2021 Nissan Rogue

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$26,050

starting MSRP

2021 Nissan Rogue
2021 Nissan Rogue

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Much-improved handling
  • Decent CVT response
  • Cabin design, quality
  • Standard safety features
  • Available tech, driver-assist features

The bad:

  • Firm shock absorption
  • Modest power with extra passengers
  • No more sliding backseat
  • No more 40/20/40-split, folding backseat
  • No wireless Android Auto

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2021 Nissan Rogue trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Redesigned for 2021
  • FWD or AWD
  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder, CVT automatic
  • Unrelated to Rogue Sport, a separate SUV
  • Available dual-level cargo floor

2021 Nissan Rogue review: Our expert's take

By Aaron Bragman

It’s hardly been a year since Nissan introduced an all-new Rogue compact SUV as a considerably changed two-row model for the 2021 model year. Bigger, better, more stylish and loaded with tech, the new Rogue topped our recent 2021 Compact SUV Challenge; it beat stalwart favorites like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, not to mention redesigned models like the new Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan. By all measures, we found it to be a perfectly executed new SUV, winning not on any exceptional merits but by Nissan simply avoiding doing anything stupid. 

But then, just a year after the Rogue hit U.S. dealerships, Nissan told us it’s changing the beating heart of its SUV, swapping the old engine and transmission for a newly standard powertrain that’s more powerful, more efficient and more responsive. We had a brief spin in the 2022 Nissan Rogue with its new turbocharged engine to see if the switch improved a vehicle we already thought was top-notch. 

Related:  What’s the Best Compact SUV?

nissan-rogue-platinum-2022-03-exterior-grey-rear-angle-suv 2022 Nissan Rogue | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Variable Compression Tech

The 2021 Rogue, which won our contest, is powered by a rather ordinary 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 181 horsepower and 181 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that puts power to either the front wheels or all four if you get optional all-wheel drive. That’s good for an observed 8.5-second sprint to 60 mph, which is adequate to get things moving if not exactly snappy. 

But for 2022, Nissan has binned that engine for a smaller, variable-compression, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that makes 201 hp and 225 pounds-feet of torque. That’s 11% and 24% more output, respectively, than the 2.5-liter. (Nissan reportedly offered a turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder for a small subset of owners on the 2021 Rogue — quite possibly this engine, though the automaker has yet to confirm it.)

It also upgraded the CVT for 2022, bringing in some wider gear ratio settings aimed at improving the SUV’s responsiveness and driveability. Similar to the Altima’s variable-compression turbo 2.0-liter, the Rogue’s VC 1.5-liter can slightly adjust engine displacement in real time to maximize low-end torque around town or fuel efficiency at steady-state cruising. The lower friction and new “gear ratios” in the CVT (which doesn’t actually have any gears) are also intended to help the engine deliver power more efficiently and effectively than before.

The numbers look good for the Rogue with this new powertrain, which will deliver the most standard torque in its class — more than the CR-V or Toyota RAV4. Nissan also expects that it’s going to bump fuel economy results above the class. The automaker anticipates a 33 mpg combined rating, which is 3 mpg more than the current 2.5-liter Rogue. (Official ratings are not yet published, but the EPA has published a 32-33 mpg combined rating for the 2021 Rogue’s 1.5-liter engine.) 

nissan-rogue-platinum-2022-06-engine-exterior-grey-suv 2022 Nissan Rogue | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Zippity Ooh Ahh

The new powertrain brings an SUV that feels considerably quicker than last year’s model, thanks to a more sensitive accelerator and the engine’s dual personality. Driving around Nissan’s Technical Center North America in the griddled suburbs of Detroit, it’s obvious that the Rogue is now tuned much more for low-end torque. A light touch of the gas elicits a lot more movement than the old model delivered, and it pulls strongly through typical stop-and-go suburban driving to feel more athletic and powerful overall. 

The acceleration is accompanied by a pleasant growl that’s obviously piped into the cabin, as it doesn’t exactly sound like most three-cylinder engines I’ve heard before. Engines with an odd number of cylinders are inherently imbalanced and thus have a very distinctive sound and feel. Pop the hood on the Rogue while it’s idling, and you’ll see what I mean: The engine shakes like crazy as it’s idling, but none of that vibration makes it into the cabin thanks to a lot of tuning and special motor mounts, according to Nissan. All you get is smooth power delivery and snorty exhaust noise.

On the highway, the new Rogue proves perfectly calm and respectable. It delivers plenty of grunt when called upon to do so, with the CVT adjusting quickly to accelerator inputs and allowing the engine to do its thing. The only time the new drivetrain demonstrates the limitations of having only three cylinders is during high-speed passing, where it starts to run out of steam at the upper end of its rev range. But even then, that’s an extreme case; in most situations, the Rogue’s new engine is a definite asset to the overall package. And that’s a good thing, since it’s the only powertrain you can get in the Rogue for now, at least until a rumored plug-in hybrid version appears. 

nissan-rogue-platinum-2022-08-drivers-seat-front-front-passenger-seat-interior-steering-wheel-suv 2022 Nissan Rogue | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Nothing Else Changes, Except the Price

The rest of the 2022 Rogue carries over unchanged, so you still have a choice of trim levels, safety equipment, interior niceties and colors. Seating comfort is still only just OK, despite Nissan’s much-ballyhooed “zero gravity” marketing silliness. The cargo area is adequately sized but a bit below the class leaders, and ride quality remains on the firm side for no clear reason. 

But the pro column is still strong in the 2022 model, with an excellent multimedia system, great driver-accessible storage space, a roomy backseat and lots of nifty, modern safety and display technology throughout (with minimal touch-sensitive controls, a drawback afflicting certain Rogue rivals). Interior materials have gotten a boost with this latest version, too, especially in the top-line Platinum trim that I sampled. Pricing got a boost as well, however, with its sticker price rising $650 for front-wheel drive versions and $750 for AWD models. The least-expensive version you can get is the FWD Rogue S, at $27,875 (all prices include the destination fee), while an AWD Rogue Platinum rings in at $39,155 before the few options available. 

Final pricing will be available closer to the 2022 Rogue’s appearance in showrooms sometime early this winter, but Nissan doesn’t seem to be moving it all that much — and those extra dollars bring better fuel economy and a boost to the Rogue’s overall driveability and performance. I’ll take that deal.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron Bragman

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior design 4.9
  • Performance 4.7
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.9
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Major upgrade

Recently traded in my 2016 for the new redesigned 2021 Rogue. The difference is amazing. The build quality has important greatly, styling is upgraded, feels like a much more expensive vehicle. Incredible value, very happy with purchase.

5.0

My husband and I love it very much

Meets our needs comfortable stylish love the interior and the ride is super cool. We choose black it is beautiful and cool and super nice

5.0

Love my new 2021 Rogue

Always have been a huge fan of Rogues but I absolutely LOVE this 3rd generation “upgrade”! Love the exterior and most of all the interior! The ride is smoother and more quiet as well! I’ve had my Rogue for about a week now and have I put about 700 miles on it and so far so good! 100% would recommend as Nissans have never let me down!

See all 87 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2021

Toyota RAV4

$26,350

starting MSRP

2020

Hyundai Tucson

$23,550

starting MSRP

2020

Honda CR-V

$25,150

starting MSRP

See all 2021 Nissan Rogue articles