On The Road 12/18: 2021 Nissan Rogue SL AWD

2021 Nissan Rogue SL AWD
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2021 Nissan Rogue SL AWD

By Peter Perrotta

I find most television car commercials to be almost fairy tale like, especially around holiday time.

I mean, who really gets a new car for Christmas, or whichever holiday you happen to celebrate?

However, the commercial for the newly redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue breaks the mold a bit. It features a family driving the Rogue who can’t decide what they want to do: go to the mountains, off-road adventuring, drive in the snow or simply just go to the movies.

Of course, it’s a good thing they have their new Rogue because with the all wheel drive model five drive modes are now available: off-road, snow, standard, eco and sport. All you have to do is engage the drive-mode selector mounted on the center console and off you go.

Well, does life imitate commercials or is the commercial imitating life here?

I will leave that one to the philosophers in the crowd. But, I would have to say that after driving the new 2021 Nissan Rogue SL AWD for one week recently, I really enjoyed the new look and feel of the Rogue, and especially had fun playing with drive mode selector choosing what style I wanted to drive in on any particular day.

Nissan really went back to the drawing board in doing this redesign of its biggest selling model and gave the Rouge a much-needed makeover from the ground up, inside and out.

The previous generation Rogue, while popular, suffered from what I would call “ho-hum-ness”. For most people, it was an OK compact SUV that could get the job done but didn’t offer anything overwhelming that would make it stand out in the crowd.

The new Rogue offers more attractive styling – featuring a bit shorter and lower stance. It has a boxier, more rugged or sporty design. The interior has been upgraded with more up-to-date ergonomics and the 2.5 liter four cylinder engine gets a power boost to 181 horsepower.

Moreover, the chassis and ride quality were also upgraded giving it more adept ride and handling capabilities.

“The all new Rogue was purposely designed to meet all the needs of today’s young families,” says Mike Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. Marketing and Sales. “Rogue is playing to win in the midsize crossover game with the ideal mix of expressive design, advanced technology, safety, comfort and versatility.”

The editors at Car and Driver seem to think the new design is an overall winner.

“Historically, the Rogue has sold well against segment leaders such as Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan,” writes Car and Driver. “But, it wasn’t as good overall, languishing far down in our rankings. With this redesign, Nissan’s money maker turns up the charm in an attempt to shake off its history of mediocrity. We think they have been relatively successful (with the redesign).”

I would have to agree.

After driving this new Rogue for one week, I found it to be attractive – both inside and out – comfortable, peppy with enough new pizzazz to lift it out of the ho-hum category into a serious segment contender.

The model I drove – the SL AWD – carries a base price of $33,400. My tester added premium paint as an option for $395, $385 for a floor mat and cargo area protection package and $1,095 for destination and handling. The bottom line sticker price on my tester came in at $35,275.

The Rogue is also available in the base model S (starting at $26.745), SV ($28,425) and Platinum ($36,525).

The fuel economy ratings for the new Rogue have not been released, but Nissan claims the fuel economy has been improved slightly to 29 miles per gallon overall for the all wheel drive model and up to 30 mpg for the front wheel drive Rogues.

According to Car and Driver, on their 200 mile highway test drive, the new Rogue got an impressive 32 miles per gallon.

The new Rogue is the first Nissan to feature the Japanese auto maker’s Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology. This new technology package includes: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection; blind spot warning; rear cross traffic alert; lane departure warning; high beam assist; and rear automatic braking.

Also new in this Rogue is something Nissan calls its Vehicle Motion Control. This feature works in conjunction with its four wheel drive system and drive mode selector to provide a smoother more secure ride by making adjustments depending on the driver’s driving style and road conditions.

Overall, the newly designed Rogue is worth checking out if you are considering purchasing or leasing a compact to mid-sized SUV or crossover.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. For comments or questions he can be contacted at peter@capitalmotorcars.com