In a world where SUVs and crossovers constantly evolve, the Nissan Rogue falls in the middle

The Nissan Rogue is in its second generation, but it has been soldiering on since it was introduced in 2014 with only a mild facelift in 2017 and a safety equipment update in 2018. With all of the wide selection of compact SUVs on the market, we thought it would be a good idea to see how the aging Rogue holds up on an oh-so-competitive market. Does the Rogue’s appearance, interior comfort, safety systems, and technology hold up against the ever-growing crop of small crossovers or is Nissan in dire need of majorly updating the Rogue? Well, we found that out for ourselves and more – this is our experience with the 2020 Nissan Rogue.

  • 2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    170 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    175 @ 4400
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7.4/10

2020 Nissan Rogue Exterior Design

  • Somewhat dated design
  • Long wheelbase
  • Old-looking headlights
  • In dire need of revisions
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873665

Nissan did update the Rogue in 2017 with restyled exterior lighting and the wider V-Motion grille, but for the most part, the look of the Rogue has soldiered on since 2014.

The general design of the Rogue has aged really well, but the 2020 model definitely suffers from an appearance crisis.

While a lot of SUV models on the market now feature modernized, thin headlights, for example, the Nissan rogue still has those bulky headlights that consume about 20-percent of its face. In the way of competitors like the Jeep Cherokee (which has also been in the same generation since 2014) and the Honda CR-V, the Rogue, while looking decent, still looks quite dated.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873662

Admittedly, the side profile feels a little more modern thanks to the somewhat muscular front fenders and gentle body lines. It even has the slightly sloping roof to the rear that’s practically identical to that of the Cherokee and CR-V, but its age begins to show when you look at the rear quarter glass which is, suffice it to say, so small that it’s practically useless in terms of visibility. The headrests of the rear seatbacks sit in the same position, so they serve no purpose outside of aesthetics.

The way the black trim around the taillights and the hatch glass wraps around the rear quarters is a nice touch, and the point in the C-Pillar created by this design aspect does tie the rear of the side profile together nicely.

This is in line with the Honda CR-V but much more attractive than what the Jeep Cherokee offers.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873664

Despite the Rogue’s crossover nature and slightly sloping roof, the rear end – when viewed straight on – does give off the ambiance of a boxy SUV. This happens because of the way the trim on the rear hatch glass wraps around to the sides and gives off that infinite feeling.

The taillights, however, despite being revised in 2017, look somewhat dated.

Honestly, they are too tall and not wide enough. I’d expect the next-gen model to feature much sleeker taillights that extend further into the rear hatch and don’t take up so much corner real estate in the rear. The double trim on the bottom of the rear fascia doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t exude any type of modern feeling, either.

How Big is the Nissan Rogue?

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873643

The Nissan Rogue measures 184.5 inches long, 72.4 inches wide, and 68.5 inches tall. It rides on a 106.5-inch wheelbase and sits 8.4 inches off the ground, an average ride-height for this segment.

In terms of garage storage, the Rogue will fit into a single car garage, but there won’t be a lot of room around it, so don’t expect to have a lot of storage space on the sides.

A 1.5- or two-car garage will provide ample room for the Rogue and give you plenty of room to work with as well.

Nissan Roague exterior dimensions (inches)
Length 184.5
Width 72.4
Height 68.5
Wheelbase 106.5
Ground Clearance 8.4
Front Track 62.8
Rear Track 62.8

As fat as the competition is concerned, the Rogue is longer and taller than both the Cherokee and the CR-V, but it’s not quite as wide – something that translates into less shoulder room and hip room inside. It also features a longer wheelbase (by more than two inches), so it does feel a little more planted and less wobbly as speed during quick maneuvers. It tips the scales at 3,671 in its heaviest form, which does make it heavier than both the Cherokee and CR-V.

2020 Nissan Rogue Interior Design

  • Comfortable seating
  • Quiet cabin
  • Impressive cargo area
  • Sliding rear seat
  • Hidden storage compartment in the rear
  • Outdated infotainment
  • Mediocre outward visibility
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873655
The interior of the Nissan Rogue is kind of a mixed bag, and it leaves you feeling kind of torn between happiness and disappointment.

