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Is the 2021 Nissan Rogue a Good Car? 4 Pros and 2 Cons

nissan rogue 2021 10 exterior  silver jpg 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

The 2021 Nissan Rogue has one tough assignment ahead. That’s because the compact SUV’s rivals include enormously popular models like the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. With company like this, Nissan can’t afford to let its best-selling SUV fall behind on performance, comfort, quality or value. 

In most of these regards, the 2021 Rogue improves on its predecessor.

Related: 2021 Nissan Rogue Review: More Steps Forward Than Backward

Shop the 2021 Nissan Rogue near you

Used
2021 Nissan Rogue S
30,023 mi.
$22,988
Used
2021 Nissan Rogue SV
63,247 mi.
$19,600 $400 price drop

From behind the wheel, the Rogue is more refined than before. Although power remains modest when a stoplight turns green, compact SUV shoppers rarely place a high priority on straight-line speed. They do like a room and functionality, however, and in this regard, the latest Rogue proves something of a mixed bag.

We recently spent time with the 2021 Rogue’s mid-range SV trim with optional all-wheel drive. What stood out? See our full review in the link above for an answer. For a quick glimpse at our primary likes and dislikes in Nissan’s family-friendly SUV, keep scrolling down. 

Things We Like

1. Sharper Handling

nissan rogue 2021 01 angle  blue  exterior  front jpg 2021 Nissan Rogue | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Nissan gave the 2021 Rogue a more surefooted feel, thanks in large part to handling that improves on the prior generation’s vague, nose-heavy reflexes. During our time with the 2021 Rogue SV AWD, we noted vast improvements to steering around sweeping corners and highway cloverleafs. 

2. Improved Interior Quality

nissan rogue 2021 21 front row  interior  steering wheel jpg 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

The cabin design and layout of the new Rogue is equal parts classy, functional and user friendly. It’s a nice place to spend time. Soft-touch surfaces adorn most places you’ll rest an arm or elbow, though things get less fancy when it comes to the materials used in the rear-seat area — a norm for this class. All in all, the 2021 Rogue has a nicely executed interior that’s competitive with key rivals.

3. Powertrain Is More Refined Than Before

While it doesn’t have much more output than the previous Rogue, the latest drivetrain feels more refined in terms of operation. During most driving situations, the 181-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides reasonable acceleration and works well with the Rogue’s continuously variable automatic transmission. No matter which trim you choose, this engine and gearbox remain the same on all Rogues.

4. Available Tech Features

nissan rogue 2021 27 center stack display  interior jpg 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Like most rivals, the Rogue comes well equipped with standard safety features like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. Yet for many SUV shoppers, having the latest in-cabin technology is equally vital to keeping everyone happy. Toward that end, the Rogue has plenty: An 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a pair of USB ports are standard. Step up to the SV trim, like our tester, and you get two rear USB ports (for a total of four) and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Pricier versions of the SUV can add wireless Apple CarPlay, a larger (9-inch) touchscreen, 12-inch virtual gauges and wireless smartphone charging.  

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Things We Don’t

1. Firm Ride

If you enjoyed the comfortable, if unsophisticated, ride of the previous Nissan Rogue, well, you might want to invest in a pillow or two. That’s because the sharper handling in the 2021 model comes with a noticeably firmer ride. During our evaluations that became particularly apparent over potholes and sewer covers.

2. No More Sliding Second Row

nissan rogue 2021 40 interior  second row jpg 2021 Nissan Rogue Platinum | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

The second row slides forward and back to prioritize rear legroom or cargo space and the seatbacks have a convenient 40/20/40 split to accommodate longer cargo with two outboard passengers. Sounds good, right? It sure does except that was the Rogue’s previous generation. Both second-row features have been jettisoned in the transition to 2021 model year. The loss of this flexible seating and storage solution is a strange move by Nissan.

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