The 2020 Nissan Rogue is a compact crossover that checks many of the boxes folks are looking to fill in this segment. It has slick styling, a spacious interior and up-to-date tech. This generation of Rogue may be getting old in model years (six years since its last full redesign), but from the surface, it’s hard to tell.
Take a peek under the curtain, and the mirage starts to disappear. The engine is dreadfully underpowered, the transmission responds lethargically, and the steering is about as poor as it gets for a new car in 2020. Spend any amount of time driving its competitors and the Rogue’s inferiority is clear as day. Many of those vehicles are on newer platforms and were designed with driver enjoyment being a higher priority. Newer entries from Nissan like the Altima and Sentra are promising, so whenever an all-new Rogue appears, we expect it to be much better. For now, though, a cheap price, average fuel economy and plenty of space are the main selling points for the Rogue today. It’s not a terrible choice, but there are others we’d choose before it.
Note that the Nissan Rogue Sport is a different, smaller SUV altogether.
What's new for 2020?
There isn’t anything new added to the Rogue lineup for 2020, but there is a notable omission. Nissan discontinued the Hybrid model, making the 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder the only engine available now. Prices were bumped up a couple hundred dollars, but the Rogue remains the same in the new model year.
What's the interior and in-car technology like?
The Rogue's cabin is arguably its finest attribute. It starts with a more attractive, car-like design than several top rivals, and on top trim levels, simulated leather trim on the dash and center console create a luxurious look and feel. Overall materials quality is typical for the compact SUV segment. The standard seven-inch touchscreen isn't quite as large as the displays in some rivals and is mounted a bit low, but it's also pretty easy to use and we always appreciate the presence of actual buttons and knobs in support of a touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on every trim level.
Nissan integrates a 5-inch digital display in the gauge cluster for various controls and viewing options. Depending on the trim level you choose, features like dual-zone automatic climate control, a Bose nine-speaker audio system and a panoramic sunroof can elevate the experience above a typical budget crossover.
Taller folks may find that the driver seat does not sufficiently adjust, whether with the standard six-way manual or upgrade eight-way power seat. Otherwise, the seats themselves are quite comfortable.
How big is it?
The Rogue is one of the largest compact SUVs: only the Volkswagen Tiguan is longer and the Subaru Forester taller. It's also one of the heaviest, which certainly doesn't do its engine any favors. Interior space is commensurately generous. The back seat's legroom figure of 37.9 inches may seem unremarkably midpack, but its ability to slide provides a degree of versatility most rivals no longer offer (the Jeep Cherokee and new 2020 Ford Escape are other exceptions). Sliding the seats forward allows you to bring kids closer to mom and dad, or creates more space in the cargo area.
That's a bonus because the Rogue already has more space behind its raised second-row seat than anything else in the segment: 39.3 cubic feet. It also features the standard "Divide-N-Hide" cargo system of floor panels that allows for different floors heights, multiple tiered shelves or a rigid divider. It's quite clever and no competitor offers anything quite like it. Maximum cargo capacity of 70 cubic feet is among the biggest in the segment, with only the Tiguan, Forester and Honda CR-V offering more.
What's the performance and fuel economy?
The Nissan Rogue comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. That's worse than every competitor, and the Rogue isn't lighter to compensate. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy with FWD is 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. It lowers to 25/32/27 with AWD. Either way, it is among the most efficient in the segment — but remember, competitors manage to match that fuel economy while bettering the Rogue's performance.
What's it like to drive?
Quite simply, the Rogue is dreary to drive. The CVT is prone to droning when accelerating hard – and given the underpowered engine, you'll be doing that a lot. The steering's responsiveness and feedback trail that of most rivals, providing little engagement to the driver. Handling is indifferent, yet the ride is nothing special for the segment, either.
Visibility is sufficient from the tall seating position. Blind spots are easily checked unhindered, and the rear window offers up plenty of glass area. The Rogue has no pretenses of driving or feeling luxurious on the road. Road noise and wind noise levels are elevated, and while the ride is on the comfortable side, it’s no better than others in the segment.
The Rogue's handsome styling and functional interior may make a good first impression, but it wears off as the miles pile on.At its best, it's merely fine. Many rivals are more than that.
What more can I read (and watch) about the Nissan Rogue?
We hopped into a brand-new Nissan Rogue for a bit of a road trip to see why American likes buying this crossover so much. Click the link and video for our thoughts.
We try out the Rogue's ProPilot Assist adaptive cruise control and steering assist system, which essentially handles the accelerator, brakes and steering for you when on the freeway – including when stuck in stop-and-go traffic.
The current Rogue dates back to 2014, and this was our first impressions of it. Feature content has been enhanced since then — especially in terms of safety tech — and the styling has been tweaked, but the interior packaging, powertrain and driving experience have remained consistent.
What features are available and what's the price?
Pricing for the 2020 Nissan Rogue starts with the S trim level at $26,395, including the $1,095 destination charge.
Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch steel wheels, a variety of accident avoidance tech (see safety section below), a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 back seat (slide, reclines and folds), the Divide-N-Hide cargo system, a 7-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, satellite radio, a CD player, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a four-speaker sound system. Adding all-wheel drive is an extra $1,350.
To see what extra features come on other trim levels, check out this breakdown of features, pricing and specs here on Autoblog.
- S: $26,395
- SV: $27,815
- SL: $32,785
What's its safety equipment and crash ratings?
Besides the expected array of airbags and stability aids, every Nissan Rogue comes standard with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and automatic high beam control. This is more than even the RAV4 and CR-V provide. Rear automatic braking is also included in the SV and SL trim levels.
The government gives the Rogue four stars for overall and frontal crash safety, along with a five-star side crash rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives it the best-possible marks in all crash tests save the small overlap front: passenger side test. In this test, it earns an Acceptable rating, whereas the rest of the ratings are Good (IIHS highest possible grade). The front crash prevention system also got top marks, earning a Top Safety Pick award for the top trim equipped with LED headlights.