2021 Nissan Rogue Debuts With Next-Level Styling And Tech: Here’s What You Need To Know!

The new model gets bolder styling, but still focuses on technology over everything else

After nearly seven years in production and its current status as the brand’s best-selling model, we now have more official information on the 2021 Nissan Rogue. The Japanese automaker dramatically redesigned its crossover that competes against the likes of Toyota’s RAV4 and the Honda CR-V, and announced more specifics before the third-generation model goes on sale this fall. There are certain aspects of its predecessor that remain, but largely the car has changed in terms of styling, technology and even its performance.

Pricing for the 2021 Nissan Rogue has not been released just yet, but we should have that information later on this summer, when the Rogue is ready to hit dealerships nationwide.

After seeing earlier leaked photos, the new 2021 Nissan Rogue makes its official debut Monday. [Photos: Nissan]

A new look

It’s the very first thing you’ll see with the 2021 Nissan Rogue, so the exterior styling is the most dramatic change from the old model. The V-Motion grille is still front and center, although it’s larger and more upright than before. The headlights also take on a split assembly design, a trend that’s notably taking hold in Hyundai’s recent models, with the low and high beams situated in the lower assembly, while the upper one houses daytime running lights and turn signals.

The lower fascia also gets an angular treatment, from the silver trim to the triangular fog lights. Chunkier, more rugged styling defines the 2021 Nissan Rogue from the last generation, with broader shoulder lines along the fenders and a more SUV-like rear roof-line. In all, the new Rogue tones down the curves for a more aggressive and distinctive look.

Around the back, the 2021 Nissan Rogue packs a cleaner look than before with fewer creases and lines in the tailgate. As is fashionable in the industry these days, the model badging also features individual letters spelled out across the tailgate, rather than sitting in a lower corner as it did before.

The badge on the back as well as the interior appointments show the Rogue‘s new top-end “Platinum” trim level.

While the car rides on the same 106.5-inch wheelbase as the old model, this 2021 Nissan Rogue has changed its exterior dimensions. At 183 inches, its exactly 1.5 inches shorter in length, while its overall 66.9-inch height comes up more than an inch shorter as well. That said, this model retains the same width as before, though the updated interior does make better use of those dimensions. On the whole, passengers get slightly better hip and shoulder room than in the previous generation.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue makes better use of its center stack space by shrinking the gear shifter and perching the infotainment unit on top of the dashboard.

Technology defines the new Rogue’s interior

For the past few years, Nissan has been pretty good when it comes to how much technology they’ve packed into the Rogue, and this 2021 model is no exception. Step inside, and the first new piece that will draw your eye is the 9.0-inch touchscreen display. Unlike the old Rogue, this generation puts the screen atop the dashboard as most other modern crossovers have done. The system supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, with the latter set to feature wireless CarPlay support near the end of 2020 or in early 2021.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue takes on a more premium look compared to its aging predecessor, and offers some enticing tech to compete with Toyota and Honda, among others.

The technology in the new Rogue doesn’t stop there, though. Higher trim levels, like the new Platinum trim shown above, get a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster as well. Lower-trimmed models like the Rogue S still get analog gauges, but those versions do get a larger 7.0-inch multi-information display, to the old Rogue’s 5.0-inch unit. Move over to the center stack, and you can see a much smaller, electronic shifter and ahead of the electronic parking brake. Nissan made more space in that area to accommodate the new drive mode dial, while moving both the cupholders over toward the passenger side of the console.

As with most updated models, the 2021 Rogue gets Nissan Safety Shield 360 as standard equipment. That includes safety tech like emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and intervention, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.

Nissan’s infographic explaining the updated ProPilot Assist system.

When it first debuted a few years ago, however, the Rogue’s headlining safety suite has been the ProPilot Assist system. Nissan refined and rebranded it for 2021 and now refers to it as ProPilot Assist with Navi-link. The system now uses navigation data to adjust your speed while en-route, including around sharp curves and when approaching exit off-ramps. The system also now waits up to 30 seconds (rather than 3 seconds, as it was before) without prompting the driver to reactivate the system by hitting the accelerator in traffic conditions or pressing the “RES+” button the steering wheel.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue has a new engine

One of the sticking points with the old Rogue was its 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine. It was punchy enough to get you around, and since Nissan mated it to a CVT it was efficient. However, its 170 horsepower remained the same throughout the last generation’s lifespan. As the Honda CR-V manages 190 horsepower and the Toyota RAV4 makes 203 from their four-cylinder units, the Rogue was clearly falling behind the pack.

Now, the 2021 Nissan Rogue does have a new engine, according to Nissan. It’s still a 2.5-liter unit, but it does have more power and torque. The new model manages 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, up 11 hp and 6 lb-ft respectively, which may help it feel a bit more lively. As before, the engine still comes yoked to a continuously variable transmission as its sole means of propulsion. Front-wheel drive is standard fare, though of course you can still spec a Rogue with all-wheel drive for a bit extra.

The Rogue has always been an easy car to drive, but its steering has felt a bit light and vague compared to some of its rivals, like the Mazda CX-5. This time around, though, Nissan fitted a new electric power steering rack with a quicker ratio, the company says to minimize steering corrections. Nissan also fitted a new “Vehicle Motion Control” system, which monitors steering input, acceleration and braking to smooth out the driving experience. That system works on top of the Rogue’s existing stability control and its newly available drive modes to offer a better sense of control, as most of its competitors offer drivers a similar sense of agency when it comes to switch gear.

Speaking of drive modes, the 2021 Nissan Rogue gets three in its front-wheel drive guise: Eco, Standard and Sport. Beyond that, all-wheel drive versions get two additional drive modes, dubbed Off-Road and Snow, for trickier driving conditions.

The trim options are familiar, but there’s one new option

As before, the 2021 Nissan Rogue debuts with the standard Nissan trim levels. The Rogue S is the base model, while the SV and SL add features on top of that. However, this new generation gets a more luxurious “Platinum” trim as well.

Step up to the top-end Platinum, and you get features like quilted semi-aniline leather seats. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, heated rear outboard seats, wireless charging, the updated ProPilot Assist system, Nissan’s “Door-to-Door Navigation” and a Bose premium audio system also come with the most expensive version. Although, it’s worth pointing out that most of those features are optional on the SL though options packages, when the Rogue configurator goes live in the coming months.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is just the first of five models that are all-new or substantially redesigned, with other major players like the redesigned Frontier to come. Stay tuned to both TFLcar.com and TFLtruck.com for more updates, as the automaker still has quite a few major debuts coming up soon.