The current Nissan Rogue was last redesigned for the 2014 model year, and when we tested a 2019 model in our 2019 Compact SUV Challenge, it showed its age and ended up finishing in last place. That Rogue’s driving manners were a sticking point, but they weren’t the only shortcomings. We recently saw the redesigned 2021 Rogue in person for the first time, and while we don’t yet know how the new model drives, some of our other complaints have been addressed.
The 2021 Rogue bears a resemblance to its predecessor, but its styling is more angular overall. It’s a tidy, well-proportioned compact SUV, and it wears a bigger and bolder version of Nissan’s signature V-Motion grille. All in all, the look is modern but familiar.
The Rogue’s step-in height isn’t too high, and you’re surrounded by upscale finishes and soft-touch surfaces when sitting in the driver’s seat of the new top-of-the-line Platinum trim level. It’s good to see, especially because cabin quality was an issue in the former top-of-the-line SL trim that was part of our comparison test.
High-tech available features include a crisp 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with vibrant colors, and a 9-inch touchscreen multimedia system that includes physical volume and tuning knobs — usability features we always like to see. Over-shoulder views are good with minimal obstruction.
More From Cars.com:
- 2020 Nissan Rogue Review: Practical and Roomy, But Not Fun to Drive
- 2020 Nissan Rogue: What’s Changed?
- 2020 Nissan Rogue Gets Slight Price Hike
- Research Compact SUVs
- Shop for a 2020 Nissan Rogue
One of our other complaints with the current Rogue is its relative lack of driver and front passenger storage space for odds and ends. For 2021, Nissan added storage space by giving the Rogue an electronic gear selector, which frees up the lower portion of the front center console for an open storage area. There’s also a new, decently sized center console bin with a split-opening lid for easier access from the backseat as well as an available wireless charging pad ahead of the shifter.
The 2021 Rogue’s backseat is big enough for adults to ride comfortably with headroom to spare — even with a panoramic moonroof overhead. A nearly flat floor means respectable foot space for center-seat passengers, and the 60/40-split backrest reclines. The backrest folds flat with the cargo floor when you need more space, and a reasonable cargo liftover height means you don’t have to lift luggage very high when loading it.
Having the right product at the right time is critical in the car business, and at first glance, the redesigned 2021 Rogue looks like it’ll be a strong contender in the booming compact SUV class. All that’s left to do now is drive it to see whether Nissan has elevated the driving experience the same way it has the rest of the SUV.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.