Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Nissan Rogue Earns Its Spot as an SUV of the Year Finalist

The Nissan Rogue has been one of the brand’s best-selling vehicles for many years. As an SUV at an affordable price, sales have been good for the Nissan Rogue. But when stacked against the competitive SUV segment, it has never been one of the best. Enter the 2021 Nissan Rogue – redesigned from the ground up and now one of the best SUVs of the year.

Finalists for the SUV of the Year award: the best of the best

Every year, MotorTrend experts put the newest vehicle models through rigorous testing to find the best of the best. For the 2021 model year, the team tested every SUV and sorted them into categories, with only six SUVs earning a spot as a finalist for the “Best SUV of the Year” award.

According to MotorTrend, it uses a 10-day evaluation in which each SUV is judged against “six key criteria,” including design, engineering, efficiency, safety,  value, and overall performance. 

The list of finalists for the 2021 award year is mostly unsurprising, with luxury segment SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Land Rover Defender topping the list. But even though the 2021 Nissan Rogue didn’t win the final prize, it’s still impressive enough to earn beat out an endless list of other SUVs as one of the six “SUV of the Year” award Finalists.

Why the 2021 Nissan Rogue earned a spot among the best SUVs

RELATED: The Winner of a 2020 Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue Comparison Is Obvious

Immediately from the gate, the redesigned Nissan Rogue is vastly improved over every predecessor. According to MotorTrend’s review of the 2021 Nissan Rogue, it “re-enters the compact SUV scene more relevant than it’s been in a long time” by checking box after box. The Rogue offers practicality, space, interior quality, all at a tremendous value.

Among its best qualities is its “large back seat and wide-opening rear doors” that go unmatched in the segment, as well as its interior design and technology that stand out. Owners can take advantage of great features like a 9.0-inch touchscreen display, 360-degree camera system, head-up display, and Nissan’s suite of driver-assistance safety features.

Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control all come standard, while the semi-autonomous driving mode is also available on certain trims.

It isn’t just MotorTrend experts that enjoyed driving the new Rogue. According to Car and Driver, the 2021 Nissan Rogue “offers more attractive styling, modernized interior tech, improved performance, and more adept ride-and-handling.” With a starting price of around $26,000, the Nissan Rogue may be one of the cheapest SUVs on the finalists list, but it certainly doesn’t pack any less value.

The Nissan Rogue isn’t perfect – why it’s a contender but not the best

Although it’s clear that Nissan upped its game with the complete redesign of the Rogue, it obviously isn’t perfect enough to win “Best SUV of the Year.” The same MotorTrend experts that praised the 2021 Nissan Rogue for its improvements also say that “the biggest problem will probably be that it continues to drive like the old one.”

The Rogue, when compared to rivals, lacks in engine power as well as silence. Nissan doesn’t give owners any option for a better engine either as its 181-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is the sole option across all four trim levels. Its steering isn’t as sporty as others, and the Rogue only accelerates to 60 miles per hour at a slow 9.2 seconds. But for many potential buyers, a ton of power and racing speeds aren’t necessary. Minus its so-so engine, the redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue definitely earned its spot among the best SUVs of the year.