Nissan unveils all-new, beefier 2021 Rogue
Nissan has unveiled the 2021 Rogue, in a virtual curtain-pull that revealed the all-new design for the company’s best-selling North American vehicle. The new Rogue looks bigger inside and out, but isn’t, and focuses on safety and technology built onto a new vehicle platform design.
The new Nissan Rogue is the first of five new models and redesigns planned for the 2021 model year. Much of what’s seen on the 2021 Rogue will likely be seen in forthcoming models, including its more contemporary SUV styling. The fundamental styling changes seen on the Rogue give it a blockier, less curvy shape, adding muscle and aggression. Some may not welcome these changes, especially if they’re seen on models such as the Murano, which carries a lot of curb appeal thanks to its more sinuous design elements.
Whatever the controversy, however, the 2021 Nissan Rogue is certainly bigger to the eye. That larger look is deceiving, as the 2021 model is actually 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) shorter in length than the outgoing 2020 model and sits about two tenths of an inch (0.5 cm) lower by comparison. These dimensional changes explain the more robust (and thus larger) look of the 2021 Rogue. The change in shape also meant changes for aerodynamics.
Nissan’s engineers added three-dimensional tire deflectors to the lower front fascia of the Rogue in order to push more air away from the tire chop in forward motion. The front grille, now more aggressive than that found on the previous-gen Rogue, has an active grille shutter to make it more efficient. Other design elements such as the pillar shapes and underbody covers also aid the Rogue’s aerodynamics.
The more muscular look of the vehicle is helped by a fully redesigned platform which utilizes Nissan’s Vehicle Motion Control system. This all-new technology "does what a human can’t," says Chris Reed, senior vice president of Research and Development at Nissan Technical Center North America. "The all-new Vehicle Motion Control predicts what the drive is trying to do by monitoring steering, acceleration, and braking. It can then step in to help smooth things out." This operates by working with the Rogue’s drivetrain and braking to smooth transitions into and out of corners, by changing track and spin rates for each wheel.
For 2021, the Nissan Rogue sees an upgrade to its well-vetted 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, gaining an 11 horsepower (8.2 kW) increase to 181 in all (135 kW). Torque also increases by 6 pound-feet to 181 (245 Nm). This new iteration of the engine adds mirror bore coating, a variable displacement oil pump, and an integrated exhaust manifold along with other refinements. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s been in the Rogue for some time will also continue in the 2021 redesign.
A new generation of Nissan’s all-wheel drive system also debuts with the 2021 Rogue. The new Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system works with the Rogue’s new Vehicle Motion Control system to further improve dynamics on and off the road. The newly-enhanced AWD system also features a new electro-hydraulic controlled clutch to give faster responses to AWD engagement and torque distribution. Also upgraded on the new Rogue is its electric power-assist steering system, which includes a quick gear ratio for smoother corrections.
On the interior, Nissan went with a "family hub" design. This focuses on a four- and five-passenger layout instead of just on the driver and front seating. Available front and rear heated seating along with Nissan Zero Gravity seats are some of those changes in focus. Leather upholstery becomes standard in the middle SL grade Rogue and a new Platinum trim level will top the 2021 Rogue’s lineup, making for six trim levels in all.
Nissan’s popular Divide-and-Hide cargo configuration will continue in this new generation Rogue. Those getting into the new Rogue will also notice design elements such as the "floating" center console with under-console storage space, and an expanded list of standard and optional technologies.
Standard equipment in the 2021 Nissan Rogue includes push button start, rear door/seat alert, Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert (to make tire inflation simpler), NissanConnect infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and a hands-free text messaging system. Siri Eyes Free, Google Assistant, and Sirius XM are also standard. Optional are upgrades like Nissan’s Door-to-Door Navigation system and NissanConnect Services for concierge access, as is wireless Apple CarPlay, which will come shortly after launch of the Rogue later this year. A full-color 9-inch infotainment display is found standard in the new Rogue.
Safety and driver aids are also upgraded with the new Rogue. A large 12.3-inch Digital Dashboard gauge cluster and a 10.8-inch head-up display are available to improve driver distraction. Integrated as standard are safety technologies bundled in the Nissan Safety Shield 360. These standard techs include forward collision with emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warning, high-beam assist, and rear automatic emergency braking. Newly standard for the Rogue are Nissan’s Intelligent Driver Alertness techs and Rear Door Alert. Available are Blind Spot Intervention and Traffic Sign Recognition along with Intelligent Cruise Control and ProPilot Assist.
The 2021 Nissan Rogue will begin production in the third quarter of 2020 and will be in dealerships near the fourth quarter. Several color options will be available, including five two-tone schemes that make for a first in the Rogue’s history. Nissan will announce pricing and other details closer to the launch.