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We Drive the “Fun-Sized” 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

by Chad Kirchner
We Drive the “Fun-Sized” 2017 Nissan Rogue Sportzoom in

So far this year, the Nissan Rogue is the best-selling non-pickup truck in the country. It’s holding it’s own against the Honda CR-V, and they’ll surely be duking it out for the rest of calendar year. Nissan, however, is bringing something new to the fight. That’s the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport. Despite the name, it’s an entirely new model that’s smaller in size. Does it deliver on the promise to be everything the Rogue is? We went to Nashville to find out.

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The Rogue Sport, based on the global Nissan Qashqai, is 12.1 inches shorter than the Rogue, and has 8.9 cu/ft less of cargo space than the Rogue. While obviously it’s a smaller vehicle, you still have 66.1 cu/ft of cargo space in the Rogue Sport. The Mazda CX-3, in the most-spacious Sport trim, only has 44.5 cu/ft of space.

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The only other major change is the Rogue Sport is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 141 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. No hybrid is currently offered in the Rogue Sport.

But really, that’s the only major changes between the bigger Rogue and the smaller Rogue Sport. The Rogue Sport has an interior that mimics the larger Rogue, and the U.S. is the first market to get this interior. It’ll be seen globally on the next-generation Qashqai.

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Buyers can choose from several different trims, as well as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. In the United States, a CVT is the only available transmission.

Pricing starts at $21,420 for the base Sport S front-wheel drive model, and balloons to $27,420 for a fully-loaded SL all-wheel drive model. All pricing is before a $960 destination charge.

So now that you know the numbers, you’re probably wondering what the Rogue Sport is actually like to drive and to live with? Well, it’s a pretty good car.

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The Rogue Sport is lighter and more nimble than the Rogue, and steers pretty well. It might not be as good as the C-HR in the steering department, but it’s a better rounded car.

The 141 horsepower never feels sluggish, and the CVT keeps the car in the power whenever you need it. While CVTs still aren’t my favorite transmissions, Nissan has come a long way in the CVT development and this one is pretty solid.

Most of our drive around the Nashville area included 3 passengers in the vehicle, plus one full-sized dog named Hugo. The 3 passengers were definitely adults – even if we never act like it – and there was plenty of space to go around. Not only that, but the dog’s cage also fit cleanly in the rear area. The Rogue Sport maximizes available space in a way I have yet to see in a compact crossover.

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Nissan brings over every available safety feature on the Rogue to the Rogue Sport, so our review vehicle had adaptive cruise control, a high-resolution 360º camera, blind spot monitoring, and autonomous emergency braking. Nissan calls it Intelligent Safety Shield, and they even include a button that can basically turn it all off or on on-demand.

There are a few niggles. Even on the fully-loaded model, you don’t get an automatic dimming rearview mirror unless you opt for it as a port-installed or dealer-installed option. Also for a vehicle targeted to millennials, I’m disappointed to not see Android Auto or Apple CarPlay integration.

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When Nissan homologated the Qashqai for the U.S. marketplace, it’s clear that they looked at what customers actually want and need out of a vehicle, and delivered on all fronts. Add it some excellent safety features and a pleasant driving experience, and you have the recipe for a sale success. There’s no reason to think it won’t be.

The Rogue Sport hits dealerships around May 11th.

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