With competition among sport utility vehicles (SUVs) neck and neck, it helps to have a winner, or two, in the lineup. Introduced in 2008, the Nissan Rogue, and its sibling, the Rogue Sport, have been Nissan’s top-selling nameplate in both calendar year 2017 and model year 2018. Latino Traffic Report (LTR) received four models to test drive in the past year, offering an extended experience in the Rogue and a chance for greater evaluation and appreciation.
While all test models were the top-of-the-line SL trim equipped with all-wheel-drive (AWD), each included different packages and interior appointments so that not one shared the same MSRP.
Tested colors included Magnetic Black Pearl, Palatial Ruby, Gun Metallic, and Monarch Orange (top). All included leather seating but the seats on the Rogue in Monarch Orange featured the Platinum Package with Premium Tan seats and distinctive quilting on the inserts as well as a heated steering wheel. The black and/or beige leather seating in the other models was perforated.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Sport and Eco modes, powers all Rogues, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with the Xtronic CVT and Eco mode, powers all Rogue Sports. The 2.5-liter can produce 170 horsepower and 175 lb.–ft. of torque and achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with AWD. The 2.0-liter offered 141 horses, 147 lb.–ft. of torque, and an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 24/30 mpg with AWD. During the test-drive, the 2.5 and 2.0 averaged a city/highway mpg of 17/28 and 25/31, respectively.
In an urban setting, the Rogue stood out for its convenience, versatility, and maneuverability. Convenience features included a standard back-up camera (around view on the SL), easy to fold seats, Nissan’s easy tire fill alert, and maximum cargo room of 70 cu. ft. on the Rogue and 53.3 cu. ft. on the Sport (61.1 cu. ft. on the base S model). Both offered seating for five but the Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than Rogue for better maneuverability.
All Rogues come with satellite radio (sans the subscription), a CD player, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, cruise control, and a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. The SL trim level included more luxury features like heated front seats, Nissan Connect with navigation, and intelligent cruise control that can be programmed to maintain a set distance from the lead vehicle. Programming preset radio and XM channels, however, was a little difficult to do via the touchscreen, which began to lead to distracted driving.
For 2019 the standard features list expands to include Rear Automatic Braking and a Rear Sonar System on SV and SL trims, Rear Door Alert on all grade levels and ProPILOT Assist for semi-autonomous driving and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on the SL grade.
At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan unveiled a refreshed version of the Rogue Sport for 2020, with new front fascia features, hood, Vmotion grille, and bumper. Improvements for 2019 include the available ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 that includes a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, an updated audio system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the availability of the Bose Audio System with nine speakers.
Pricing for the 2019 Rogue Sport and Rogue starts at $23,385 and $26,065, respectively. Stepping up to the SL trim will be costly. The as-tested prices ranged from $31,365—$36,915.