It may have been on the higher side of things back in 2014 when it was released, but now, it’s certainly not the best cabin in the business. To put this into context, you’ll find that the front seats are rather comfortable and will hold up well even on longer trips. There’s even a pleasant feeling of space inside thanks to the low-sitting center console, but it’s painfully evident that Nissan was trying to save money on materials as the quality and design is underwhelming and a bit disappointing. Outward visibility for the driver is also a mixed bag. Your side view is great, but looking forward, the big, bulky C-Pillar creates quite a blind spot, and it’s very easy to miss a car in your rear blind spot due to the design of the rear quarter glass.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873654

From a driver’s perspective, the design of the cabin is decent. Most of what you need to control while driving is done via the thumb controls on the side spokes of the steering wheel. There is a bit of a reach to get to the buttons on the infotainment system or the HVAC controls, but it’s not too bad. The flat-bottom steering wheel is a nice touch, but the semi-digital instrument cluster reminds you that this isn’t exactly a luxury car.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873598

The center console provides two rather deep cup holders, and the controls for the heated seats sit just between those and the armrest. The armrest, which is padded pretty nicely for a model in this price bracket, opens up to reveal a deep storage pocket, access to a 12-volt socket, and a single USB port for connecting to the infotainment system. There isn’t a ton of room in this storage area, but you can fit an 11-inch Macbook air on the right side if you stand it up on its end.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873595
The rear passenger area is nothing to write home about, but it’s not exactly a bad place to be either.

Like the front, the rear seats were pretty comfortable, and two full-size adults can get comfortable back here. It might not work for excessively long trips, but it’s suitable for the most part. The rear seats to slide fore and aft, though which, paired with the wide-opening rear doors, makes entry and exit of the rear a breeze.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873593

Unfortunately, that’s where the good ends, as there’s nothing else to note about the rear passenger area. The door trim panels mimic those of the front, and the back of the center console has a pair of HVAC vents, but rear passengers are limited to climate settings put in place by the driver. There are no 12-volt charging sockets or USB ports, so if you’re bringing the kiddos and their tablets with you on a long trip, you might want to make sure you have a couple of extra battery packs with you.

Overall the interior of the Rogue isn’t bad when you consider how old it is (6 years old as of 2020), but at the same time, the overall design and quality of materials leave a little something to be desired.

2020 Nissan Rogue Infotainment System

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873653

The Nissan Rogue’s infotainment system does its job, we’ll give it that, but that’s about all there is to write home about. It’s clearly dated and hasn’t been touched since launch. The screen is small, but not to the extent that it makes it hard to use or see – there are just much bigger options available on the market. The physical buttons on either side of the screen and the two knobs make using the touch screen practically obsolete most of the time and feel a little dated, but it can also make some things easier. The graphics are okay for what they are, and the camera display is on par for what we expected. System response and navigation are decent, it could be better, but given its age, we’ll give it a pass. We certainly expect something better when the next-gen model hits the market.

2020 Nissan Rogue Cargo Capacity

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873592

With the rear seatbacks in place and the rear seat slid forward, the Nissan Rogue will swallow up 39.3 cubic-feet of cargo – that’s just under 14 cu-ft more than the Jeep Cherokee and about on par with the Honda CR-V (down by 0.1 cu-ft)

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873649

If you lay the rear seatbacks down, you’ll be able to carry around 70 cubic-feet of cargo, an admirable number that puts the Jeep Cherokee to shame (54.7 cu-ft) but is a little shy of the CR-V’s 75.8 cu-ft of maximum cargo room.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873647
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873646

Lifting up the access door in the rear cargo area will open up a smaller storage area – maybe a good place to hide electronics or a small toolset – and below that sits another door that opens up to reveal the spare tire. The storage area below the floor isn’t very much, but it’s an admirable design.

Nissan Rogue Drivetrain & Performance

  • Naturally aspirated engine
  • Sluggish transmission
  • 170 HP
  • 175 LB-FT of torque
  • Fuel Economy: 25/32/27
  • Unimpressive steering precision and feel
  • AWD available
  • Max towing: 1,102 LBS
2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873645

Since this generation of the Nissan Rogue has been on the market since 2014, it’s probably not a surprise that it features old engine technology.

It’s powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that’s good for just 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque.

This might have been admirable in 2014, but on today’s market, it’s sub-par at best. The Jeep Cherokee, for example, delivers 270 horsepower and 296 pound-feet from a 2.0-liter turbo-four. The Honda CR-V has a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-banger that produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet. So, regardless of what way you look, the Rogue is underpowered, and it shows.

