In Europe it’s called the Nissan Qashqai, but here in the U.S. it gets a simpler and much easier to say name, Nissan Rogue Sport. What is it? The Rogue Sport joins the Rogue family as a sportier alternative to the popular, yet not very exciting Nissan Rogue crossover. Think of it as Nissan’s answer to compact “coupe-like” crossovers, like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
As crossovers continue to overtake the industry, automakers are now trying to find new niche segments for even more crossovers. The crossover coupe may be something that not many people initially asked for, but they are a more stylish alternative if you want a crossover, but don’t need something that’s maximized for kids or cargo. This is where the Rogue Sport comes in. It’s bigger than the outgoing Nissan Juke and looks more grownup than the new entry-level Nissan Kicks, yet it’s still smaller and cheaper than Nissan’s other sporty crossover, the Nissan Murano.
Nissan describes the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport as “right sized” and says it’s designed for younger, urban SUV buyers. At 172.4 inches long, the Rogue Sport is over a foot shorter than the Rogue and at 62.5-inches tall, the Rogue Sport’s height has also lost five inches compared to its bigger brother. With a nearly identical width, but a shorter height the Rogue Sport looks more like a tall hatchback than the standard Rogue.
What does that do for the interior space? As you’d expect, the smaller footprint means that there will be less space inside for your friends and shopping bags. The rear seat has 33.4 inches of legroom compared to the 37.9 inches in the standard Rogue. The Rogue Sport also has less legroom than the Nissan Sentra and bargain basement Versa. Behind the seat the Rogue Sport offers 22.9 cubic feet of space for your stuff, while the Rogue offers 39.3 cubic feet of space. Even with the smaller interior dimensions, the Rogue Sport doesn’t feel cramped. It’s just enough space for you and your four friends, a few shopping bags.
While the Rogue Sport does look sportier than the standard Rogue, under the hood Nissan forgot to add a sportier powertrain. The Rogue Sport is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder with 141-hp and 147 lb-ft. of torque. The Rogue Sport has 29 less horsepower and 28 less lb-ft. of torque than its bigger brother. The four-cylinder is also mated to a standard CVT transmission. As you’d expect, 140 horsepower isn’t very much to pull the 3,225 pound crossover, so its performance is merely adequate but definitely not sporty. What the Rogue Sport really needs is the 188-hp 1.6L turbocharged engine from the dead Nissan Juke.
Around town the Rogue Sport has enough power to get you going, especially in a crowded urban environment that Nissan has designed it for. Once the open road hits, the performance of the 2.0L engine and CVT transmission will leave you wondering what happened to the “sport.” There is one area that the Rogue Sport does shine though. The front-wheel drive Rogue Sport is rated at 25/32 mpg and if you choose all-wheel drive it’s only slightly less fuel efficient at 24/30 mpg.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a more stylish SUV that won’t break the bank, the Rogue Sport should be on your test drive list. With a $22,395 starting price the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport will easily fit into most budgets.