Buyers who like Nissan’s popular Rogue crossover but don’t need quite that much truck might find the Rogue Sport to be a perfect fit.
What is it?
The Nissan Rogue Sport is a compact crossover that shares much with its best-selling Rogue parent. BestRide’s Nicole Wakelin wrote up a nice comparison of the differences between them, summarized as the Rogue Sport being shorter and having a smaller engine.
Pricing and trims
As of this early 2019 writing, the Nissan USA website was still pitching the 2018.5 Rogue Sport, which upgraded the standard active safety features across all three Rogue Sport trims, a move we applaud.
Those three trims – S, SV and SL – can all be ordered with front- or all-wheel drive. Prices start at $22,110 for the front-wheel drive S and peak at $28,540 for the all-wheel drive SL. These start about $3,000 lower than those of the larger comparable Rogues.
This tester was an SV AWD, base price $25,090. It had the $2,420 Technology Package, which includes the $920 All-Weather Package (fog lights, remote start, heated seats, steering wheel, and outside mirrors) and adds “intelligent” cruise control and Around View monitor, navigation, mobile apps, voice recognition and a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen.
Total with options and the $925 destination charge: $28,435.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet crash-tested the Rogue Sport, which is surprising, since it’s now in its third year on the U.S. market.
However it is promising that its Rogue parent aced all but the headlight tests.
The 2018.5 Rogue Sport makes Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and other active safety features standard on all trims.
All Rogue Sports arrive with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It produces 141 horsepower, which is 29 horses less than the 2.5-liter in the larger Rogue.
Using Nissan’s measurements for curb weights, the Rogue is heavier than the Rogue Sport by almost exactly 400 pounds. Do the math and you’ll see that despite the Rogue Sport’s lighter weight, each of its horses have two more pounds to move than do those of the heavier Rogue.
This measurement is borne out over the road, as the Rogue Sport is peppy enough off the line but requires some waiting for merging and overtaking.
The Rogue Sport’s CVT transmission was uninvolving in its operation, and its occasionally exaggerated responses indicated its eschewing of traditional gears. You can adjust its simulated gear steps up and down, but there’s no Sport mode to firm up the programming.
Ride and handling
The Rogue Sport resembles its Rogue parent in feeling like a vehicle that’s larger than it actually is, and this translates over the road with a compliant ride. The Rogue Sport is listed as a compact crossover, but its curb weight slots in close to 3,400 pounds, so there’s physical confirmation that you’re driving something sturdy and substantial. The smoothness and relative quiet you experience reinforce that.
There’s not much steering feel or general communication when speeds climb, but Rogue Sport buyers appreciating the attributes above will likely not miss these in the bargain.
Notably cozy front seats have become a Nissan hallmark, and the Rogue Sport’s fall in line, with thick padding that seems to hit in all the right places.
The SV’s seat fabric is eye-catching and grippy, and specifying the grey interior would go a step further to lighten up the unrelenting black plastic comprising the Rogue Sport’s interior surroundings.
The rear seat is a big place for differences between the Rogue and Rogue Sport. Front legroom is about the same, but the Rogue Sport has significantly less in the rear – a 4.5-inch deficit compared to the Rogue. Hiproom is down about the same amount.
So it somewhat confirms the marketing line that the Rogue Sport has enough room for singles and their tidy-sized friends, but buyers who need family-grade capacity would likely stick with the Rogue.
The roominess behind the tailgate seems to confirm that the largest chunk taken from the Rogue to make the Rogue Sport came from the rear seat, as the cargo area behind drops only about nine cubic feet, to measure 61.1 cubic feet when the second row is folded.
The cargo floor is helpfully divided into indented spaces that naturally stabilize grocery bags, and the rear seats fold flat to easily hold, say, the dining room chairs your new kittens have clawed.
Infotainment and controls
The Rogue Sport shares the Rogue’s easy-to-use instrument panel, which presents its controls amid swooping shapes that add to the Rogue Sport’s robust feel.
The seven-inch screen is simple to use, though it took some digging to figure out how to access phone music via Bluetooth. The screen informed us that the sound system was Bluetooth-capable, but it turned out to be accessible by repeatedly tapping the AUX button, which was listed with another label in the owner’s manual. A non-issue, once it was learned.
The Rogue is Nissan’s top seller in part because its consistent competence and comfort. The Sport in the tester’s name is misapplied in terms of the driving experience; the Rogue Sport is a relaxed cruiser at heart.
This works to the Rogue Sport’s advantage, because while the Buick Encore Sport Touring and Honda HR-V are more engaging to drive, they lack the settled maturity imparted by the Rogue Sport’s bigger bones, which are appreciated by a wide section of buyers.
2018 Nissan Rogue Sport SV AWD
Base price: $25,090
Price as tested, including $925 destination charge: $28,435
Technology Package: $2,420
Includes the All-Weather Package:
- Fog lights
- Heated outside mirrors
- Remote Engine Start System with Intelligent Climate Control
- Quick Comfort® heated front seats
- Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Leather-wrapped shift knob
Along with these features:
- Intelligent Cruise Control
- Intelligent Around View® Monitor
- Nissan Navigation System
- NissanConnect® Mobile Apps
- NissanConnect® Services powered by SiriusXM® with 3-year Select and 6-month Premium Plus Complimnetary Trial Access
- Nissan Voice Recognition for audio and navigation
- 7.0″ color touch-screen display
- SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link with 3-month complimentary trial access
- Cargo capacity
- Front-seat comfort, smooth ride
- Substantial feel
- Uninvolved driving experience
- Tight rear-seat legroom