The Nissan Rogue Sport is like the Nissan Rogue, which is a good thing, only it’s a foot smaller, and it’s less powerful. Every Sport comes with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder making a weak 141 horsepower, mated to a CVT that’s slow but at least not intrusive. It’s front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available.
It’s comfortable enough for two riders in front, and even for two more in the rear, but a fifth passenger won’t like it. The infotainment display is above average. Rivals include the Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax, and Toyota CH-R.
Fuel mileage is 25 miles per gallon city, 32 highway, and 28 combined with front-wheel drive; or 27 mpg combined with awd. That’s about the same as its rivals.
Beginning mid-year, Nissan began calling the Sport a 2018-and-a-half model, with automatic emergency braking added as standard equipment. It hasn’t been crash-tested yet.
Rogue Sport comes as S, SV, and SL models. Standard equipment in the S ($22,615, including destination) includes 16-inch wheels with hubcaps, cloth upholstery, a four-speaker audio system with a 5.0-inch infotainment display, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and rearview camera.
SV adds 17-inch wheels, roof rails, automatic headlights, power adjustable driver’s seat, a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, keyless ignition, and a cargo management system for the rear. Packages for the SV include a cold-weather collection that adds heated front seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, leather-wrapped gear shifter, and heated outside mirrors. A tech package adds all of the above, a larger 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and satellite radio.
SL adds 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and Nissan’s telematics services. An SL premium package adds a moonroof, LED headlights, and active safety features.
Blind-spot monitors are optional or in a package, along with other active safety features such as forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and a surround-view camera system.
The Rogue Sport doesn’t try too hard, which is good because when a manufacturer does that, it comes up with a car like the Toyota C-HR. The Sport looks like its big sibling in the front, while having its own lifted-butt style at the rear. The profile won’t get your heart started, but the shape is well executed.
The V-shaped grille is cohesive, and the headlights conservative in their rearward travel. The hood has modest bulges, which are misleading given the power.
The Rogue Sport’s cabin is like a condensed Rogue. The dash shows some style, with a horizontal accent in the middle. The centerstack controls are simple and intuitive, with convenient knobs and buttons.
The Sport is more than a foot shorter than the Rogue, although its wheelbase is only about two inches less. It makes the most of its interior room, although rear passengers have less room than in the regular Rogue: just 33 inches. It doesn’t comfortably seat three people, if at all.
The front seats are comfortable, as in other Nissan models, and the cargo area spacious, with 20 cubic feet behind the rear seat. With it folded, the space expands to 53 cubic feet. But that big number is a bit misleading, because the roof is high.
The SV and SL models have a cargo management system called Divide-N-Hide features a variable floor configuration for loading and securing things. It raises small objects for more space.
The Sport is fairly quiet, although there is some whine from the CVT under hard acceleration, and some noise from the big 19-inch tires.
Despite the name, the Sport isn’t about Sport. It has just one pokey powertrain, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with continuously variable transmission that strives mostly just to get out of the way. The engine makes 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque, and has to move a vehicle weighing 3300 pounds.
After a cruising speed is reached, the power feels better. As for the CVT, Nissan has been building these belt-and-pulley devices for a long time, but this one still has a ways to go. Under hard acceleration, it’s loud and slow to respond.
The Sport handles well enough, with lively steering. The standard 17-inch tires have some bump absorption in their sidewalls, but the nineteen-inch tires on the SL aren’t forgiving on rough roads.
The all-wheel-drive system is marginal, more for all-weather security than off-road activity, where the regular Rogue offers one inch more ground clearance, 8.4 inches to 7.4. But neither will be mistaken for a Jeep.
If this were a comparison test between the Rogue and Rogue Sport, the Rogue would win, hands down. Better value. The Sport is slower, tighter inside, and less cable, while being only a bit less costly. It’s not bad looking, if you don’t mind those lying hood bulges.