As the crossover boom expands to smaller vehicles, automakers have looked to their global lineups to scrounge up itty-bitty SUVs for American customers. Honda turned the Japan-market Vezel into the HR-V, Chevrolet’s Trax had been on sale in several foreign countries before it was introduced here, and Ford soon will bring the South American EcoSport to our shores. Now Nissan joins the trend by tapping its European Qashqai for duty as the new Rogue Sport.
In contrast to some of the models rushed to this segment, which can feel half-baked, the crossover already is on its second generation and is a proven success in Europe, where it’s Nissan’s best-selling model. A handsome little thing, the Rogue Sport is far less overwrought than many of Nissan’s current designs.
The Rogue Sport also is a useful size: At 172.4 inches long, it’s a bit bigger than the smallest subcompacts, but it’s more petite than compacts such as the 180.6-inch Honda CR-V and the standard, 184.5-inch Nissan Rogue (we’ll call it the big Rogue). The closest competitor to the Rogue Sport, sizewise, is the new, 173.0-inch 2017 Jeep Compass, another tweener. Smart interior packaging means that the Rogue Sport’s cargo space—23 cubic feet behind the second row and 61 cubes with the rear seats folded—is in the hunt with the Compass and the remarkably cavernous HR-V with the rear seats up and ahead of both rivals with all seats folded.
Buyers get a lot for the Rogue Sport’s $22,380 base price. Standard equipment for the base S model includes Bluetooth, cruise control, a backup camera, rear HVAC vents, and a USB port. Step up to the $23,980 SV, and you get 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, proximity entry, and a power driver’s seat. The top-spec SL loaded with all the active-safety features and the optional $1350 all-wheel-drive system can top $30,000, but, since a big Rogue can exceed $35,000 with all the options, the price seems reasonable.
That miss is hardly a fatal flaw, however. The attractive, practical, and reasonably priced Rogue Sport benefits from a lack of strong competition and is for now among the most well-rounded entries in its class. It’s not a stretch to see it being as much of a hit in the States as it has been across the pond.