Base Price: $21,640
Price as tested: $30,255
This week, we’re driving the all-new five-passenger 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport, introduced in mid-2017 and not to be confused with former Rogue Select (discontinued) or the available big brother Nissan Rogue, The bigger Nissan Rouge runs on a longer wheelbase and offers more interior room and up to seven passenger seating.
Following a 2008 model year introduction and some 25,311 units sold in the U.S. and Canada, the Rogue models are now Nissan’s best-selling vehicles and even outpaced popular Nissan Altima by over 140,000 units in 2017. Overall, the Rogue family sold 403,465 units in the U.S. and 43,418 Rogues in Canada making for the record year. Rogue Sports share assembly time with the larger Rogue in Smyrna, Tennessee, and sales numbers include the larger sibling Rogue. (Notable is the Rogue Sport is called the Rogue Qashqai in Canada as both come from a prior successful run in Europe under the Qashqai name).
Categorized as a small station wagon by the EPA, Rogue Sport’s crossover footprint provides room and space for up to five passengers and our tester came in top flight SL trim with front wheel drive. Rogue for 2018 is available in three models ala S, SV and SL.
The entry S ($21,640) comes with 16-inch tires on steel wheels, daytime running lamps, hill start assist, five-inch monitor, advanced driver assist display, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, MP3 stereo with CD player, “D-Shaped” sports steering wheel, Siri Eyes Free iPhone voice recognition, Bluetooth streaming audio, rear spoiler and rear backup camera. (This is a lot of standard equipment over and above many competing models).
The mid-level SV (23,240) adds 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Nissan Intelligent Key system with push button start, dual-zone automatic climate, and six way power adjustable driver’s seat.
Top level SL ($26,290) adds 19-Inch tires on aluminum alloy wheels, fog lamps, seven-inch Nissan Connect services touch screen infotainment with navigation, mobile apps, Nissan Around View safety monitor with moving object detection, and leather seating surfaces.
Under the hood, all Rogue Sports come powered by a 2.0 liter, 141-horse, 147-torque inline-four coupled to a CVT Xtronic automatic transmission. The Xtronic also has a manual shift mode if so desired. Fuel mileage is very good as the front drive delivers 25 city and 32 highway while the AWD chips in with just one less MPG city at 24 and two less MPG at 30 highway. The CVT also offers an ECO (Economy) mode for optimum MPG. If acceleration is your cup of tea you won’t be too impressed as the 141-horse Rogue Sport goes zero to 60 mph in about 9.5 seconds.
Outside, Rogue’s design is a mixture of silky lines and aerodynamic touches that please every demographic group, which is proven by the impressive overall sales numbers. Additionally, Rogue’s hidden advantages that go unnoticed are critical to making a wise purchase. We’ve always praised Rogue’s aggressive styling, ease of entry, top flight safety enhancements and the available three-row, seven passenger seating if you choose the larger Rogue. However, when you delve into safety, Rogue Sport really shines.
Specifically, Nissan continues to add extra protection into every model, from air bag technology, chassis sturdiness and advanced safety cameras. Thus, from sub-compact Versa sedan to large Armada SUV, Nissan delivers the safety factor in spades. Our tester came with side airbags, front and passenger airbags, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental airbags and roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental airbags with rollover sensor.
Recommended is an optional “SL Premium” package for $2,850 that adds a power moonroof, LED lighting, forward emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and high beam assist. Standard on the SL are intelligent cruise, lane departure warning and prevention, and forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection. This is a big selling point as every high-tech safety feature is included on this SL tester.
The only other option on our tester was a $140 carpeted floor mat feature, bringing the final tally to $30,255 with $975 destination added.
Outstanding interiors are another Nissan top selling point with great front visibility and comfortable, firm seating. Rogue’s instrumentation allows for easy reading while rear passengers will find back seat room decent. Depending on seat formation, there’s from 20 to over 50 cu. ft. of cargo room available.
Other SL noteworthy features include high-end six-speaker stereo with Sirius/XM, heated leather seating and steering wheel, Nissan Connect voice navigation, push button start, and much more. Additionally, you’ll enjoy all the powers, 60/40 split-fold rear bench seat, six-way power driver seat with power lumbar, USB and all Smartphone necessities.
Nissan’s technical ingenuity includes a fully independent suspension be it front-drive or AWD drive, the latter which costs and additional $1,350 and is available across the board. Rogue’s automatic four-wheel layout provides excellent traction on snow covered roads, but I was surprised how well the front-drive did on the snow covered roads during an eight-inch snowfall that hit out area. Rogue’s standard front-drive comes with vehicle dynamic control and other traction controls and it performed flawlessly.
Important numbers include a 104.3-inch wheelbase, (the larger Rogue is 105.9 inches) 3,309 lb. curb weight, from 20.0 cu. ft. with rear seat up to over 53.0 cu. ft. of cargo space with second row down, and a 14.5-gallon fuel tank.
Check with your Nissan dealer on incentives on both a leftover 2017 or a new 2018 Rogue, both 99-percent identical. These are the brand-new Rogue Sports you’ll surely want to drive.
Likes: Looks, interior, reliability, safety, attractive entry pricing.
Dislikes: Engine a bit noisy under power, could use more horsepower, cargo space less than some competitors.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.