Nissan introduced the Rogue Sport as an all-new model for 2017 without much fanfare. Since its initial release, critics have recognized this subcompact SUV for being easy to drive and for its ample cargo space. While the Rogue Sport isn’t a terrible vehicle, it just doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.
The Rogue Sport isn’t sporty at all
The name “Rogue Sport” leads buyers to believe that it’s the sportier, smaller version of the more popular Nissan Rogue, but that’s not the case here. The Rogue Sport is actually slower than the original Rogue. The Rogue Sport features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a 141-horsepower.
In many driving situations, the Rogue Sport feels underpowered. It’s also known to get extremely noisy at highway speeds. The Rogue Sport’s slow acceleration led experts at Consumer Reports to refer to it as “Rogue Junior.”
There are a few redeeming qualities in regards to the Rogue Sports’ performance. CR likes its responsive nature and secure handling. The Rogue Sport is also fuel-efficient and gets a combined 26 mpg. However, these ratings aren’t exceptional compared to other options in the subcompact SUV class.
The Nissan Kicks exists
Nissan released its Kicks subcompact SUV only a year after the Rogue Sport. And in more ways than one, the Kicks makes more sense that the Rogue Sport. Now, the Kicks isn’t a speedy choice either, but it’s fun to drive and has outstanding fuel economy ratings.
With the Kicks, you get a peppy 122-hp, four-cylinder engine. Unlike the Rogue Sport, the Kicks is a standout in the subcompact SUV for its overall gas mileage of 32 mpg. It’s so also easy to maneuver and provides excellent drivers’ visibility.
Furthermore, the 2020 Kicks has a considerably lower starting price compared to the 2020 Rogue Sport, making the Kicks the better value buy. A new Kicks has a starting price of $18,870, and the Rogue Sport starts at $23,240. You can get the top-tier Kicks SR trim level for over $2K cheaper than the base Rogue Sport model. The value-focused Kicks is in the top-third of U.S. News subcompact SUV class ranking while the Rogue Sport sits at the #10 spot.
So is buying a Rogue Sport a bad idea?
Even though it’s not a standout in its class, the Rogue Sport isn’t technically a bad vehicle to buy. One bright spot of the Rogue Sport is its above-average reliability ratings from both CR and J.D. Power. But as we mentioned, the Rogue Sport lacks in important areas.
The Rogue Sport is not very fun to drive, and its crash-safety ratings aren’t as impressive compared to other models in its class. The Kicks is the more compelling subcompact SUV under the Nissan umbrella. And if you are looking for faster options, you’ll want to look at other models like the Mazda CX-3 or even the Kia Soul.