The Rogue will get you to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds while maxing out at 125 mph. The Honda CR-V isn’t much faster, making the same sprint in 8.6 seconds while maxing out at just 112 mph. The Cherokee, on the other hand, gets to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and maxes out at 120 mph. All models are offered with AWD. The Nissan Rogue has the typical Xtronic transmission while the Cherokee handles torque multiplication with a nine-speed auto, and the CR-V makes do with a barely good enough CVT.

Nissan Rogue Towing Capacity

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873660

In terms of towing capacity, the Rogue can pull just 1,102 pounds on a good day, so you’re limited to very small trailers. The Honda CR-V isn’t much better but does offer 1,500 pounds while the Jeep Cherokee will pull anywhere between 3,500 pounds and 7,200 pounds depending on the configuration. Needless to say, if you’re looking to haul something much heavier than a lawn tractor, the Rogue might not be the best bet.

Nissan Rogue Fuel Economy

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873630
The Nissan Rogue is rated at 25 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined.

That’s about par for a model this size, and it beats out the Jeep Cherokee by two mpg in the city, one mpg on the highway, and one mpg combined. However, if you’re really want to get the most out of your gas money, the Honda CR-V will give you the best bang for your buck with 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 30 combined.

During our time with the Nissan Rogue, we averaged about 27 mpg, and that was with a (roughly) 50-50 mix of city and highway driving.

Nissan Rogue Fuel Economy Comparison
City Highway Combined
Nissan Rogue 25 32 27
Jeep Cherokee 23 31 26
Honda CR-V 28 34 30

2020 Nissan Rogue Driving Impressions

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873642
When driving the Nissan Rogue, it’s perfectly clear that you’re driving a crossover on an old chassis with an outdated engine.

The driving experience wasn’t horrible by any means, but we certainly walked away from the Rogue wishing for more. The engine, for example, isn’t powerful enough to offer up the power you want when you need it the most. This is especially true when it comes to merging on the highway or overtaking vehicles. City driving isn’t bad, though. We wouldn’t say that transmission was clunky, really, but there was an annoying sluggishness similar to that of early 2000s GM vehicles still making use of the old 4L60 and 4T60 transmissions. In fact, we’d prefer Honda’s CVT over the Rogue’s Xtronic, so that’s saying a lot.

Braking was decent, and the Rogue does stop smoothly, but panic stops can elevate the blood pressure and stress levels a bit because, under hard pressure, the brake pedal gets a bit squishy. Handling is on par with what you’d expect, but it’s not class-leading, while the steering lacks the feel and precision that we’ve come to appreciate from newer, more modern crossovers.

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873622

Some of this negative is made up for in the ride quality department, though.

For the most part, the Nissan Rogue drives smoothly, and on rough roads, it holds its own very well.

We were impressed at the lack of cabin noise, even on roads that usually generate some chatter from cheaper plastic panels in most cars. You’ll find that engine and wind noise is kept isolated from the cabin admirably well, so you can at least expect a quiet, smooth ride, even if it’s not the most exciting.

2020 Nissan Rogue Pricing

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873625

For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Rogue starts out at $25,300 in entry-level S form in FWD. If you opt for AWD, you’ll see that price jump about $1,250 to $26,650. Prices continue to increase marginally (by roughly $2000-$3000) as you move up the trim levels with the range-topping Rogue SL with AWD commanding $33,040.

As far as the competition is concerned, the Honda CR-V comes in just a bit cheaper in entry-level LX trim at $25,050. The EX trim level starts at $27,560 while the EX-L trim and range-topping Touring trims come in at $30,050 and $33,250, respectively. The Jeep Cherokee, on the other hand, is offered in eight different trim levels with the entry-level model commanding $25,740 and the range-topping Overland trim pulling as much as $36,995 before taxes, options, and registration fees.

Nissan Rogue Competition

Jeep Cherokee

left right

The Jeep Cherokee’s appearance wasn’t exactly well-received when the current generation was launched back in 2014, and Jeep finally addressed that concern in 2019 when it gave it a rather sizable facelift. As such, the overall appearance of the Cherokee is more modern and, arguably, more attractive than that of the Nissan Rogue. The rear end also features a similar modern look, however, there are still parts about it that scream “early-2010s.” It does exude the feeling that it’s capable of going off the beaten track, though, so that’s probably the appeal that keeps it going, with Jeep moving more than 200,000 examples each year on average.

left right

The interior of the Cherokee suffers the same fate of the Rogue to some extent in that it looks rather aged for something on sale in 2020. It does have FCA’s latest Uconnect infotainment system, though, and that brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability as well as decent response times and easy-to-understand menus. Comfort is about on par with what you’d expect of a $25,000-$30,000 vehicle, but the cabin isn’t as quiet as that of the rogue. Rear passengers do benefit from an impressive amount of legroom, though, so if you have rear passengers, they might appreciate you buying the Cherokee over the Rogue. Fuel economy averages about 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined, so it sits at the bottom of the totem pole in that regard, but it’s also the most powerful of the bunch. The Cherokee’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is good for an impressive 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and it can haul as much as 7,200 pounds when properly equipped.

