Nissan brings the Qashqai to the US, rechristens it the Rogue Sport

For 2017 the Nissan Rogue not only received a refresh and a new hybrid powertrain, it gets a little brother in the guise of the five-passenger Rogue Sport. In truth, this is an imported Qashqai, made legal and spiffy for our shores. Built on the Renault-Nissan common modular family architecture, the Rogue Sport's wheelbase is just 2.3 inches shorter than the Rogue's; however, the Rogue Sport's overall length shrinks by 12.1 inches versus the larger SUV, and is three inches more compact than the Versa Sedan. Stance doesn't suffer, the Rogue Sport is almost as wide as the midsized Rogue, with bodywork accentuated by plentiful sheetmetal creases.

The design takes a chunk out of rear cargo space, the Rogue Sport is able to swallow 22.9 cubic feet of shopping with the second-row seats up - about 17 cubic feet less than in the Rogue. Fold the second row down and that gap shrinks, with 61.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity in the Rogue Sport, just nine fewer cubic feet than in the Rogue.

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A 2.0-liter, four-cylinder underhood sends 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque through Nissan's Xtronic CVT. Those numbers and that transmission mean the Rogue Sport will likely have a challenging time living up to its name. The standard Rogue never earned plaudits for its handling, either, a fact that hasn't stood in the way of eye-popping sales increases. The Rogue Sport will make the best of what it's got with a multi-link independent suspension out back, and stabilizer bars and twin-tube shocks front and back.

Come spring, buyers will get their choice of 10 exterior colors, two interior colors, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive on three trim levels: S, SV, and SL. Aiming at a super-friendly entry-level price point, the S gets 16-inch tires with wheel covers, plus basic tech goodies like Hill Start Assist, Active Trace Control - a brake-based toque vectoring system, Active Engine Braking, and Active Ride Control. The SV graduates to 17-inch alloys, keyless start, climate control, the Divide-N-Hide cargo system, and a power driver's seat. The SL come standard on 19-inch alloys, and boasts leather interior surfaces, heated front seats, remote engine start, Nissan's Around View Monitor, and NissanConnect with Navigation via the seven-inch touchscreen.

Top-tier goodies like forward emergency braking and rear cross traffic alert populate the options list, along with five equipment packages: S Appearance Package, SV All-Weather Package, Premium Package (SV and SL), and SL Platinum Package.

In 2016 the Rogue outsold the Altima sedan in the US, becoming Nissan's best-selling vehicle here. Now that the automaker has set shop in the perennially popular compact SUV segment, the Rogue Sport should lure even more shoppers to the nameplate.

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