Nissan offers two flavors of the Rogue crossover, the standard Rogue, which competes with the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, and the smaller Rogue Sport, which rivals the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR. Nissan recently revamped the larger Rogue for the 2021 model year, but how does the older Rogue Sport compete with its rivals? For the 2020 model year the Rogue Sport has received a mild facelift that gives it a sportier face.
On the outside the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport has received a new hood, front bumper, headlights and an updated V-Motion grille. Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance technologies also comes standard across the lineup, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist.
We do like the Rogue Sport’s new face, which is now more aggressive, to help it stand out in the crowded subcompact crossover segment. The more sculpted face not only grabs your attention more, but it also looks classier. Standard LED daytime running lights also top off the look. At the rear the biggest update are new taillights and at the top of the range, the SL trim level gets stylish new 19-inch alloy wheels.
The Rogue Sport measures 172.8-inches long, which means that it’s about two inches longer than the HR-V, but basically the same length as the C-HR. What’s interesting is even if the Rogue Sport is shorter than the Rogue, it’s the same width as the 2020 Rogue at 72.3 inches. That helps the Rogue Sport feel more spacious inside than its rivals.
Under the hood the Rogue Sport is only available with one engine, a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder is mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive is optional. That horsepower rating is on par with its Honda and Toyota rivals, but we do wish that the Rogue Sport had a bit more “sport” under the hood. Around town it has adequate power, but accelerating on the highway takes patience.
Accelerating the Rogue Sport isn’t entirely fun, since it takes longer than expected to get up to higher speeds and the CVT doesn’t really help either.
Just like the engine, the Rogue Sport’s suspension and steering aren’t very sporty. The steering is too light and there’s too much understeer when you push the Rogue Sport hard. Again around town the average driver probably won’t notice these shortcomings, since it does feel a bit nimble when you’re running errands.
The Rogue Sport isn’t the most fuel efficient subcompact crossover, since it’s rated at 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined with front wheel drive. The HR-V beats it with its 28/34/30 mpg rating.
Inside the Rogue Sport’s interior feels comfortable. The dashboard has a simple layout without too many frills and the visibility from the high seats is great. At the front there’s plenty of headroom and legroom, but the legroom in the rear is not plentiful. The Rogue Sport has 33.4-inches of rear legroom, which pales in comparison to the HR-V’s 39.3-inches of rear legroom. Cargo space with the rear seat up comes in at 22.9 cubic feet, which expands to 61.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
The Rogue Sport comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment system is pretty basic with graphics that feel a few years old.
The Rogue Sport is available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL. The entry level S starts at $24,525, including the destination charge. It comes standard with the Safety Shield 360 suite, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 16-inch wheels. The SV trim level starts at $26,390 and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, push button start, and roof rails. The top of the line SL trim level starts at $29,695 and adds leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, ProPilot Assist, a surround-view camera and a navigation system.
At the end of the day, the Rogue Sport is a stylish subcompact crossover for buyers that want something a bit more upscale than its sibling the Nissan Kicks. The Rogue Sport has a more spacious and upscale interior than the Kicks and it looks a bit sportier than the larger Rogue. Would we recommend the Rogue Sport over other subcompact crossovers, like the Honda HR-V, Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona? The Rogue Sport may have a few stand out features, but it also costs more than its rivals.