Nissan is bringing the Europe-market Qashqai to the U.S., but the carmaker has apparently decided that the small crossover’s name is too difficult for us Americans to pronounce. As such, it’s calling this new offering the Rogue Sport to leverage the name recognition of its best-selling model, the Rogue. Perhaps Nissan got the idea from its new corporate partner Mitsubishi, which offers the Outlander and the smaller Outlander Sport.
The 2017 Rogue Sport is 12.1 inches shorter than the standard Rogue and has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase, which makes it slightly larger than the Nissan Juke and other subcompact crossovers such as the Honda HR-V and the Kia Soul. Despite its smaller footprint, it does share its basic platform with the Rogue, meaning its strut-front and multilink-rear suspension setups are retained.
The revised dimensions lend the Rogue Sport a more attractive look, as the shorter front and rear overhangs make the smaller SUV look a bit more athletic. Frankly, though, we don’t think most buyers will see too much of a difference between the two crossovers, as the Rogue Sport shares its grille design, wheel styling, and much of its color palette with the existing Rogue. The Sport’s interior also employs a nearly identical design for the dashboard and the steering wheel, although its five-passenger layout will be a bit tighter than what’s found in the Rogue, which offers an available third-row seat. Cargo space shrinks, too, with the Rogue Sport offering 23 cubic feet behind the second row and 61 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded, compared with 32 and 70 cubes in the standard Rogue.
The Sport moniker doesn’t extend to the crossover’s powertrain, however, as a 141-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission is the lone setup. Even though the Rogue Sport is expected to be a few hundred pounds lighter than the Rogue (an official weight isn’t yet available), that engine isn’t likely to make for impressive acceleration. To be fair, few of the Rogue Sport’s competitors offer much oomph either: In our most recent comparison of subcompact crossovers, not a single entry managed to get from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds.
Nissan’s familiar S, SV, and SL trim levels comprise the Rogue Sport lineup, with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive being an option. The S includes a USB port, Bluetooth, a backup camera, and satellite radio. The SV trim brings extra features like 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity entry and push-button start, and automatic headlights, while the SL comes standard with 19-inch wheels, heated leather front seats, a 360-degree-view camera, fog lights, and a heated steering wheel. A package of active safety features including adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and lane-departure warning is optional.
Nissan won’t announce pricing until closer to the Rogue Sport’s on-sale date this spring, but a starting price right around $20,000 wouldn’t be unexpected given the standard Rogue’s $24,760 base price.