You might not expect the Nissan Rogue to be a top contender in a segment (the crossover SUV) packed with other vehicles, but this SUV more than holds its own. Totally redesigned for the model year, the 2021 Rogue line-up offers a variety of strong trim levels that come with a number of much-needed updates.
This marks the first entry into the third Rogue generation. The second generation saw some struggles with its later models, so the Rogue got lost in the crowd. This year, though, Nissan gets a lot of things right on the all-new Rogue. For starters, the Rogue now has more standard features than ever before. This means more available infotainment and safety features - things that drivers are demanding. ProPilot Assist now comes with adaptive cruise control that is linked to the navigation system. This slows the vehicle down when upcoming curves are detected.
Other new features include a re-tuned transmission. In addition to the lighter curb weight and modestly more powerful engine, the Nissan Rogue now feels a bit more powerful and capable. You will also see some changes to the exterior, including a front fascia that has a boxier look capped off by signature LED headlights. The cabin looks markedly different too, especially when you peek inside of the line-topping Platinum trim level. Instead of the former Rogue's cheap, hard piano black plastic surfaces you will see quilted leather seats, ambient interior lighting, soft touch surfaces, and a digital instrument cluster.
While the 2021 Nissan Rogue might not be listed as Number One in its class, it sure comes close. Might this redesigned crossover be the one for you? Let's go over its various trim levels in order to help you make that decision. Be sure to read through to the end, which is where we will let you know which trim level we think is the best overall deal.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Rogue S vs SV - What is the Difference?
Starting off this review of the 2021 Nissan Rogue is the base trim level, the S. It is followed up by a second trim level known as the SV. Both of these trims come with a 2.5-L 4-cylinder engine that, for this new generation of Rogues, has been tweaked to receive a power output of 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and - unfortunately - Nissan's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is not available. The drivetrain does include paddle shifters, an electronic shifter, and Eco and Sport modes.
There are standard front and rear vented disc brakes are accompanied by a 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution, and an electronic parking brake. There is an independent strut front suspension, an independent multi-link suspension for the rear, stabilizer bars for the front and rear, and electric power steering that is able to sense the vehicle's speed.
Now, let's talk driver aids, because there are a few differences here. Both trim levels come with Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection on the Automatic Emergency Braking feature, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a rear sonar system, rear automatic braking, high beam assist, Vehicle Dynamic Control with a Traction Control System, Intelligent Trace Control, Active Ride Control, Automatic Brake Hold, and Intelligent Driver Alertness.
To that, the SV adds an Intelligent Around-View camera system (instead of the standard rear-view camera), Intelligent Blind Spot Monitoring, and ProPilot Assist.
Now for a few outside features include the S's 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and the SV's 18-inch aluminum alloys. Both come with all-season tires. They also each have intelligent high beam headlights, LED daytime running lights with the LED headlights, and LED taillights. There are body-colored side mirrors, a rear spoiler, UV-reducing solar glass, and rear privacy glass. The SV adds LED turn indicators and heating to the side mirrors, optional roof rails, an optional power liftgate, and an optional panoramic dual pane power moonroof.
As far as creature comforts go, you get an in-cabin micro-filter, vents in the rear, a rear door alert, one-touch auto up/down on the power driver's window, auto-locking on the power locking doors, a tilting and telescoping steering column, variable intermittent windshield wipers that have flat blades, an intermittent rear windshield wiper, two 12-volt DC power outlets, dual sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, four cup holders, four bottle holders, seatback pockets on both front seats, and four cargo tie-down hooks. The SV adds the Intelligent Key system with a Push Button Ignition, Remote Engine Start with an Intelligent Climate Control function, and dual-zone automatic climate control. There is also an option for adding rear sun shades.
Seating on the S includes a 6-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, which becomes 8-way power-adjustable with 2-way power lumbar support on the SV trim. The front passenger's seat is 4-way manually-adjustable on both. 60/40-split folding rear seats are standard, as are seats with cloth trim. The SV does have options for leatherette seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating, and heating on the front seats.
