The 2021 Rogue will be the fifth vehicle so far in the Nissan line to go through a redesign as the car maker has committed to introduce 10 newly-designed models in 18 months, in essence going from A-to-Z as their line-up makes it possible with not only an Altima and Armada but also Z car.
The Rogue follows on the heels of the Altima, Versa, Sentra and TITAN, which were all recently redesigned. It is the first for 2021 and, as was recently announced, will be followed soon by the Armada and small urban Kicks.
Our opportunity to get some time in the new Rogue came in early December, when were supposed to get some time with our old friend, Steve Parrett, from Nissan Communications here, in Utah.
However, 2020 being what it has been, the time with Steve was not possible, but we thank him anyways for still sending out the newly redesigned Rogue.
The last time the Rogue got some major changes was back in 2016 for the 2017 model year, and at the time, it was quickly becoming Nissans best-selling model, outpacing the manufacturer’s ever-popular Altima in sales.
After another 4 years, the Rogue has continued to be Nissan’s best-selling model, and with that, they have added a huge amount of design and — better yet — technology to the new 2021 version.
We noticed the differences right away in the exterior of the new design, as the front has been given a huge facelift that includes a more square, masculine look. We have noted that Nissan is moving away from a more rounded look on their designs and opting toward a more chiseled look, maybe taking in some design notes from the old Xterra.
Whatever the case may be, we like the new design, even though the new Rogue is 1.5 inches shorter and has been lowered by 0.2 inches, it appeared to us that it had grown in size. With just the adjusting of a few bends in the metal and pushing the grill forward, it led us to think there was more space.
Under the hood, the mid-sized SUV has received an upgraded 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder engine with Nissan’s direct injection gasoline system, and the horsepower has been increased by 11 ponies, bringing it to 181 with an equal 181 pounds-feet of torque to go with it.
This made a huge difference in our past outings with the Rogue as it seemed just a little underpowered. After a week, with over 400 miles of driving, we averaged right at 30 mpg on the new engine.
Inside is where the automaker has pulled out all the stops on giving it bestseller a huge advantage in the marketplace. Right away, we loved the newly-designed center console that now has a pass through opening at foot level, which allows for a huge amount of storage and the ability for both driver and passenger to get to it easily.
There is also a new electronic shift lever that is much smaller, taking up less space and operating more like that of a BMW — one click forward and the SUV would reverse, then one backward and it would go forward.
It may seem kind of backward, but you get used to it as this is how all have chosen to do it with simple electronic shifter.
After that, the technology really takes over. Our first indication was the new huge 9-inch, high-definition, floating touchscreen that now dominates the center of the dashboard. Gone is the small, 7-inch monitor of the past. This is now the largest infotainment screen in the segment, according to Nissan.
We, of course, had to hook up our phones, as there had been rumors of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto coming with the Rogue and other future Nissan models. It was quick and easy to hook up the phones, and CarPlay did indeed work without being tethered by a wire. We have only seen this technology in BMW autos up to this point.
Chevrolet has indicated that it, too, will have wireless abilities this year in a number of 2021 models. We enjoyed having CarPlay come up whenever we were in the Rogue, if for no other reason than wireless texting while we were driving was so much easier to use.
The new Rogue is also available with an all-digital dashboard that is 12.3 inches across and fully driver configurable to enhance the experience. Oh, and to top off the new tech, Nissan added a 10.8-inch, heads-up display, again one of the largest in the segment.
It seems that Nissan has pulled out all the stops on their popular SUV to drive more customer engagement.
If that were not enough, ProPilot assist comes standard on the Rogue, serving up all of the great safety features, which includes intelligent cruise control with stop and go braking along with lane centering technology to help with those long commuter drives.
We have gotten used to this technology in other Nissan vehicles we have had over the past couple of years, since its introduction.
By adding Nissan’s new Navi-Link, which will work in conjunction with this assist, the SUV will now slow when coming upon tight curves, and anticipating the drive, it will even anticipate exits used by the driver to slow the vehicle getting ready for highway departure. We have experienced this technology before but only in luxury vehicles that were well past the $80,000 price point.
Speed Limit Assist will also reduce or increase the speed of the Rogue as it passes posted signs, again helping with long drives. We have found it to be very helpful when on roads we have never been on before, as the car has kept us traveling at the lawful rate of speed.
The new Nissan Rogue turned out to be one of our favorite redesigns this year as the designers have found a way to add things we would not have expected at its price point. The 2021 Rogue is now available for viewing in dealer showrooms.
Base Price: $25,650
Price as Driven: Preproduction model not priced