Nissan adds more features and power to its top-selling Rogue with next-gen redesign

Source: Globe and Mail

Nissan's best-selling Rogue compact SUV is redesigned for 2021 with more features and more power. The next-generation vehicle will be available in Canada this fall, though an exact date and pricing is not yet confirmed.

The current Rogue starts with an MSRP of $27,498, plus $1,950 freight and PDI, and rises through four more trim levels to $37,998, plus freight and PDI. The new model has only three trim levels but will probably be priced about the same. "We have every intention of keeping Rogue as Nissan's No. 1 volume (seller) in Canada," says Steve Milette, president of Nissan Canada. "If it's not priced right, it won't attain that objective."

Nissan says the new Rogue's most basic trim level will offer more standard features than its current Special Edition, which starts at $28,498 (or $2,200 more for all-wheel drive). Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel will be standard in Canada, as well as dual-zone climate control, push-button start and the various driver's assistance features of Nissan's Safety Shield 360. Those include emergency braking at both front and back, lane-departure warning and automatically dipping high-beams.

There will be only one engine: a 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder that's shared with the Altima sedan. It creates 181 horsepower, up 11 hp from before, and 181 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 6 lb.-ft.

Fuel consumption is not yet official for Canada, but U.S models claim 8.7 L/100 km in the city and 6.7 on the highway for the basic FWD trim level, with a combined average of 7.8 L/100 km. This is an improvement of 0.4 L/100 km on the existing, less powerful model.

The entire vehicle is redesigned for this third generation, with a new front grille and LED headlights. The body is stiffer and more aerodynamic and 3.8 centimetres shorter than the current Rogue, and Nissan says both the steering and the suspension have been improved. It's built on an all-new platform and chassis that weighs about 40 kg less than before, thanks mostly to the extra use of lightweight materials.

"There's really been a strong effort in improving the overall presence and the stance of the vehicle," says Scott Pak, Nissan Canada's senior manager for product planning. "Other small crossovers have been criticized in the past as being a little bit soft, but not this one. Definitely, the bold presence is something the customer wanted. When you look at this vehicle, you see it's a bit more upright, it has more posture, it's a little bit more aggressive."

There are three separate electronic drive modes for the FWD Rogues - standard, eco, and sport - and five modes for AWD versions, adding off-road and snow. An all-new Vehicle Motion Control System monitors the steering, acceleration and braking, and uses the individual brakes to smooth out the drive. In the top-end models equipped with ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link, the Rogue even uses GPS data to reduce speed for highway exits and junctions. Those Rogues can also follow traffic and come to a complete stop for up to 30 seconds before automatically resuming the drive.

Nissan calls the interior of the new SUV a "family hub," with plenty of space for passengers and storage. The shift lever for the continuously variable transmission is now electronic, which allows for storage space beneath the floating centre console. The rear doors are extra wide and now open up to 85 degrees - a few more degrees than before. "When you're talking about trying to get a child seat in there, every millimetre counts," says Pak.

Nissan says the ride is quieter, with acoustic laminated glass now standard in the side windows. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, while wireless Apple CarPlay - which automatically connects your iPhone to the Rogue without having to take it from your pocket or bag - is available with the top-end Platinum trim.

There are now only three trim levels, and Nissan claims each is better equipped than the equivalent competition. The two lower trims offer either FWD or AWD, while the Platinum level has only AWD.

The mid-level SV trim includes 18-inch wheels (an inch larger than the basic trim), ProPilot Assist for semi-autonomous driving, a panoramic sunroof and a separate available package with heated rear seats and a power lift-gate. The Platinum trim also includes a heads-up display on the windshield and a fully-digital 12.3-inch screen in the instrument cluster, wireless charging, a premium Bose audio system and 19-inch wheels, among other features.

"We don't see great value in putting out an under-equipped vehicle at a low cost. It doesn't add value to the brand perception," says Marcel Guay, Nissan Canada's Chief Marketing Manager for SUVs.

"We've focused on what's most important in terms of features, and really reduced the number of trims and powertrains to what brings the most value to our customers. That's really been our strategy here: Keep the lineup simple, bring value at each trim point and go to market that way."

Tech specs

  • Price (estimated): $28,000 - $39,000
  • Engine: 2.5-litre inline four DOHC direct-injection, 181 hp, 181 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission/Drive: CVT / FWD and AWD
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): FWD: 8.7 city, 6.7 hwy, 7.8 comb.; AWD: 9.0 city, 7.1 hwy, 8.1 comb.
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