A crossover that fell just short of becoming the company’s wonder-kid!

When seen from a bird’s eye view, Nissan is actually managing its crossover portfolio quite well. At the entry-level, the Japanese automaker has the Kicks and, at the top, it has the Nissan Rogue. Nissan had the Juke to fill the gap in between, but the model was discontinued a couple of years back. Although it looked like the Kicks will have to manage two duties, Nissan quickly came up with a much better replacement for the Juke in the form of the Nissan Rogue Sport. The Rogue Sport was specially designed for the U.S. market and is not being sold anywhere else.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Exterior

  • New front fascia grille
  • Revised headlights and DRLs
  • Offered in two new exterior shades
  • New alloy designs
2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport looks quite different from the 2019 model but retains the core essence. The new mesh grille replicated the shape of the signature chrome collar, also known as the V-Motion grille, that surrounds the logo. The bumper is radically different and features quite a lot of changes.

Fog lamps have been moved even lower, and they sit flush with the black plastic cladding.

A thin strip of new daytime running LEDs find themselves in between LED headlights and the fog lamps. When viewed up front, the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport looks smart and handsome.

The profile of the crossover is neat and proportionate. Nissan has offered the 2020 Rogue Sport with a new set of alloy wheels available in sizes up to 19 inches. The window sill rakes up sharply in the back, eating into the rear-quarter glass. The taillamps extend all the way to the side and gives Audi-esque vibes.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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The derriere of the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport has gotten a little sleeker. Although the taillight housing remains the same, their integration has been changed.

The LED taillights look smarter and add greatly to the character of the crossover.

The rest of the rear remains the same as the 2019 model. One thing that Nissan should have worked on is the loading lip. It still remains quite high, making it a little difficult to load in those heavy suitcases.

Despite my dislike for chrome, I must admit that Nissan has used it tastefully on the 2020 Rogue Sport. The Rogue Sport is offered in two new shades, Orange and Lime Green, apart from the ones carried over from the 2019 model. Nissan has used fancy names for the colors, but in simple words, the palette now includes

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Silver
  • Gun Metallic
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Lime Green

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Interior

  • Still cramped in the back
  • Safety Shield Technology now standard on all trims
  • Cockpit is cluttered with a lot of physical buttons
  • Same touchscreen on all the trims
2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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Nissan has literally left the cabin unchanged. The automaker did a fine job with the exterior, and it would have been nice if it had worked on the interior as well, especially in terms of space. If you are contemplating this instead of a sedan, you will be grossly disappointed with the space on offer. While the front remains fine, the rear is as good as a bigger SUV’s third row. The seat is small, there is not much legroom or shoulder room, and it is best suited for kids.

Nissan has offered a decent cargo area in here, but that does not compensate for the fact that you cannot carry even four adults comfortably for a long drive, and forget five.

We have seen crossovers with similar dimensions and manage to offer better space all around the cabin. There is no other way to put this, but Nissan has done a shoddy job with the space in the back.

The all-black theme looks sexy but does make you feel claustrophobic. For the techheads, there is nothing much to offer. At a time when all automakers are moving towards making everything ’touch-friendly,’ Nissan has decided to stick with buttons... and some more buttons. It feels cluttered from all angles; be it the flat-bottom steering wheel or the center console. Nissan offers a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system on all the three trims - S, SV, and SL. The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An upgraded version of the nine-speaker Bose audio system is available as an option.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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Nissan has upped the Rogue Sport's safety quotient, making its Safety Shield 360 technology standard on every trim level.

It was available on the SV,and SL trims previously, but now it is standard even on the base S trim. It comes loaded with

  • Automated Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Automated Rear Braking
  • Lane-Departure Warning
  • Radar-Based Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • High Beam Assist

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport dimensions

Cargo Space 22.9 cubic-feet with all seats in place / 61.1 cubic-feet with second row folded
Wheelbase 104.2 inches
Ground Clearance 7.4 inches

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivetrain

  • 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine
  • 141 horses and 147 pound-feet of torque
  • Mated to a CVT
  • Decent fuel economy figures
2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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This is the most exciting and fun part of our reviews, but in this case, it is perhaps the most boring section.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport is offered with the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that packs 141 horses and 147 pound-feet of torque.

