints of Toyota RAV4 lines from the side, but overall, the body is distinctive and a bit more sophisticated than the norm. Inside, everything looks and feels substantial.

We look forward to conducting our formal testing soon to see how it ranks.  

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