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.

Best Value

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

Nissan Rogue Sport

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.

Style

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?

Nissan Rogue Sport

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.