Nissan should consider renaming the crossover to ’Rogue Lousy’, or ’Rogue Snorlax,’ or something. To make things worse, Nissan has mated it to a continuously variable transmission. The infamous rubber-band effect of a conventional CVT is evident in the Rogue Sport; so don’t even think about flooring the pedal. The CVT, mated to this lackluster engine, is best suited for urban commutes and leisure highway drives. Even the NVH levels are not that great as the sounds and vibrations will creep in at high speeds, constantly reminding that you are torturing this puny engine. If you want the punch and oomph factor, look elsewhere. If there is anything positive, it is the well-weighted steering wheel.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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The ride and handling are not the best either. The suspension quivers over bad roads surprisingly well, but only if you are riding on the 17-inch wheels. Upgrading the wheel size will have an adverse effect on comfort. The engine can be availed with either front-wheel drive or an all-wheel-drive system.

Talking about the fuel efficiency, the Rogue Sport delivers 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

Towing capacity? Well, LOL. It does not have a towing capacity rating.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport drivetrain specifications

Engine 2.0-liter, four-cylinder
Power 141 horsepower
Torque 147 pound-feet
Transmission Continuously Variable Transmission
Mileage (combined) 28 mpg

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Prices

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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The 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport came with a starting price tag of $22,500. Now that the automaker has added safety tech even to the base trim, we speculate it to start at $23,000.

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Competition

Mazda CX-5

2019 Mazda CX-5
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This entry might surprise you because the CX-3 is the segment rival for the Rogue Sport, and not the CX-5. But the Mazda CX-5 is a potent vehicle and a perfect alternative to the Nissan Rogue Sport. The CX-5 boasts a contemporary design that pleases all and offends none. The long hood, clean profile, and a simple yet elegant rear make the CX-5 a very smart crossover. On the inside, the CX-5 will spoil you in its top-tier trims. The seats are comfortable, although space is not aplenty. There are grainy plastic materials, strips of wood, and matte leather which reek of luxury. The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, however, is not up to the mark. And, if Mazda wants to appeal it to the public, it will have to get rid of those extra buttons as well.

The Mazda CX-5 is offered with two engines - a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder unit that churns out 187 ponies and 186 pound-feet of torque or a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that churns out 227 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. The former is offered on the base trim in the front-wheel-drive configuration. Given that there is a price difference of just $1,500 between the Mazda CX-5 and the Nissan Rogue Sport, it makes more sense to go for the value-for-money CX-5.

2019 Mazda CX-5
- image 804347
Engine 2.5-liter, four-cylinder / 2.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged mill
Power 187 / 227 horses
Torque 186 / 310 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed automatic gearbox
Mileage (Combined) 28 / 25 mpg
Cargo Space 30.9 cubic-feet with all seats in place / 59.6 cubic-feet with second row folded
Wheelbase 106.2 inches
Price $24,500 onwards

Read our full review on the 2019 Mazda CX-5

Hyundai Kona

2018 Hyundai Kona Exterior High Resolution
- image 720693

Let’s move on from a simple, elegant competitor to an in-your-face body language rival - the Hyundai Kona. The Kona was launched a couple of years back, but it has made strides and has shown it to the world that it is more than just another funky crossover. For someone who likes to keep his or her car for at least seven to eight years, the Kona might not be the first preference. This car will surely get boring after a while, thanks to those bright colors and flashy design language. The Kona exaggerates every little body detail and just gets a little carried away. This crossover will definitely have polarizing opinions.

On the inside, however, it is a different story. The interior is rather sedate when compared to the exterior. The cabin is laid out well and is typical Hyundai. The neat instrument cluster, perfectly-sized steering wheel, color coded accents around the gear lever console, air conditioning vents, etc. makes the Kona a nice place to be in. The front seats are on the supportive side and are quite spacious too. But move to the back, and you will find yourself fighting with your co-passengers for space. It is not a very comfortable five-seater. The cargo area is average but has a wide loading lip and a low-load floor which makes things slightly convenient.

