Every time I write about Nissan, I get this odd smile because of how interesting that car company is. It has a long history fit for a museum, crazy interesting cars, practical SUV’s and vans. It’s like an economical Mercedes-Benz if you think about it.
I was in California for a week recently and our rental car was Nissan Versa. Keep in mind this was during the legendary Monterey Car week.
So there we were, cruising around in a little white Nissan Versa being absolutely demolished and surrounded by super cars of insane value. It was pretty funny.
But the Versa impressed me. Not with its power or acceleration, but its…charm. We had to really push the car to get up hills (which was funny but fun) and we lost every race we took part in.
We attempted racing a number of Lamborghini Huracan’s and Ferrari 458’s and clearly lost every time and had people laughing at us.
Anyway, the Versa impressed me like “The Little Engine That Could”. Plus, the handling was decent. Besides the sizable dead zone in the steering.
The Versa knew what it was and lives in that reality.
So Nissan has the Versa, a little econobox that can barely do 90 miles per hour and they have the fire-breathing GTR. I love it.
Nissan is an interesting animal then. They’re one of very few manufactures out there that can pull something like that off and Nissan does it very well.
Moving into the Nissan Rogue, we get a combination of sporty-ness and practicality. It’s been somewhat of a less popular model in the brands range, but Nissan wants that to change for the 2018 Nissan Rogue.
The Specs-2018 Nissan Rogue Sport:
|Vehicle Type:||Midsize SUV|
|Power Plant:||2.0 L 4-cyl.|
|Gearbox:||6 speed auto CVT|
|MPG:||Up to 32 Highway/25 City|
|Top Speed:||120 MPH|
|0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH):||9.5 – 9.4 Seconds|
|Base Price:||$22,300 (est).|
The Nissan Rogue Sport is redesigned for the 2018 model year, and the design differences I can see give me a feeling that the Rogue wants to be taken seriously now.
Nissan redid everything on the inside and outside over the old Rogue, and I think you’ll like what you see. It’s a sharp new SUV, but there’s still a little issue I have with it that I’ll explain later.
I’ll bring up the market again. If you haven’t heard, everyone is buying SUV’s which is why you see so many manufactures creating and redesigning their crossovers and SUV’s to funnel some of the market their way.
The Rogue Sport is Nissan’s crack at it, and the SUV seems convincing enough. Especially at such a competitive price level.
The new Nissan Rogue Sport is a sharp little SUV with new technology and a surprisingly nice interior. Not something I usually say about Nissan, but that’s what competition will do. It makes better cars for all of us.
The Exterior-Nissan Rogue Sport:
So lets talk about the outside of the new Nissan Rogue Sport.
Old Nissan styling had their cars and SUV’s look a bit novelty. Like toys.
Nissan seems to be itching away at that kind of styling, as the new Nissan Rogue Sport has a much more trimmed down look to it. I’m still not crazy about the odd V-shape surrounding the Nissan logo on the grille as it is a bit of an outdated look, but the rest is pretty convincing.
On the front end, there is still plenty of the old Rogue that is still visible but the new car is much more attractive to my eyes.
The lower end of the front bumper is widened out to make the car look a bit wider and features a simple set up of two fog lights. One on each side.
Nissan’s new Rogue has eyes that are a familiar shape to the older generation with LED accented lights that come to a distinct point.
The lower grille is larger than the previous versions as well. This would usually make things more aggressive up front but the new Rogue Sport has a bit more softer look to it. An interesting direction Nissan is taking.
Nissan made the cheek bones a little more pronounced on this new model, and they seem to be the second most prominent feature on the front besides the headlights.
The shoulders of the SUV are also reshaped and more pronounced which helps the new Nissan Rogue Sport look more trimmed down. Overall the front is more sculpted than on the older generation.
Differences between the two generations continue through the side of the car. The older generation of the Nissan rogue featured a very definitively boxy outline for the windows, as the new car features sharper lines.
The roof line is much sleeker and there are a lot more pronounced features on the new car versus the old one. Much more updated. The designer really communicated what they were thinking into the car and I like seeing that.
Car design seems to be really moving toward a more sculpted looks with more distinguishing features, which is something I can really get behind.
