Nissan’s response to the burgeoning compact crossover market, the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport is a practical choice. It may not be the most exciting car, but it benefits from features and technology stolen from its larger sibling. Still, the Rogue Sport faces stiff competition from makers like Honda and Mazda.
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2018 Nissan Rogue Sport Overview
What's New for 2018
New in 2017, the Rogue Sport returns mechanically unchanged for another year. The only changes are in the packages: the SV All-Weather and Premium Packages have been folded together and rebranded as the SV Technology Package, and the SL Platinum Package has been renamed the SL Premium Package.
Choosing Your Nissan Rogue Sport
The Rogue Sport is shorter than the full-size Rogue, so there’s no option for a third row of seats. All Rogue Sports are powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimates mileage up to 25 mpg city, 32 highway, and 28 combined, which is (surprisingly) less efficient than the larger Rogue. All-wheel drive is available as an option on all trims for $1,350 and drops fuel economy to 24 city, 30 highway, and 27 combined mpg.
Cargo capacity is respectable at 22.9 cubic feet behind the second row and up to 61.1 cu. ft. with the seats folded down. All Rogue Sports also come with tech features like a rearview camera and extended Apple's Siri eyes-free voice controls (provided you're carrying a compatible iPhone that's connected via Bluetooth).
Buyers can choose from three available trims: S, SV, and SL.
Stick to the SV trim if you’re considering the Rogue Sport. The safety features of the SL are nice, but they bump the price into the range of full-fledged SUVs. As you’d expect from Nissan, the Rogue Sport is sensible and solid, but make sure you also check out the cheap and competent Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-3.
2018 Nissan Rogue Sport Review
The handsomely styled 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport comes with pleasant front seats, decent fuel economy, and a nice feature set in the value-oriented base model. But it's held back by a smallish second row, mediocre performance, and active safety features that are optional only on the pricey top trim.
Pricing for the 2018 Rogue Sport ranges from $22,615 for a front-wheel drive S model to $31,860 for a fully-optioned, all-wheel-drive SL in available Pearl White. The SV trim slots in between the two, while a single engine and transmission is offered in either front- or all-wheel drive. A rearview camera is standard, but blind-spot monitoring along with rear cross-traffic alert is part of the $2,420 Technology Package on the SV, while automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and mitigation, and rear cross-traffic alert are only available on the SL model as part of the $2,850 Premium Package.
We'd skip the S model – even though it comes with a nice feature set – and opt for the SV model that includes everything from the S trim (the usual power features, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free) and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, turn signal outside mirrors, a power driver's seat, and keyless push-button start.
We question the value of the AWD system, as it prices the Rogue Sport too close to the larger Rogue, so here's how we'd build it:
- Model: 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport SV
- Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 141 hp / 147 lb-ft
- Transmission: CVT automatic
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- MPG: 25 City / 32 Hwy
- Options: All-Weather Package ($920, heated outside mirrors, front seats, and steering wheel, remote engine start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fog lights).
- Base Price:$24,215 (including the $975 destination fee)
- Best Value Price:$25,135
Performance is hardly the Rogue Sport's strongest suit, but it does offer decent handling, sharp steering with plenty of feedback, and good ride quality when equipped with 17-inch wheels. Fuel economy is also very good with an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway, and 28 combined for FWD models.
A "Sport" in name only, the goodness pretty much ends there. With just 141 horsepower on tap and a CVT tuned for efficiency, full-on acceleration is lethargic and noisy. The narrower sidewalls on rubber wrapping the larger 19-inch wheels on SL models result in a harsh ride over bumps and irregularities.
A handsome design that resembles the larger Rogue – especially up front – is wrapped around a carefully-assembled and well-executed interior with supportive front seats and simple, logically-arranged buttons and knobs. Cargo room is average for the class at 22.9 cubic feet behind the rear seat that expands to 61.1 cu. ft. with the rear seat folded.
On the flip side, the Rogue Sport's styling doesn't stand out from the crowd of like-sized crossovers, unless you consider the S model's low-rent plastic hubcaps, while the all-black interior feels enclosed. Worse yet is a rear seat with seat belts for three, but room for only two adults – who may find themselves negotiating with front seat occupants for leg room.
The Best and Worst Things
The Rogue Sport's slick design and comfortable front seats are enticing, but its sluggish performance and cramped back seat are disheartening.
Right For? Wrong For?
A slick design with some nice interior touches should appeal to style-conscious buyers who are value-oriented.
Poor performance plus a droning CVT will likely drive enthusiasts away.
The Bottom Line
Despite a slick design, decent fuel economy, and a value-oriented base model, the Rogue Sport falls to mid-pack due to its mediocre performance, tight second row, and expensive active safety features.
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