Sometime last year, I published a Nissan Rogue review for the 2020 model year. And I didn’t love it. I can definitely find something positive about everything I drive but the Rogue left me scratching my head more than anything.
In 2021, Nissan redesigned the Rogue from the ground up and I didn’t realize how much it was needed until I spent a week in this latest model.
How I Spent My Week in the 2021 Nissan Rogue
Unlike other auto writers out there, I usually don’t photograph or shoot video of my auto loan until I’ve spent almost the full week in it. It may look a little dirty but it’s been well used. I haul backseat and front seat passengers around. I take short and long trips. And I quickly learn what I like and what I don’t.
During the week, I picked up. my mom and sister and we went with my son to the National Electronics Museum. I’m a fan of odd little museums like this so it was the perfect expedition for the Nissan Rogue.
We spent an hour or so learning about telephones and computers and televisions and satellites and, to be honest, most of it went over my head. But it got us out of the house on a hot summer afternoon.
We then headed over to Cracker Barrel for a lunch that was acceptable to all parties (my family is full of picky eaters) and I spent too much time shopping in their store (it’s a guilty pleasure of mine).
There were no complaints about any aspect of the car from any of the passengers (and trust me, I would have heard about it) including the driver (me!). So what’s so great about the 2021 Nissan Rogue and, more importantly, what makes it better than the 2020 Rogue?
What’s New in the 2021 Nissan Rogue
To really assess the Rogue, I took it to one of my favorite spots for filming videos where I happened to share the space with another mode of transportation.
We did have to be a little strategic about where we stepped when filming and photographing the Rogue for reasons, well, you know.
One of the main things I loved about this new Rogue is the design. It’s changed on the outside and inside and I didn’t realize how much updating it needed until I really started assessing it.
It has a boxier, cleaner design on the exterior that’s really accented by the two tone Boulder Grey Pearl and Super Black (available for a $350 upcharge). It’s well supported by 19″ alloy wheels (I don’t love the design but that’s a matter of taste). And it still feels true to the Nissan family.
Lighting is also a big part of the new Rogue, offering LED headlights, daytime running lights, tail lamps, and fog lights. On this model, it was also outfitted with interior accent lighting ($350) and illuminated kickplates ($400), both of which seem like indulgent options.
On the interior, you’ll also find some thoughtful design changes. My favorite was this hideaway space just under the driver console that I found perfect for my summer purse. It’s also a good spot to stash your electronics or necessary things like wipes or masks.
As far as seats go, the driver’s seat offered killer lumbar support and even the back saw some welcome changes. The rear console is now a little more traditional but a lot more functional.
The cargo space remains mainly unchanged but still offers the Divide and Hide system, that I finally seemed to get the hang of.
The Driver’s Seat
From the driver’s seat, you’ll notice quite a few changes as well. The cockpit is accented with a 9″ infotainment screen (part of the SL Premium Package), D-shaped steering wheel, and a square shifter for controlling the transmission.
What isn’t as obvious is the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as USB-A and USB-C connections. You don’t need to plug in to use your phone but you do need to plug it in to charge (unless you opt for the available wireless charging pad).
The engine gains some horsepower, now at 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. It can be a little heavy at lower speeds but when accelerating to highways speeds, the torque makes it very responsive. And as a nice little touch, they’ve added a capless fuel filler.
You’ll find that the 2021 Nissan Rogue SL comes with a tremendous amount of safety features like an Advanced Air Bag System, Brake Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking (which I accidentally put to the test in my driveway), Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and more.
With all of that, it’s almost like the car can drive itself. And that’s almost true. Nissan also offers the ProPILOT Assist with the SL Premium package. This allows for virtually autonomous driving on the highway, as well as a leap of faith! It’s actually pretty cool and I got to try it when I drove the Nissan Leaf in Vermont a few years ago.
Final Thoughts on the 2021 Nissan Rogue
If you like the Nissan Rogue but didn’t love last year’s model, this one was worth waiting for. It offers a lot of improvements, both cosmetic and functional. And it’s prettier. It’s also pretty fuel efficient offering an average of 28 mpg, which is what I observed.
The price for the model I drive is $37,575 with the following breakdown:
External Ground Lighting: $350
Two-Tone Paint: $350
Illuminated Kick Plates: $400
Frameless Rearview Mirror with Universal Remote: $310
SL Premium Package: $1320
Destination Charges: $1095
The pricing is a little on the high side as there aren’t a lot of deals in the market right now but that’s generally true for all car deals at the moment. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a solid pick in my book (especially in that color!).