What it is: The Rogue Sport is Nissan’s compact crossover that slots in between the larger Nissan Rogue and the new Nissan Kicks. The half-year designation is part of a mid-year refresh, which seems a bit strange with the Rogue Sport being originally released as a 2017 model, but the changes that Nissan implemented are relatively minor. The biggest change is that all Rogue Sport models will receive additional safety features. These include Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and adaptive cruise control on SL grade and higher. The 2018.5 model also saw a $470 price increase, which is a fair deal for the new standard tech.
The Rogue Sport is a completely separate model from the Rogue and is not just a sportier version. The Rogue Sport is 12.1-inches shorter and has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase, making it quite compact. They do look very similar, so you likely wouldn’t notice unless they were parked next to each other.
My test model was the higher-end SL trim, which gives you leather seats, 19-inch wheels, navigation with 7-inch screen, and more. Additionally, the $1,990 premium package was added which provides a moonroof, LED headlights and some additional safety features.
The Rogue Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque which is paired with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT, and I really didn’t like the combination. I feel that Nissan’s CVT is the best of any manufacturer, but the Rogue Sport was not very responsive to requests for more power. It’s very frustrating to be merging, and when you need the power, you get a full two-second delay before you start (slowly) speeding up. I haven’t had this gut reaction to other vehicles with the CVT, but they had a better horsepower-to-weight ratio which provides for brisker acceleration.
Nissan has used the space well on the inside (61.1 cubic feet of storage with the rear seat down) and while it bills itself as having seating for five, you would have to have three children in the rear seat. My other major qualm is with the infotainment/navigation system. It is bad and Nissan should feel bad. It’s antiquated, provides no Android Auto or Apple Carplay support, and there was a slight buzzing in the speakers when I used the auxiliary in port or Bluetooth audio. Personally, it’s enough of a faux pas that it would steer me clear of the vehicle.
MPG: 27 combined/24 city/30 highway
Price: $31,780 as-tested
Upsides: Great fuel economy. Compact size but good use of space.
Downsides: Audio/infotainment not up to snuff
Wrap-up: I do like the Rogue Sport, but at the end of the day I would recommend buying the larger Rogue to 95% of potential buyers. There is only a $2,700 price difference between them, and almost all of that is eroded away with larger sales incentives on the Rogue. Plus, the Rogue has slightly better gas mileage. So many people are buying compact crossovers, I understand why Nissan would want to match the other retailers and have cars at slightly different size and price points, but the Rogue Sport is a pass for me.