Nissan recently doubled down on revealing the all-new 2021 Rogue this fall, in spite of its recent production shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Up until this point, we’ve had little but patent drawings and spy shots to judge what it will look like, but these new images on French forum Worldscoop give us our best, most complete look at the new model.
Provided these are the real deal — and from what we’ve seen, they look completely legit — the Rogue is undergoing a fairly drastic transmission. Mind you, this is a segment of the market that’s ferociously competitive. To that end, Nissan needs to bring some fresh looks and technology to the table to have any hope of competing with the best-selling Toyota RAV4. Up front, there’s a completely new front fascia. The V-Motion grille is more prominent, and the new car adopts a split-headlight assembly, with the main beams flanked by daytime running lights above them, just below the hood line.
The latest-generation Rogue has a fairly wide shoulder line, bowing out at the rear that gives it a narrower profile up top, with a broader look around the bumper and taillights. Actually, the rear end hasn’t changed apart from that more chiseled shoulder line. The taillights are less rounded and Nissan has adopted the new styling cue of spelling the model name out across the tailgate. There’s also quite a bit more cladding than what’s on the outgoing model.
The interior looks more tech-laden than ever
Moving to the interior — the part that frankly needs a major update — the 2021 Nissan Rogue doesn’t disappoint, from these photos. There’s a new, more upscale looking flat-bottomed steering wheel. The switch layout also looks much more intuitive than before, where the buttons look like they’re easily identifiable by touch than the current setup, where all the buttons feel pretty much the same.
Sticking with switchgear, the entire cabin looks like it uses nicer quality buttons than before. A larger, shaper infotainment screen dominates the center stack, while the minimalist climate controls are laid out below. It also looks like Nissan moved the push-start button to the center control stack, no doubt to make more room for the shift paddles (more on that in a moment). The shifter itself takes on a whole new look, as Nissan seems to have ditched the traditional lever for a purely electronic setup, as many other automakers have. Finally, there’s a prominent drive mode knob just ahead of the armrests (more on that below as well).
Apart from the switches, one area on the 2021 Nissan Rogue that isn’t as analog as before is the instrument cluster. At least in the Platinum model shown in these photos, there’s a new customizable digital display. That can be tuned to your liking, whether you want the driver assistance information from Nissan’s ProPilot system front and center, or you want navigator or your music immediately visible.
What about actually driving?
Terrain management is all the rage in modern crossovers, and it looks like the 2021 Nissan Rogue will offer the driver more choice in that regard as well. Rather than letting the all-wheel drive system manage itself, it looks like you’ll have the option of five different drive modes. The mode right in the middle is for normal highway use, as denoted by the highway symbol. To the right appear to be “on-road” drive modes — Eco and Sport. To the left of the normal drive mode, you have one mode for off-road use on the far left, and a snow/slippery conditions mode.
Powertrains are still a mystery, but we could see a few different options here. One would be an updated version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine found in the new Altima. That unit has 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, which is a slight bump from the 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque we see in the current Rogue.
The other — though this is a stretch — would be Nissan’s 2.0-liter variable compression turbo engine. That engine puts out a much healthier 248 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which would put the Rogue ahead of the normal RAV4 on power and in league with the Mazda CX-5, among a few others. In the Altima, however, that engine is solely mated to front-wheel drive models, so it’s doubtful we’ll see it in an all-wheel drive application here. Although if we do, then perhaps we’ll see Nissan offer the turbo engine on the all-wheel drive Altima too.
It’s also likely Nissan will stick with a continuously variable transmission on the new Rogue. Although you do actually get shift paddles this time, they should still mate up to the same CVT we already know, as Mitsubishi has also stuck shift paddles onto their CVTs for more of a sporty flavor, if that’s your thing.
Whatever the case is with the 2021 Nissan Rogue, we should have more official information this fall.