Let's move on to infotainment features. Both trims come with the Advanced Drive Assist Display, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, voice recognition, smartphone app integration via Android Auto, a hands-free text messaging assistant, Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/CD listening (with a 4-speaker system on the S and 6-speaker system on the SV), an auxiliary audio input jack, USB ports (a USB port and one charging port on the S; 2 USB ports and 2 charging ports on the SV), SiriusXM Satellite Radio connectivity, a radio data system, and volume control that is speed sensitive. Note that wireless Apple CarPlay isn't even an option until you get to the SL trim.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Rogue SV vs SL - What is the Difference?
Speaking of the SL trim, it is time to pit it against the SV. The SL offers the same powertrain configuration, so do not expect any differences there. Where the changes happen is with the features. Driver aids see a few additions, including an optional Navi-Link system on ProPilot Assist, an optional front and rear sonar system, and an optional traffic sign recognition system.
The wheels get upgraded to 19-inch aluminum alloys, and the outside sees a few more upgrades. There are LED fog lights, roof rails, a motion activated liftgate, and a dual panel panoramic moonroof.
The cabin sees more standard features as well. Added convenience features include a tri-zone automatic climate control system, rear sun shades, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, reverse tilt-down on the side mirrors, and the Drive-N-Hide Cargo System. Seating upgrades include power adjustability on the front passenger seat, a memory system for the side mirrors and driver seat, leather-appointed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with standard heating, and heating for the front seats.
The list of infotainment features grows a bit. You can opt for a digital dash with fully digital gauges, an optional 9-inch touchscreen display, optional Premium Traffic on the Door to Door Navigation system, optional NissanConnect Services that arepowered by SiriusXM (which includes a trial access period to 5-year Plus, 5-year Select, and the 6-month Premium package), optional wireless integration for Apple CarPlay, an optional 3-month trial subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, and an optional Bose Premium Sound System with a dual-driver woofer.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Rogue SL vs Platinum - What is the Difference?
If you upgrade to the line-topping Platinum trim level, you can get more standard features but no changes to the mechanical specs. The driver aids that were optional on the SL now come standard, meaning you get Navi-Link with ProPilot Assist, a full (front, rear, and side) sonar system, and traffic recognition.
On the outside, the wheels remain the same 19-inch aluminum alloys, and most of the exterior trim and design elements are the same. Inside, you will find chic new accent lighting, quilted Semi-Aniline leather-appointed seats that are padded for maximum comfort, and standard heating on the rear seats. (Note that ventilation is not available on the front seats at all, just heating.)
As far as tech upgrades go, the Premium trim level gives you the fully digital dashboard as a standard feature. You cannot opt for the standard one found on the lower trim levels. Other standard features include the 9-inch NissanConnect touchscreen infotainment system, Nissan's Door to Door Navigation System with the Premium Traffic function, a head-up display, NissanConnect Services, wireless integration with Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, the Bose Premium Sound System, and a wireless charger.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 Nissan Rogue offers four different trim levels that, for their price, are well-packed with standard features. The one thing that we find a bit odd is that smartphone app integration is limited to Android Auto as standard on the three lower trims. Reserving Apple CarPlay for the highest trim seems counter-intuitive for Nissan as most of its competitors offer both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard across the entire line-up. Had Nissan done this, we would have been even more impressed by the redesigned Rogue.
That being said, there is one trim level that we think stands out above the other three. That honor goes to the SV trim level. While it is only the second trim level up, it provides the right balance between price, power, and standard features. For about $2,000 more than what you would pay for the base S trim level, the SV gives you a bevy of additional standard features while leaving you with quite a few options. Having the ProPilot Assist system is a huge bonus since you get advanced cruise control and lane departure warning.
The Platinum costs about $10,000 more than the base S trim level, but it is absolutely an attractive option for anyone who has a larger budget. It offers more luxury-oriented features than the lower trim levels and gives you wireless Apple CarPlay integration - a huge bonus for iPhone owners. But the Platinum does nothing to boost power output, so for those focusing on driving performance, you might be disappointed in the lack of a power upgrade. The standard 2.5-L engine does alright, but for the price, you should be able to get something with a little more power.
Overall, we think that buyers will enjoy the 2021 Nissan Rogue. It is inching its way up in the competition now thanks to the overhaul this model year, so 2021 is definitely the year to invest in the ever-popular Rogue. Go for the SV trim level and save some cash while gaining access to a lot of handy driver aids and some refined interior design elements. The Rogue's comfort levels and smooth driving performance are bound to satisfy many drivers this year.
• Compare the 2020 Nissan Rogue Trim Levels