We all know the Rogue is an incredible performer for Nissan. But if you need proof, the company says the redesigned Rogue broke its all-time United States single month sales record in December 2016 with sales of 40,477 units. It even passed the Altima to take the U.S. sales crown for Nissan for the 2016 calendar year.
The company is constantly thinking of ways to continue attracting consumers to the vehicle. For example, it recently came out with its limited edition Nissan Rogue One that made a major splash. Nissan partnered with the studio behind the latest “Star Wars” film on the special vehicle and a major marketing campaign followed. Now, Nissan is rolling out even more tricks when it comes to its top-selling crossover. It’s targeting a different type of consumer with its 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport.
The Nissan Rogue Sport is the U.S. version of the award-winning Qashqai crossover that’s sold in Europe. Nissan officials say it didn’t necessarily give the Qashqai the Rogue name in the U.S. because they thought Qashqai would be hard for Americans to pronounce.
“In the U.S., because of the success of Rogue, we thought it was important to leverage the Rogue name,” Christian Meunier, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nissan North America, told Car and Driver at the 2017 International Auto Show in Detroit where the vehicle was unveiled.
The Rogue Sport sits above the Nissan Juke and just below the Rogue. While it shares the Rogue name, platform and several advanced safety and security features, the company says it stands on its own as a “stylish, nimble, fun-to-drive and affordable compact SUV.”
“The new Rogue Sport is a perfect addition to the red hot Rogue lineup, which is also adding a first-ever Rogue Hybrid model for 2017,” said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America.
Why Offer The Sport
Of course, we all know Nissan wants to expand its Rogue brand because the Rogue is its number one seller but at the vehicle’s unveiling in Detroit, Bunce further explained why the company chose to offer the Sport.
“We have customers that come to shop Nissan Rogue quite honestly and they want something smaller, something sportier and they don’t need all the cargo space that we have in the Rogue today and this vehicle behind me is perfect for empty nesters, couples without kids, or singles that just want a sportier vehicle in a crossover shape and form without the extra cargo capacity and that’s the beauty of the Rogue Sport,” said Bunce.
The Nissan Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase than the Rogue. More importantly, the overall length of the vehicle is 12.1 inches shorter.
“What that does is make the vehicle more agile and more sportier in terms of maneuverability in the field,” said Bunce at the press conference in Detroit.
It also, of course, changes the look of the vehicle a bit. Nissan says the sleek, compact body projects powerful fender volume and a wheel-oriented stance. Just as the vehicle’s length is shorter, it also stands lower.
“It stands lower even though it’s a crossover. It’s about six inches lower, same width as the Rogue we have in market today,” said Bunce. “But [the Rogue Sport] offers the 19-inch aluminum wheels which we have on the Nissan Rogue which really gives it a true sporty posture which I think, it looks phenomenal.”
Because the Rogue Sport is smaller, the five-passenger vehicle does offer a little bit less headroom and legroom. However, it certainly does not lack the interior features that make the larger Rogue so great like the driver-oriented cockpit, sport mode shifter and available heated steering wheel and front seats. The 2017 Rogue Sport also has a number of available connected technology and smartphone integration features.
“Though more compact than Rogue, the new Rogue Sport fully measures up in terms of features that make driving more enjoyable for both driver and passengers,” said Bunce.
Of course, the Rogue Sport’s smaller size also results in less cargo room. However, because Nissan isn’t trying to attract families with this version of their top-selling SUV, it’s really not seen as a concern.
“The consumer for this vehicle we know will be typically non-family,” said Bunce. “When they need to use that cargo space they can drop those second row seats and get up to 61 [cubic] feet of space.”
When the second row seats are up, meanwhile, there’s 22.9 cu. ft. of space.
The Rogue Sport utilizes the same Common Module Family platform as the Rogue. Like the Rogue, it’s also available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The powertrains, however are different. The Rogue Sport comes with a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder that produces 141 horsepower and 147 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s matched with an Xtronic transmission with standard Eco Mode switch. In comparison, the Rogue comes with a 2.5-liter engine that produces 170 hp. The Rogue also now comes with a hybrid option which the Rogue Sport does not.
While smaller and less powerful, the Nissan Rogue Sport is packed with just as many safety features. It offers available technologies including Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Emergency Braking and Intelligent Cruise Control.
It makes complete sense for Nissan to offer the Rogue Sport to its consumers. The Rogue is so popular that it’s definitely easy to see a smaller version of it doing well especially among younger consumers. Company executives are more than confident about it.
“We think it’s going to be a tremendous success,” said Bunce at the Rogue Sport’s unveiling.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport comes in a choice of S, SV and SL grade levels. It’s assembled in Kyushu, Japan. The vehicle will go on sale beginning this spring.