In the back, the first thing that is pretty noticeable from first glance are the proportions of the tail lights.
The Nissan Rogue Sport has some massive tail lights relative to the rest of the rear of the car which gives a kind of cartoony feel to it.
But the rest is very nice looking. It’s a versatile cruiser and looks the part well.
Keeping with the back, it looks a lot better than the previous model. The old one looked decent, but clunky. This new SUV fixes that.
The new rear end is much more athletic looking and seems more stout. More like the name “Sport” implies.
Overall, the exterior is better looking than the previous model. A welcome change. It somehow manages to look leaner and stout but softer in the face. Interesting stuff from Nissan there.
The Interior-Nissan Rogue Sport:
The interiors of Nissans usually leave a lot on the table. Even in the GTR and 370Z NISMO have pretty basic looking interiors. I give a pass to those examples because they’re performance cars so you don’t need fake wood everywhere.
But Nissan interiors have been decently behind on their overall look in their other cars and SUV’s.
Cheap looking materials, outdated designs and just plain design kind of sum up what you see inside most Nissans.
But, it looks like the new Nissan Rogue Sport takes things to a new level.
Nissan redesigned the insides of the new Rogue Sport completely to fit a new wave of vehicles that are much better looking.
One big main change is the steering wheel. Nissan completely stopped using the over sized and particularly ugly wheel we saw in the previous model.
The new wheel is miles ahead of where it was, but perhaps too far ahead of where it should be.
If you look at the new wheel for the Nissan Rogue Sport, you get a slender and athletic looking assembly with thumb grips and a flat bottom. Just like a race car.
I’m really not sure the flat bottom is necessary at all, but it’s an attractive set up nonetheless.
The basic layout of the dashboard is pretty similar to the previous car but the new infotainment set up is much better.
Nissans new navigation screen is still on the small side of things as far as its competition goes, but the look is much cleaner.
While it is a complete redesign, the same formula is alive inside the SUV which makes it honestly hard to distinguish past the steering wheel from the previous model.
For my taste, there are a bit too many buttons but that’s only my brain. I’m sure you have your own opinions.
Overall I like the interior of the new Nissan Rogue Sport. It’s a strong restyling that definitely updates the Rogue for a new generation and I think it looks much better than the 2016 model. More technology added to the mix as well.
The Performance-Nissan Rogue Sport:
Figures for the new Rogue Sport are kind of forgettable.
Power comes from a 2.0 L naturally aspirated four cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower, with a zero to sixty sprint time of 9.5 seconds.
Handling is reported to be pretty good, which I believe and doesn’t surprise me because even my little Versa I rented in California had decent handling. Not something you really expect but it’s a nice surprise. Like a chocolate cake with some hot fudge in the middle.
The issue is how weak the SUV is. 141 HP (slightly better torque) is just enough to get the vehicle moving, but in no hurry.
Connected to the car is a CVT transmission, which should put a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. Kind of puts the whole “Sport” name into question.
The steering is referred to as lifeless as well, which again makes me question why it’s called “Sport”.
Nissans engine choice is a bit confusing as well, since the Jukes 1.6 L turbocharged four cylinder would do just fine and even better than the engine the Rogue.
Revving is noted as smooth, and a nice refinement over the previous 2.5 L engine that was a bit unpolished.
The Rogue Sport may be smaller than the bigger standard Rogue, but EPA fuel economy is actually worse on the smaller car. Which is 200 pounds less.
An issue I have with the Rogue Sport is from the name itself. I’m not a fan of automakers tagging “Sport” to seriously everything they produce. Solely to try and grab up anyone who believes it’s actually…Sporty.
The only thing that is remotely sporty about the Rogue Sport is the handling. The engine is lacking power, steering is dead and it’s an SUV for crying out loud!
Sum It Up:
So the Nissan Rogue Sport isn’t exactly sporty, but the SUV does come with some good old Nissan practicality.
The vehicle is very reasonably priced, as you can get your hands on one for $22,300. And that includes a back-up camera. Nice stuff.
While Apple Car Play and other notable technologies are not even an option for the rogue Sport, you still get a solid baby SUV option for the money. Not bad.
The release date for the new Nissan Rogue is Fall 2017.