2021 Nissan Rogue (Platinum): Much ado about the new

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A new vehicle edition is sometimes difficult to differentiate from the previous model. Likewise, a current offering’s upgrade may be so extensive, a new generation designation seems warranted. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a new edition of the sport utility vehicle and much is new.

Nissan calls the new Rogue “completely reimagined” and all about “the modern family.” They’re marketing phrases. Translated, the debuting third generation has a healthy list of new stuff in varied areas: technology, connectivity, powertrain, rear multi-link suspension, steering, exterior and interior designs and a Platinum trim level.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a new edition of the compact SUV.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue is a new edition of the compact SUV.

The manufacturer also reports the Rogue has a new attitude, a quality hopefully cited figuratively and not a reference to the vehicle being able to verbalize its feelings
.
A five-passenger small SUV, the Nissan Rogue is available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trims. All models are propelled by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 16-value, direct-injection engine with 181 horsepower. All are matched with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional throughout the lineup. Gas mileage averages are 27 miles per gallon in city driving, 35 mpg on the freeway.

2021 Nissan Rogue: Technology Savvy

The top-line Platinum edition is a worthy choice at $36,910. It has diamond-quilted leather seats, stitched upholstery and wood trim. Technology is layperson techie: a 12.3-inch customizable digital-instrument cluster with Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Returning are Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Driver Alertness technology, Rear Door Alert and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Bbns, door pockets and other storage areas are plenty in the well-designed cabin. It works well, combining comfort, design and an overall modern, uncluttered high-quality newness. Debuting also are air curtain airbags, underbody covers, revised A-pillars and front-wheel deflectors.

Nissan also touts the Rogue as family friendly. There’s increased rear-seat legroom. And heated sear seats, sunshade shades and an independent, tri-zone climate control are also in the mix.

It’s a quality trio for the compact SUV’s price range. Different cargo space configurations are available behind the backseat with large storage bins included. It all further adds to the Rogue’s practicality.

Nissan has additionally improved the Rogue with thicker dashboard insulation, front acoustic glass, a
new multi-link rear suspension and improved aerodynamics with a muscular, more squared design. The Rogue looks, feels and drives like a higher quality vehicle than the 2020 offering. It was needed.

Worthy competitors include the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, all well-positioned with healthy shares of the marketplace.

Still, Nissan faces a rough road rebuilding the Rogue’s sales. After an all-time top year in 2018 of more than 412,000 sales in the United States, the tally stumbled to about 350,000 in 2019 as competitors also improved their choices. The 2020 stales numbers will be skewed because of the coronavirus. What 2021 will present for the Rogue is as unknown as the future of every carmaker.

There’s no doubt Nissan has improved its best-selling vehicle. But it may not make a difference. Performance has increasingly become a priority for buyers in different car segments; the Rogue’s driving grades aren’t all good. While maneuvering, turns and stability are improved, nothing has been updated with sportiness in mind.

The little SUV’s major weakness is sub-par acceleration, 0-to-60 miles per hour in 9.2 seconds. Thoughts of a swift freeway pass or a quick burst of efficient speed in a tight traffic situation aren’t recommended. The Rogue’s sound-dampening considerations are amiss. It’s a noisy machine, particularly at freeway speeds.

Fix the Nissan Rogue’s sluggishness and curtail its noisy interior, and the carmaker will revel in its compact SUV’s revitalized success. The Rogue is a solid choice, but its rivals are still more desirable.

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NEW CAR PREVIEW: 2021 Nissan Rogue

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