The feature list of the Kona is endless. The Kona is available in four trims - SE, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate - and each one offers a lot of equipment for the price paid. Except for the top-trim, all other trims are offered with a seven-inch infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Opt for the top-trim and Hyundai will give you features like

2018 Hyundai Kona Exterior High Resolution
- image 720579
  • Eight-inch touchscreen system
  • 18-inch wheels
  • LED Taillights
  • Power Driver Seat
  • Head up Display
  • Navigation
  • Wireless Charging
  • Sunroof

The Hyundai Kona will be launched with an electric powertrain later this year, but for now, Hyundai offers it with two engine options - a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that churns out 147 horses and 132 pound-feet of torque or a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 175 ponies and 195 pound-feet of torque. The former engine is mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, and the latter is offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Engine 2.0-liter, four-cylinder / 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged mill
Power 147 / 175 horsepower
Torque 132 / 195 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed automatic / Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox
Mileage (Combined) 30 / 30 mpg
Cargo Space 19.2 cubic-feet with all seats in place / 45.8 cubic-feet with second row folded
Wheelbase 102.4 inches
Price $20,000 onwards

Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Kona.

Conclusion

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport
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The 2020 Nissan Rogue looks smart, is neat on the inside, but is definitely not an enthusiast’s car. The sole engine option lacks the pizzazz and is good only for lazy highway drives and urban runarounds. We recently saw the GMC going berserk with the Acadia facelift, offering a new engine, better equipment, and what not. Nissan sells more than 40,000 examples of the Rogue and Rogue sport per month, and it is high time that Nissan addressed the Rogue Sport’s shortcomings and make improvements. The $20,000 - $30,000 price bracket is the trickiest one on the market today as you have hatchback, sedans, crossovers, small SUVs, luxury cars, and even entry-level trucks playing in the same range. It is very easy for a customer to get lured into a completely different segment altogether and cross-shop even if he does not intend to. If Nissan can plonk the Rogue Sport with a slightly more powerful engine and better rear space, it can give the rivals a run for their money.

  • Leave it
    • The namesake second row. Making it a three-door crossover would justify the ’Sport’ moniker.
    • Lackluster engine mated to a lethargic CVT
    • Rivals offer a lot more for a lesser price

Background

The Rogue Sport, unlike the funky Juke, caters to a more ’serious’ market, and is here to talk business. It has more conventional, mass-appealing looks when compared to the funk-star it replaces. This toned down crossover is a lot more practical and also relieves the Kicks off its double duties and lets it focus solely on its own game. Nissan smartly prefixed it with the ’Rogue’ moniker which allowed this new crossover to test the waters on the Rogue’s goodwill and credibility. However, the Rogue Sport has been on its own ever since. While it may look like there is price overlapping and the Rogue Sport is eating into its elder brother’s sales, Nissan wouldn’t mind it as long as the customer remains in the same showroom.

Further reading

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 700934

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport.

2017 Nissan Rogue High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Rogue.

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport receives a fresh new front end appearance for the 2020 model year, along with redesigned rear tail lamps, revised trim level and option package content. Set for sale in fall 2019, the 2020 Rogue Sport expands on the long list of enhancements for the 2019 model year – which included the addition of available ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology, updated audio system with standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ and available Bose®1 Audio System with nine speakers.

“Our Rogue Sport is a critical vehicle in Nissan’s popular CUV lineup, slotted strategically between the Nissan Kicks and Rogue,” said Scott Shirley, vice president, CMM & Marketing Operations, Nissan North America, Inc. “We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh – which also includes the redesigned Murano, new Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition and flagship Armada. Nissan is on a roll and we’re not letting up heading into 2020.”

Most prominent among the 2020 Rogue Sport refinements is the new exterior design that offers a more technical feel – helping provide a greater separation from its Nissan Rogue stable mate. The new front fascia features a new hood, Vmotion grille and bumper. The aggressive lighting treatment includes LED signature Daytime Running Lights.

In the rear, a new combination light design matches the more dynamic look of the front end. A new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design and two new colors, Nitro Lime Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic, complete the exterior makeover.

The advanced Nissan Safety Shield 360, currently offered on SV and SL grades, will become standard on all 2020 Rogue Sport models including the base S grade. Part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy, Safety Shield 360 includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and High Beam Assist (HBA).

The innovative Rear Door Alert system will continue to be offered as part of Rogue Sport’s long list of standard features. In addition, ProPILOT Assist will again be available in 2020. ProPILOT Assist is a single-lane “hands-on” driving assistance technology that eases driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking input under certain driving conditions, such as single-lane highway driving.2

The 2020 Rogue Sport will be offered in front-wheel and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive configurations, and in three well-equipped grade levels – S, SV and SL. It will again be powered by a combination of a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine and Xtronic transmission with Eco Mode switch.

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