In the ultra-crowded and continuously growing SUV segment, it seems consumers are introduced to entirely new vehicle classes every few years. There are standard SUVs, crossovers, and now “CUVs,” which can — maddeningly —stand for crossover utility vehicles, coupe utility vehicles, or compact utility vehicles, depending on the carmaker and the area of the world. Making matters even more confusing, automakers sometimes use extremely similar names for two different vehicles. In the case of the Nissan Rogue and Nissan Rogue Sport, the vehicles aren’t even in the same class.
The Rogue Sport was introduced in the United States in 2017 but has been sold as the Nissan Qashqai throughout other parts of the world since 2007. While the Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport do have a number of similarities, their names suggest that the latter is simply a sportier trim available on the former and that isn’t the case. To further drive this point home, the vehicles’ sales figures tell two very different stories.
The Nissan Rogue by the numbers
The Nissan Rogue has consistently been the brand’s best-selling model since 2017 — by a long shot. Kelley Blue Book also reports that the Rogue was the third best-selling SUV in America in 2019, behind only the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. According to data from GoodCarBadCar.net, 350,447 Nissan Rogue models were sold in the U.S. in 2019, and 59,717 were sold in the first quarter of 2020. Those numbers in Canada were 37,530 and 5,518, respectively.
In stark comparison, just 18,526 Rogue Sport models were sold in Canada in all of 2019, while the first-quarter 2020 total was 2,557. These figures represent less than half the totals of the Nissan Rogue. To understand what may be behind the Rogue Sport’s measly sales, let’s take a closer look at the vehicles’ differences.
A Rogue by any other name
Size is the biggest difference between the Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport. The Rogue is a compact SUV, while the Rogue Sport is actually a subcompact SUV. Both vehicles have seating for up to five people, but the Rogue is one foot longer and six inches taller than the Rogue Sport, making it substantially more spacious inside and fairly large overall in relation to other compact SUVs. Pricing of the Rogue and Rogue Sport is logically tiered, with the smaller Sport starting at $23,615 and the Rogue starting at $25,300.
Inside, styling is similar for both SUVs, but the materials in the Nissan Rogue are noticeably nicer than the Rogue Sport, which is to be expected. The base S models in each vehicle come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen NissanConnect infotainment system that integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Fuel efficiency is near-identical, with the Rogue getting 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Rogue Sport gets 25 city mpg and 32 highway mpg. All-wheel drive is available on both vehicles.
As of 2020, both the Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport come standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360, the automaker’s signature suite of driver-assist features. Blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beam headlights are all included. ProPilot Assist is an available option on both, which is a semi-autonomous driving system that assists with accelerating, braking, and steering on the highway through adaptive stop-and-go cruise control and lane-keep assist.
To Sport or not to Sport?
Sales numbers aside, if you’re torn between the 2020 Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport, there are a couple of things to consider. The Rogue Sport did just get a refresh for 2020 in its exterior styling and the newly standard advanced safety and driver-assist features, making it far more interesting than previous model years. Two new colors, Nitro Lime Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic, are also available as well as additional wheel options.
On the other hand, the Nissan Rogue appears to be getting an all-new redesign for 2021. Nissan is being tight-lipped about the new model year’s details, but it may very well be worth waiting.