A white 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is shown from the front driving on a highway.

Performance Meets Practicality in the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport

The increasingly bland compact crossover segment contains a dash of cayenne pepper in the form of the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport. Nissan’s junior-sized Rogue spinoff carves off a few inches of length to appeal to city dwellers and buyers seeking a smaller, less expensive SUV. With the Rogue Sport, what you sacrifice in size, you gain back in agility and purchase price savings.

Starting at under $24,000, the Rogue Sport is a more affordable version of Nissan’s popular compact crossover SUV. It features a nimble 2.0 liter, 141 horsepower 4-cylinder engine and offers a generous 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Available in three trims – the base S, the mid-range SV, and the top-of-the-line SL – the Rogue Sport never crosses the $30,000 threshold, making it supremely affordable.

The Rogue Sport is also available in all-wheel drive, a feature that comes in handy during inclement weather, especially snow and ice. And even when equipped with the optional all-wheel drive powertrain, the Rogue Sport still remains an under-$30,000 option. Full of standard safety equipment and driver-assist systems, Nissan’s compact Rogue Sport is an excellent choice for young families and new drivers or anyone seeking a car that received high ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

There’s a lot to discover in this small but mighty compact crossover, including infotainment and technology, remote connectivity, and a surprisingly luxurious cabin with clever hidden storage and available comfort and convenience upgrades. The fuel-efficient, affordable-to-own Rogue Sport is a contender if your wishlist includes an affordable SUV with a little attitude and plenty of curb appeal.

Trims, Comfort Features and Fuel Economy

The Rogue Sport’s trim lineup consists of three different trims, the S, the SR, and the SL, all available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive if you need a little extra help on wet, slippery days. Compared with others in its class, the Rogue Sport is very well-equipped at the entry S end. You’ll find 17-inch wheels and Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of driver-assist systems that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and more. Also standard is a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Bump up to the SV, and the standard features increase substantially. This is the sweet spot of the lineup, where value and equipment are both at the high end. The SV features dual-zone automatic temperature control, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, fog lights, roof rails for hauling skis and kayaks, and a leather-wrapped shift knob – all for just a hair over $25,000.

The top-end SL features 19-inch wheels, leather seating, and ProPILOT Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition and a bird’s eye camera system for a 360-degree view around the vehicle. Intelligent Driver Alertness is also standard and works by monitoring the driver for signs of fatigue, recommending a break when it senses one is needed. Interior refinements include leather-appointed seats and Nissan door-to-door navigation with real-time traffic data, along with a 3-month trial of SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link.

Add more luxury features to the already upscale SL with the optional Premium Package. The Premium Package includes LED headlights, fog lights, driver’s seat and outside mirror memory system, power sliding moonroof, and an upgraded Bose premium audio system that includes a subwoofer. The package adds just over $2,000 to the price tag.

The black interior of a 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Rogue Sport appeals to buyers looking to stay connected on the road because of its robust infotainment and app-based technology features. All models come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, making streaming playlists or displaying directions easy. These systems also let drivers access apps and stay in communication with features like voice-activated texting.

Opt for a Rogue Sport equipped with door-to-door navigation, and you’ll get access to a system that shares information with your smartphone and integrates current traffic conditions. It even provides a handy walking map to help you locate where you parked your car after a long day of shopping or errands. Navigation is displayed on a bright, accessible 7-inch touchscreen located at the center of the dash for easy and safe operation.

Nissan Connect is a service-based program to which Rogue Sport owners can subscribe. The program is compatible with Amazon Alexa smart home devices, allowing owners to remote start, lock, and unlock the doors, flash the lights, and even set the cabin temperature with a simple voice command. The system is also compatible with Google Assistant and offers the same capabilities.

The robust NissanConnect Services system also offers a smartphone app with similar functionalities, along with advanced search features that let you hunt for local restaurants or points of interest along your route. The app can send results directly to the Rogue Sport’s onboard navigation system, creating a seamless and convenient communication interchange.

Not all of Nissan Connect’s functionality is about convenience and entertainment, however. The system is wired with Automatic Collision Notification, which triggers a call to emergency services when the airbags are deployed. The driver can also initiate a request for assistance via the one-touch button in the cabin. In addition, roadside assistance is included with Nissan Connect.

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

For 2021, all Nissan Rogue Sport trims include standard Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of advanced driver-assist systems powered by radar and a series of cameras. These systems monitor the area around the vehicle to help mitigate crashes or other potential driving hazards, informing the driver via alerts and subtle driving corrections when a change is recommended or necessary.

A white 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport is shown driving on a highway.

Safety Shield 360 includes:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Intelligent Lane Intervention
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • RearView Monitor
  • Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
  • Rear Sonar System
  • Rear Automatic Braking

While each system has its own independent function, they work together to help drivers avoid common driving hazards, such as an unexpected object entering the lane of travel.

Combined, the Rogue Sport offers more standard driver-assist features than any other vehicle in the category, but safety doesn’t stop there. The Rogue Sport includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with an individual tire display, so you don’t have to guess which tire needs air. In addition, the system alerts you when your tire has reached the recommended inflation, another convenience that takes the guesswork out of filling your tires.

Under the attractive exterior, this 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport means business. The vehicle is designed to provide maximum protection for occupants. Multiple strategically-located dual-stage airbags combine with special zone body construction that’s designed to crumple – like an accordion – and absorb crash energy away from the driver and passengers. Every facet of the Rogue Sport’s design, from the steering wheel to the brake pads, is designed to optimize safety.

A Right-Sized SUV

The Rogue Sport is larger than most of its competitors, offering a viable option for both subcompact and compact buyers. With 96 cubic feet of passenger space and seating for five, along with up to 61.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity (22.9 cubic feet with all the seats up), it reminds us of Goldilocks. The Rogue Sport is neither too big nor too small, making it a “just-right” option for both urban dwellers and small families.

If you’re looking for an agile, right-sized SUV with plenty of tech and advanced safety engineering, look no further than the 2021 Nissan Rogue Sport. Whether you choose the affordable S trim or a fully-loaded SL trim with all-wheel drive, you won’t find a more complete option in the category. Nissan describes the Rogue Sport as a “street-savvy, road-trip-ready” SUV, and with a starting price well under $25,000, its mass appeal isn’t hard to understand.