The 2017 Nissan Rogue has been incredibly popular with car buyers, and it’s a big reason Nissan has become the fastest growing auto brand in the U.S. Now comes the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, slightly smaller and sportier than the Rogue, and aimed squarely at the cool kids.
You’d think the Rogue and Rogue Sport siblings would be quite similar. But unlike the Olsen Twins, these two are different. The Rogue Sport is more than a foot shorter and nearly 6 inches lower to the ground than its larger brother. Interior dimensions, too, are slightly smaller in the Rogue Sport.
The Rogue Sport is also more affordable than the Rogue, which makes it particularly appealing to millennials. The Rogue Sport base trim starts at $21,420 and the top of the lineup with AWD starts at $27,420. Nissan says the Rogue Sport’s primary demographic is “youthful singles and couples” in their 20s and 30s.
It doesn’t hurt that the Rogue is currently Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the U.S., surpassing the Altima last year. Nissan invited auto journalists to its Nashville headquarters for a first look at the new Rogue Sport, giving journalists a chance to drive the little SUV for a full day.
The differences are enough to give Nissan considerable clout in the compact/small SUV segment. This “one-two punch” will give Nissan a nice position in showrooms.
Potential car buyer: “I like the Rogue, but it’s a little too big. Plus, I’m on a budget.”
Nissan salesman: “Ok. I think I have something you’ll like. Step this way and I’ll show you the Rogue Sport.”
There’s little doubt the Rogue Sport – available in S, SV and SL trims – is tailored to younger drivers living an active lifestyle. If the Rogue is for young families, the Rogue Sport is for young singles or couples. And of course, Nissan would like to see Rogue Sport buyers step up into Rogues, Muranos or even Armadas as their families grow.
The 5-passenger Rogue Sport has a nice interior, and even the base S trim has a decent amenity sheet. Look for SiriusXM Satellite Radio, AM/FM/CD, USB connectivity, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a rearview camera.
The SV trim adds dual-zone air, an intelligent key, automatic headlights, a roof rack, illuminated vanity mirrors and LED turn signal indicators on the outside mirrors.
The SL adds heated leather front seats, remote start, NissanConnect with Navigation, Mobile Apps and Services, a 7-inch touch screen, 19-inch wheels, fog lights, heated mirrors and a heated steering wheel. Nissan/Infiniti also pioneered the around-view monitor systems that nearly every carmaker is using today, and puts one in the Rogue Sport SL trim.
Only five option packages are available: an S appearance package, an SV all-weather package, a premium package (SV & SL) and an SL platinum package.
The big brother Rogue is powered by a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder that develops 170 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. The Rogue Sport has a 2.0-liter inline 4 that kicks out 141 horsepower and 147 lb.-ft. of torque.
Driving in the hills outside of Nashville, I found the Rogue Sport had the power it needed but not much more. Nissan does a nice job with its CVT transmissions, one of which is in the Rogue Sport. AWD is available.
The Rogue Sport was nimble and surefooted if not quick. It just felt like the little SUV was planted on the road, even when I pushed it into the corners.
Finally, when it comes to safety, the Rogue Sport has a full complement of advanced air bags and a range of standard and optional safety technologies like blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, forward emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention.
The 2017 Rogue is a “Top Safety Pick Plus” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning the top score of “good” in every category. Look for the new Rogue Sport to also do well once safety tests are completed.
2017 Nissan Rogue Sport SL FWD
2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder
$26,070 plus freight
25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: