By Shari Prymak

The significance of the Nissan Rogue cannot be understated. It is the best-selling vehicle in the Nissan lineup and a popular choice in the trendy compact crossover segment. The outgoing version, however, which has been around since 2013, had largely lost its competitive edge and was being kept on a lifeline with the help of strong manufacturer cash rebates and zero percent financing. For 2021, Nissan has finally given the Rogue the attention it deserves with a comprehensive overhaul that should get the attention of consumers.

From a visual standpoint, the Rogue makes a great first impression. The bold lines, two-tone colour options, intricate lighting and front grill design really come together to create a strong, attractive look. Despite appearing larger and more substantial than the outgoing model, the new design is actually dimensionally a tad smaller for better maneuverability. Practicality-wise, the Rogue makes a few significant improvements with a more accommodating interior, wide-opening rear doors, and a wider cargo opening for easier access, loading, and unloading. The Rogue has long been one of more spacious crossovers in its class and the latest version is no different.

Step into the interior and it becomes immediately clear where Nissan sunk a good amount of its resources. The fit and finish of the interior surfaces are high quality and visually impressive, particularly on the top end Platinum trim with its semi-aniline quilted nappa leather upholstery, two-tone materials, wood and textured trim. The memory foam-filled “Zero Gravity” seats are comfortable and surrounded by plenty of handy storage areas and USB ports for connecting devices. Rear seat occupants aren’t left out either with available rear climate controls, sunshades, and heated rear seats. Like most of the controls, the centre touchscreen infotainment system is straightforward to use with a well-designed user interface and sharp-looking graphics.

The Rogue’s updated platform provides a solid driving feel with good ride quality, sound isolation, and body control. The drivetrain has been updated as well with a new 2.5L 4-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. It can be feel a bit lacking in power when pushed hard, especially when compared to some of its turbocharged rivals. Under normal driving scenarios, the engine and continuously variable transmission work very effectively and seamlessly. Fuel economy is rated at 9.2L/100km in the city and 7.2L/100km on the highway. Front wheel drive is standard on the base S and SV trim levels, but all-wheel drive is available as an option and comes standard on the top Platinum model.

The Rogue S FWD starts at a competitive $28,498 with a long list of features that includes heated front seats, heated steering wheel, Nissan Connect 8.0 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and Nissan Full Safety Shield 360 which consists of front and rear intelligence emergency braking, blind-spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist, and lane departure warning. SV and Platinum trims add a surround view monitor plus Nissan’s ProPILOT assist which offers effective semi-autonomous driving capability on the highway. Unique features on the $39,998 Platinum model include a 10-speaker Bose sound system, head-up display,  larger 9.0 inch infotainment system, and a sharp-looking 12.3 inch customizable digital instrument display.

Being the brand’s most important model, it is clear that Nissan invested all the necessary resources and pulled out all the stops to make this the best Rogue to date. Nissan put everything they had at their disposal into this one and it shows. With its updated design, top-notch interior and class-leading technology, the Rogue has just about everything it needs to hold its own against the segment stalwarts such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In terms of features and value for money, it is a standout and a top recommendation.