2017 Nissan Rogue Sport SL AWD Review

A shorter rendition of the best-selling crossover

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Truly handsome exterior styling, well-executed interior, better-looking than its bigger brother, better engine than the regular Rogue.
Negatives: Underpowered, uninspiring CVT, vague and lifeless steering, noisy when pushed, small and awkward infotainment system, rough ride with upsized wheels.
Bottom Line: The Rogue Sport will be the right crossover for many since it falls right between subcompact and compact crossovers, so it's size isn't too big or too small. Its styling hits the right notes when so many small crossovers are either weird or boring. The engine lacks power but runs smoother than the standard Rogue. There's a reason why this thing sells so well because it hits the right notes for the average consumer, if not the enthusiast.
 View Our 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport Overview
As more evidence that crossovers are truly the hottest automotive segment right now, Nissan has brought their European Qashqai here in the form of the new Rogue Sport, a shorter version of the highly successful Rogue. In the subcompact/compact crossover segments, the battle rages on, and the Rogue Sport gives shoppers another option. The more refined engine and the more manageable size of the Rogue Sport should draw car shoppers, along with the affordable price tag, robust standard and optional features, but can they get past the vehicle's dearth of power and driving thrills? We drove it for a week to see what the smaller Rogue is all about. Read on for our full review.

Driving Experience



Anyone who aims for a well-priced crossover isn't necessarily searching for something that fires up the neurons of driving excitement, and the Rogue Sport is no different than the rest. It manages body roll better than the standard and larger Rogue, but it fails to thrill when it comes to power and steering feel.

Ride Quality: The ride gets a bit on the firm side with the bigger 19" wheels. For the lack of road feel, this thing should be a bit more comfy.

Acceleration: The 141 horsepower engine is a bit lily-livered, and acceleration feels like it takes forever. The CVT doesn't help, either. 0-60 comes in around nine seconds, which feels like an eternity.

Braking: Brakes are progressive, and the pedal feel is good.

Steering: The Rogue Sport's steering is one of its weakest points. It's light, vague and lacks any semblance of feedback.

Handling: The Rogue Sport manages body roll well in spite of the mediocre performance in other areas.




Nissan's don't exactly float our boats when it comes to tech, and the Rogue Sport is no different. The saving grace is the voice recognition system, which works well and bypasses the need to use some of the mediocre touchscreen and infotainment controls.

Infotainment System: The 7" screen's graphics seem a bit low res, and the overall system is just okay. Systems by Hyundai, Mazda and Kia are far better in terms of look, feel and operation.

Controls: The flanking buttons are a bit too close together, and the font is small, making it hard to read when driving. We hate pushing the "AUX" button twice to get to our streaming music when "Media" would've been more than fine.

Bluetooth Pairing: No major issues, but it took some time to find the button to pair.

Voice Call Quality: Voice call clarity and volume were fine with no transmission issues.




Aside from everyday utility, the Rogue Sport's strong suit is its exterior styling. It strikes the perfect balance between boring (like the ford Escape) and overstyled (like the Toyota CH-R). Now in smaller dimensions than the Rogue, the cut lines and curves work just about perfectly. We just wish some of the louder colors like Nitro Lime and Monarch Orange would just go away.

Front: The V-Motion grille that's pervaded the Nissan lineup looks attractive here and draws the eye. The front end is clean and crisp, and the hood has just the right amount of creasing.

Rear: We like the matte black bumper that cuts down on the visual thickness of the vehicle. The inwardly tapering taillights are clean, and the nice but unnecssary fold/spoiler below the rear glass is the right touch of drama.

Profile: It's the Rogue Sport's best angle thanks to the nice bulging fenders in front and back.The 19" wheels and black trim add to the Rogue Sports attractive aesthetics.

Cabin: It's a pretty dark place with a lot of black and grey, but the execution is good. We just wish there was less piano black trim. The racing style flat-bottom steering wheel is ironic in a vehicle that's anything but racy.




When so many small crossovers are just okay when it comes to comfort, the Rogue Sport actually does quite well. The front seats are far above average, and Nissan engineers actually took the time to make some really good rear seats that aren't totally flat. Don't look for huge legroom, though, but that's not exactly uncommon in this segment.

Front Seats: Some of the best seats at this price point with fantastic cushioning and good bolstering. Clad in charcoal grey, they also look great.

Rear Seats: Excellent comfort for a vehicle of this size, but the legroom is a bit cramped. Not a big surprise for the compact/subcompact crossover segment.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Rogue Sport is quiet except when the rather tepid engine is being pushed hard. At least it doesn't sound as rough as the Rogue's port-injected 4-cylinder mill. Aside from this, the Rogue Sport is well built, and we experienced no vibrations.

Visibility: Good visibility, but the thick rear pillars partially obstruct the rearward view. The Around View camera is a big help in this department.

Climate: The climate control system works well, but it took a little longer than we thought for the air conditioning to cool off the hot cabin on a summer's day.




Though the smaller Rogue Sport has not yet been tested by the IIHS and the NHTSA, the regular Rogue has attained top safety marks.

IIHS Rating: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: Not tested

Standard Tech: There's not much standard safety equipment, but the Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection works very well.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with both the Premium Package and Platinum Package, outfitting our Rogue Sport with Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, High Beam Assist, Forward Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. It's very thorough packaging, and the fact that this level of safety tech is available here is good reason to take a serious look at the Rogue Sport for your family.




The Rogue Sport does well when it comes to gear and luggage storage, especially in light of the vehicle's smaller dimensions. It's a great urban and outdoor vehicle that provides a solid level of space and convenience.

Storage Space: The flat, grippy tray at the base of the center stack is good for small items, as is the deeper cubby behind the cupholders. The center armrest is also a good place to keep gear out of sight.

Cargo Room: 23 cubic feet of space behind the second row (smaller than the Ford Escape's 34.3) and 61 cubic feet with the seats folded flat (larger than the Mazda CX-5's 59).

Fuel Economy



You can go one of two ways when it comes to fuel economy, generally speaking. You sacrifice power for mileage, or vice versa. The Rogue Sport doesn't do either. The engine is on the weak side, and the gas mileage is just okay compared to vehicles like the Mazda CX-5, which gets 24/31 compared to the Rogue Sport's 25/32. At leas the CX-5 has over 40 more horses and drives better.

Observed: 26.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 184 miles

Driving Factors: We drove in Sport mode in city and highway conditions, driving the Rogue Sport rather aggressively to extract the most power from the small engine.




The six-speaker sound system is fine for this vehicle, but we would've liked a premium ugprade option. Ok, so the SL gets two more speakers than the base car, but we wouldn't call it a premium system.

Final Thoughts

The Rogue Sport will sell like hotcakes, just like the seriously popular Rogue. The smaller size will widen appeal, as will the lower price. If you don't need great driving dynamics, three rows of passenger space, or a cutting-edge infotainment system, the Rogue Sport will suit you just fine. It's an attractive, safe, and comfortable crossover that's not dinky like the Honda HR-V/Toyota CH-R, eschewing the accompanying quirkiness of those vehicles. We just wish Nissan would infuse their crossovers with better driving chops and more power. For the rest of the madding crowd, the Rogue Sport will do just fine.
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