Not only does the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport give its maker a promising addition to an extensive lineup of cars, trucks, crossovers and an SUV, it has the potential to boost the Rogue to the top of the sales heap.
All-new (to the U.S.), the crossover Sport is smaller than its compact sibling. Its length is a foot shorter, height six inches shorter and the interior volume is smaller by about nine cubic feet — almost all of it from the cargo area. It also is lighter by couple of hundred pounds and has a less powerful engine.
The Rogue Sport has been sold as the Qashqai around the world since 2006. The name comes from an area in Iran and one source says it translates as “a horse with a white forehead.” Nissan Americanized it to bolster the Rogue lineup.
There’s the opportunity. Because it uses the same Rogue name, the Sport’s sales likely will be combined with the larger model. It would be as if the subcompact crossover Honda HR-V’s sales were lumped in with the best-selling compact CR-V.
In 2016, Honda CR-V sales totaled 357,335, compared to the Rogue’s 329,904. However, the Rogue, which is Nissan’s best seller, has been nipping away at the CR-V and passed it in the first quarter of 2017 with 101,421 sales compared to 94,057 for the CR-V.
A quarter, of course, does not necessarily portend what will happen over an entire calendar year. But the addition of the Rogue Sport to the Rogue’s sales statistics enhances its prospects to overtake the leader.
It is possible that the Rogue and Rogue Sport numbers will be reported separately. But an analogous precedent could be the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, whose sales are combined. The former is a large, three-row crossover and the latter is a midsize, two-row crossover.
However it is viewed, the new Rogue Sport is an intriguing vehicle. Its tidier dimensions and lighter weight make for nimble handling in urban traffic and clogged freeways. The 141-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, sending its power through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), provides decent acceleration off the line and good passing power thanks to Nissan’s D-Step tuning of the CVT, which mimics the kick-down passing gear of a standard automatic.
The Rogue Sport delivers spacious comfort up front with seats that offer support for long-distance driving. In back, the outboard seats have enough head and knee room for average-sized humans, though the center-rear position—as in most vehicles these days—is substantially less comfortable with foot room limited by a floor hump.
Out back, there’s a cargo area of 23 cubic feet, about double what you’d find in a compact sedan. Fold the rear seatbacks and the cargo area expands to 61 cubic feet.
Like the Rogue itself, the Rogue Sport comes with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as a $1,350 option on all three trim levels: S, which starts at $22,380; SV at $23,980, and SL at $27,030. Tested for this review was an all-wheel drive SL with two options packages that brought its suggested delivered price to $31,365.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT are standard on all models, as is a basic suite of safety equipment; a fully independent suspension system, and electric power steering with a sport setting. When the sport setting is engaged, it increases the steering effort, so slightly that it’s almost unnoticeable.
With its options packages, the top-line SL came with adaptive cruise control, rear camera with around-view monitor, lane departure monitoring and prevention, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert.
SL equipment also included leather-appointed front seats, the Nissan Connect system with navigation, Sirius XM satellite radio and other services, a 7-inch color touch-screen display, remote engine starting, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, motorized glass sunroof, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fog lights, heated outside mirrors, and leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel.
An innovative “Divide-N-Hide” rear cargo area uses a system where panels can be positioned upright to convert the area into compartments for securing grocery bags and other items.
With the addition of the Rogue Sport, Nissan fields a double-barreled approach to the burgeoning small and compact crossover SUV market segment. A Nissan engineer confided that if it was just her, she’d go for the Sport. But she has two kids and will stick with the regular Rogue.
- Model: 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport SL four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
- Engine:0-liter four-cylinder, 141 hp, 147 lb-ft torque.
- Transmission: Continuously variable automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
- Overall length: 14 feet 4 inches.
- EPA passenger/cargo volume: 91/23 cubic feet.
- Weight: 3,415 pounds.
- EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 24/30/27 mpg.
- Base price, including destination charge: $28,380.
- Price as tested: $31,365.
Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.
Photos (c) Nissan.