Viewing Nissan's 2017 Rogue Sport as a new base trim grade to a top-seller would be an easy and understandable mistake, but this baby SUV is its own entity. It's based on the European Qashqai, and shares only a limited number of cosmetic components with its sibling.
Nissan has taken care to align the vehicles with similar styling, but the dimensions are fairly different. The Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than the Rogue. Overall length falls to 172.4 inches, which puts it in a class of smaller compact SUVs such as the Chevrolet Trax or Honda HR-V. Jeep's 2017 Compass and Ford's 2018 EcoSport should also compete for the growing demand for subcompact SUVs.
As a smaller crossover, the Rogue Sport drives very much like a car, and its handling capabilities are, in some ways, superior to the Rogue. It's lower to the ground, and provided easy maneuverability through the streets of Nashville, Tenn., where a group of journalists took their first crack at testing the vehicle.
The Rogue Sport is powered by a new 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 141 hp that's more refined than the Rogue's 2.5-liter four. The choice to pair the engine with a continuously variable transmission can offer some points of frustration when you're attempting to get the vehicle up to freeway speeds with an, at times, inconsistent power delivery. But the overall package delivers when it's needed most.
The Rogue Sport provides up to 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row seat folded, so drivers in sales fleets would have ample room for sales collateral or other small cargo.
The Rogue Sport delivers value for its $22,380 starting price. Available safety technologies include Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Forward Emergency Braking.
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