Nissan Rogue vs. Jeep Cherokee
Nissan Rogue Jeep Cherokee
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder / inline 2.0-liter turbo inline four cylinder
Transmission Xtronic with Sport and Eco Mode switches 9-speed automatic
Horsepower 170 @ 6,000 rpm 270 hp @ 5,250 rpm
Torque 175 @ 4,400 rpm 295 lb.-ft @ 3,000-4,500 rpm
Driveline AWD AWD
Fuel Gas Gas
Fuel Economy 25/32/27 23/31/26
Suspension Front: Stabilizer bar (23 mm) Rear: Stabilizer bar (19.1 mm) McPherson strut, long travel coil springs, one-piece steel sub-frame, aluminum lower control arms, stabilizer bar
Steering Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion Electric power rack and pinion
Turning Circle 37.6 37.6
Front Tire Size 225/65R17 all-season 225/60R17
Rear Tire Size 225/65R17 all-season 225/60R17
0-60 MPH 8.7 seconds 7.5 seconds
Top Speed 125 mph 130 mph
Towing Capactiy 1,102 lbs 3,500 – 7,200 lbs

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee

Honda CR-V

left right

The Honda CR-V is an attractive vehicle as a whole package, but with the current generation only being a few years old (introduced in 2017,) we can’t blame you if you wanted something that looked a little more modern on the outside. We’d rate the appearance, in terms of how modern and sleek it is, in between that of the Rogue and the Cherokee.

left right

It does have a toned-down appearance, though, while the rear end looks a lot like what we’d expect from the next-gen Rogue with the taillights extending further inward on the rear hatch. This is a valid point, but the CR-V also looks a little awkward because the rear hatch is rather thin, and the way the taillights protrude from the body gives it that “Dumbo” feeling. If the rear hatch had been wider, it would have made the rear end look a lot more attractive. Meanwhile, the rear glass feels a little too short, and it does hamper visibility a bit.

In terms of performance, the CR-V isn’t the cream of the crop with a 1.5-liter engine that produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. That does put it on par with the naturally aspirated Rogue, though. The CR-V’s max tow rating is impressively low at just 1,500 pounds, but the fuel economy is up there as you’d expect at 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. Pricing for the CR-V starts out at $25,050 but climbs to as high as $33,250 for the range-topping Touring trim.

Nissan Rogue vs. Honda CR-V
Nissan Rogue
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder / inline
Transmission Xtronic with Sport and Eco Mode switches
Horsepower 170 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 175 @ 4,400 rpm
Driveline AWD
Fuel Gas
Fuel Economy 25/32/27
Suspension Front: Stabilizer bar (23 mm) Rear: Stabilizer bar (19.1 mm)
Steering Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turning Circle 37.6
Front Tire Size 225/65R17 all-season
Rear Tire Size 225/65R17 all-season
0-60 MPH 8.7 seconds
Top Speed 125 mph
Towing Capactiy 1,102 lbs

Read our full review on the 2019 Honda CR-V

Final Thoughts

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven
- image 873659

Our time with the Nissan Rogue didn’t live us overly ecstatic about it, but it wasn’t exactly a big disappointment either. When it was first launched in 2014, we’re sure that it would have been a strong competitor in this segment, but with minimal updates in 2017, it just doesn’t stand on its own against the competition. We expect the next-gen Nissan Rogue to hit the market sometime between the start of 2020 and the end of 2022, so if you’re really itching to get into a Nissan Rogue, you might want to wait a couple more years. At least then you’ll be able to have more modern infotainment technology, the next generation of safety equipment, and – possibly – updated underpinnings that will push the Nissan Rogue ahead of the pack once again.

  • Leave it
    • Poor towing ability
    • Hasn’t aged well
    • Infotainment and technology needs an overhaul
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read More
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