Review: 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport brings the goodness of the Qashqai to America
We might think of the Nissan Rogue Sport as the smaller sibling to the Rogue crossover, but the Rogue Sport is mechanically very different from the Rogue. Based on the European Qashqai, the Rogue Sport has most of the goodness of the Rogue model, but is more spry as well.
The Rogue Sport was introduced for the 2017 model year and surprised us with its nimble handling in tight situations and peppy engine response. Especially when compared to the Rogue. The Rogue Sport seats four adults comfortably with a fifth in a pinch. Parents will like that the second row's LATCH anchors for child safety seats are very easy to access. Plus there are 22.9 cubic feet (648.5 liters) of cargo behind the second row, a respectable number for the small compact segment of crossovers.
For the 2019 model year, Nissan added its full Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced safety features to all but the base trim. This means that ProPilot Assist, which we tried in the Rogue last year, is also available in the Nissan Rogue Sport. Those behind the scenes upgrades are less visible than the larger touchscreen display with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. That screen is now 7 inches in size, making it easier to see and use.
The 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport is powered by a well-done 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 141 horsepower (105 kW) to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. We drove the SL model, the topmost of the three trim levels for the Rogue Sport, with AWD and found that the little engine has a broad output range that may not jump off the line every time, but it delivers predictably and fairly quickly.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the 2019 Rogue Sport at up to 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) combined for city/highway driving. That's in the front-wheel drive model, the AWD model is about a point lower in its combined rating. In our week with the 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport, we averaged 26 mpg (9.0 l/100 km) in the crossover. That was with varied passenger loads, some winter weather, and with both city and highway driving as a daily mix of driving. Those are good real-world returns, considering.
There are, however, a few things remiss about the Rogue Sport's overall feel on the road. Foremost among those is that it's not in a hurry to go fast. Speeding up to get onto the freeway or pass another vehicle at speed can be taxing. The Rogue Sport's drivetrain is tuned for fuel economy, not sport, despite the vehicle's name. The 2019 Rogue Sport is also loud on the highway, but no more so than many others in the subcompact classes.
The good news is that while a bit vague in their inputs to the driver, steering and handling in the Rogue Sport are both predictable and well tuned. As is braking, which is sometimes more abrupt than those used to Nissan's generally squishy braking might expect. These are definite signs of the Rogue Sport's European audience aim as the Qashqai.
What we do like about the 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport is its comfort levels. These are good for the class, offering a great front seat experience for the driver and front passenger. The interior is not cheap or overly plasticized either, which is a plus with today's more upscale expectation from entry-level models. The second row bench has great outboard seating for adults, but the middle spot is cramped. Three kids across is very doable in the Rogue Sport, though, and cargo space is both useful and easy to expand with the standard split-fold rear bench.
Technology gets a nice boost with the aforementioned larger screen. The larger screen doesn't have the excellent resolution we've seen in other Nissan products or in other products on the market in general, but it's great for the segment. The 7-inch screen is right-sized for the Rogue Sport, though the maps and other items on it would be better served with a crisper display. Luckily, the Rogue Sport has good audio prompts for the navigation and smart voice control options to bypass menus that might be more difficult to see and use when underway.
Nissan did drop the ball in other tech places too. The Rogue Sport only has one USB port, which seems a huge oversight in today's device-centric world. The inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is great, but it means that the phone controlling those is the only device that can be plugged in. We were also unimpressed with the stereo system, even with its upgrades that came with the higher trim point we tested. It often sounded tinny and distorted, especially when being lowered significantly for the navigation prompts to sound.
Where the 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport gets the most attention is in its price point. Even fully loaded as we had it, the Rogue Sport rang in at under US$30,000 while the base model starts at just $22,240.
Product Page: 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport
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