This 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport was Driven for a Week, Here’s What We Thought
Not too big, not too small—the Rogue Sport is just right!
Nissan first released the Rogue in late 2007 as a 2008 model. This compact SUV would quickly rise through the ranks to become Nissan's best-selling vehicle in the United States. The Rogue received its largest update by way of a full-vehicle refresh in 2014. Fast-forward again to 2017, and Nissan introduced the newest member of the Rogue family, the Rogue Sport.
The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport is a smaller crossover and is based on the international Qashqai (pronounced CASH-KAI). Compared to the Rogue, the Rogue Sport is 12 inches shorter overall, has a 2-inch shorter wheelbase, is around 200 pounds lighter, and is ever so slightly lower to the ground. Rogue Sport has a starting price of just $23,240, where the base Rogue starts at $25,300.
We've driven the Rogue Sport a few times in the past, most notably during the launch program in Nashville and then again when staffer Brett Evans drove a 2018.5 model for a week. When word got to us that a shiny new 2020 model was available for testing, we jumped at the opportunity.
What was delivered was a 2020 Rogue Sport in SL trim with front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is available). SL is the top trim for Rogue Sport, SV and S coming below it. Our SL tester was equipped with the Premium package, which brought with it a power moonroof, LED head- and taillights, a dimming rearview mirror, power front passenger seat, a Bose audio system, and foglights. The only other two options added were a premium paint color and floor mats.
Part of the beauty of the Rogue Sport lies in what comes standard, and the list is impressive. There are too many standard features to list them all, but the most impressive are Nissan's ProPilot Assist and Safety Shield 360. Included in this are features such as auto emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, intelligent lane intervention, high-beam assist, around-view monitor, traffic sign recognition, intelligent trace control, intelligent cruise control, and much more.
While we had the Rogue Sport for a week, we didn't log quite as many miles as we normally would. Still, we were able to come away with a great appreciation for the smaller Rogue. We'll get our two biggest complaints out of the way early. While the Rogue Sport is powered by a 2.0L I-4 engine, it makes just 141 horsepower. Coupled with the CVT transmission, the drivetrain was just not enjoyable to drive. It took a full press of the accelerator to merge or pass on our fast-moving freeways. We could forgive this if the fuel economy was great, but at just shy of 20 mpg combined we didn't even get close to the Rogue Sport's city EPA rating despite driving mostly on the highway.
Our other gripe involves the 7-inch touchscreen. While the screen's resolution was good in most settings, the 360-degree surround view camera displayed with a resolution more akin to a 2000s-era flip phone. Maybe we've gotten jaded from the camera quality in other Nissan products, but in the Rogue Sport the camera was almost unusable.
And that's where the gripes end. We found the Rogue Sport's ride to be comfortable and the cabin plenty quiet for the vehicle class. The upgraded Bose stereo was decent, and we love the inclusion of Apple CarPlay. Seating was comfortable enough for four adults, and there's seating for five in a pinch. We also had no complaints with two child seats in the rear, either. Storage space is enough for day-to-day use, or for dropping people off at the airport. However, if a family of four is heading out on a trip, luggage space will be quite tight.
Our absolute favorite feature of the Rogue Sport was ProPilot Assist. This is the company's semi-autonomous driving feature, and while most companies with the technology are saving it for their high-end vehicles or charging a large premium, Nissan has included it as standard. In city settings where lane markings are clear, the system works great. When activated, ProPilot Assist will not only control acceleration and braking, but steering as well. You still need to maintain a hand on the wheel, and the vehicle will let you know if it senses that you've taken your hand away, but for the most part it's able to fully drive itself. The system isn't quite to the point of completing lane changes on its own, but it will come to a full stop, hold, and then resume when traffic moves.
Overall, we found the Rogue Sport to be a fine entry-level SUV for the person looking for loads of features for not a lot of money. Interior quality was on par with (or above) those in its class, the ride is great, and exterior styling is fantastic. We're pretty sure our fuel economy experience was the exception and not the rule, as one of our previous tests netted well into the 30-mpg range. And to be perfect in our book, all it needs is a turbocharger.
2020 Nissan Rogue Sport Specs
- Base price: $28,450
- Price as tested: $32,510
- Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L I-4
- Transmission: XTRONIC CVT
- Horsepower: 141 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque: 147 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
- Towing capacity: N/A
- EPA fuel economy rating: 25 city, 32 highway, 28 combined
- Actual calculated economy, 94.4-mile trip: 19.68 mpg