Derek Shiekhi | Jan 25, 2021

Exterior view of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV

For the past few years, Nissan has been transforming its vehicle lineup one model at a time. As part of its all-out product blitz, Nissan has either extensively refreshed or completely redone the Altima, Versa, Sentra and Titan.

Now the Rogue joins that list. Nissan's best-selling model in the popular midsize crossover segment is all-new for 2021. It features bolder exterior styling and a completely redesigned interior available with an array of safety and infotainment technologies, including a 10.8-inch head-up display, 12.3-inch "Digital Dashboard" gauge cluster and wireless Apple CarPlay. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard across the entire model range, all of which are available with front- or all-wheel drive. In addition to the S, SV and SL, there's also the new luxurious Platinum trim level, which adds quilted semi-aniline leather seats, Nissan Door-to-Door Navigation, Bose premium audio and more.

Nissan gave me a sneak peek of the 2021 Rogue by sending me a pre-production SV with front-wheel drive and the feature-packed Premium Package. The production version of the Rogue starts at $25,650; as equipped, my special media vehicle had a projected retail price of $31,875.

2021 Nissan Rogue SV Exterior

Exterior view of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV

In terms of its physical measurements, the 2021 Rogue is close to the same size as its predecessor. According to Nissan, it's 1.5 inches shorter and 0.2 inches lower than the outgoing Rogue. But you can immediately tell the two generations apart by looking at their front ends. Nissan split the 2021 model's lighting into two distinct pieces. The slim, pointed cases for the turn signals and daytime running lights are at the top and connect to the substantially larger V-motion grille. The multi-LED headlights are a little lower down and curve into vertical openings that keep the Rogue's cheeks from looking too full.

Seeing the Rogue in profile, I can't help thinking that Nissan wanted to give its successful crossover some SUV design DNA. The Rogue has a serious, focused look to it. Bold creases run from the tips of the DRLs to the mirrors and from the rear doors to the LED taillights. Thick black fender flares arched over my test vehicle's 18-inch wheels and P235/60R18 all-season tires. Those connected to the Rogue's chunky, angular rocker panel trim pieces.

The LED taillights wrapped around the chiseled rear end and ended in fine points on the power liftgate, right below the rear glass. In between, chrome letters spelled out just what my fellow drivers around me, who had probably not seen a 2021 Rogue until I rolled past them, were looking at. More no-nonsense black plastic surrounded the lower rear fascia, which had a molded section that resembled a skid plate.

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2021 Nissan Rogue SV Interior

Interior view of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV

One look inside the cabin of the 2021 Rogue made it clear that Nissan didn't raid its parts bin to create the new model's interior. Aside from its general architecture, almost all of the major touchpoints were new to the Rogue. Nissan swapped out the old steering wheel for one with a large round horn pad and completely horizontal spokes. Instead of being incorporated into the dashboard, the 8-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system rose out of it as a separate piece. I felt the most obvious change to the Rogue every time I shifted into or out of Park. The more I used the blocky shift knob to slide to my desired gear, the more I liked it.

Adding the Premium Package to the Rogue SV moves it a little closer to the more upscale SL model. It swaps out the SV's cloth seats for ones covered in PrimaTex leatherette. Both front seats and the leather-wrapped steering wheel get a heating function. Retractable shades for the rear side windows help keep the sun out while a power panoramic moonroof lets the starlight in.

The second row was surprisingly well equipped. It had its own HVAC vents as well as USB-A and USB-C charging ports. There was more than enough legroom and headroom for me to sit in total comfort.There was also plenty of space behind the second row. On one occasion, it was enough to hold all of the bags from a $200 visit to the grocery store. On another, the rear cargo area provided the space for a pet carrier, tower fan, overnight bag full of shoes and large box of housewares I donated to my local Goodwill.

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2021 Nissan Rogue SV Powertrain

View of the engine block of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV


Nissan stuck with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 engine for the new Rogue, but it's not entirely a carryover. It features several updates and refinements, as well as higher output. Horsepower is up by 11 to 181; torque has increased by six to 181 lb-ft. An Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with paddle shifters helps route those numbers to the road.

By flipping the drive mode switch on the center console, I could change how the Rogue deployed its enhanced get-up-and-go. Standard balanced power and efficiency. Sport added a feeling of increased weight to the new Rack Electric Power Steering system and sharpened the Rogue's throttle response, which helped me discover the Rogue had some pep a little more quickly. Eco focused on keeping the Rogue's miles per gallon as high as possible. According to the EPA, the front-wheel-drive Rogue SV can get 26 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway and 29 combined. I racked up 300 (mostly city) miles in my test vehicle and averaged 27.6 mpg.

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2021 Nissan Rogue SV Safety

View of the safety features of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV

The Rogue is the latest vehicle to benefit from Nissan's push to incorporate Nissan Safety Shield 360 across its lineup. It protects occupants and even people outside of the Rogue with High Beam Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Automatic Braking. All 2021 Rogues also come with standard Intelligent Driver Alertness technology and the Rear Door Alert feature that reminds you to check your back seat (for people or things) before you exit the vehicle.

The SV trim level builds on that with the Intelligent Around View Monitor 360-degree camera system, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Intervention and Intelligent Lane Intervention. An improved, refined version of ProPilot Assist used the Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist functions to maintain the set speed and following distance and keep the Rogue in its lane.

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2021 Nissan Rogue SV Overall

Exterior view of the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV

The third-generation Rogue re-enters the fight in the midsize crossover segment with handsome new styling, generous interior space and impressive standard and available tech features. But only you can decide if the 2021 model is a winner. The best place to do that is at an AutoNation Nissan dealership.

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2021 Nissan Rogue SV Specs


4-door, 5-passenger, FWD


2.5L I4, 181 hp, 181 lb-ft
CVT automatic


26/34 mpg (city/hwy)
NHTSA Safety Rating

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★  

AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★

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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.