New Model News

Redesigned 2021 Nissan Rogue ups the ante but isn't revolutionary

Nissan has completely redesigned the Rogue for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Most of the compact SUV offerings in the U.S. have been redesigned or refreshed in the last two years. Finally, it is the Nissan's turn. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is new from top to bottom with a beefy exterior, more power, and reconfigured storage space. As expected, there's also a number of high-tech upgrades.

The Nissan Rogue competes directly with the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Equinox, and Mazda CX-5, among others. It slots into the Nissan lineup between the larger Pathfinder and the smaller Rogue Sport. The Nissan Kicks is even smaller.

2021 Nissan Rogue The SUV has a commanding presence with a flatter front indicative of the fresh Nissan design language coming throughout the SUV lineup.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan will sell the 2021 Rogue in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Rogue Platinum is new to the lineup and gives the buyer the equipment in nearly every option box.

Though most vehicles seem to be increasing in size with every redesign, the Rogue is not. Nissan has shrunk the Rogue's body by 1.5 inches and lowered it by 0.2 inches, which they say helps with the SUV's maneuverability. The wheelbase is the same (106.5 inches) compared to the 2020 model.

The sizing changes mean that the SUV loses some head-, hip-, and legroom in both rows of seating. Shoulder room, however, is increased in the front and remains the same for rear passengers.

Cargo volume with the second-row seats folded has increased by over four cubic feet while space behind the second row seats remains the same. The Rogue now has more space with both rows of seats folded down than nearly every other SUV in its class except the cavernous Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. A motion-activated tailgate is available.

2021 Nissan Rogue All-wheel drive and a motion-activated tailgate are available.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Many hallmarks of Nissan design play out on the exterior of the new model. The V-motion grille is applied with a new dynamic, riding the hood to give the Rogue a robust front. Standard multilevel LED headlights flank the grille. This is a completely new look for Nissan and the Rogue. LED fog lights come standard in SL and Platinum grades.

The 2021 Rogue will be offered in a wide range of color combinations, including – for the first time – five two-tone combinations.

Those who frequently use the rear seats will appreciate that the new Rogue has rear doors that open nearly 90 degrees.

Each Rogue will be powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are increases on the amount achieved by the 2020 Rogue. The engine is pared with a continuously variable transmission.

2021 Nissan Rogue Uniquely, the SUV's rear is rather flat with a sculpted C-pillar doing the work to create a curvy posterior.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The new Vehicle Motion Control system uses technology to smooth out the drive experience for better fuel efficiency. It predicts what the driver is trying to do to do by monitoring steering, acceleration, and braking then acting to smooth out the effect of those actions. It works in conjunction with the all-wheel drive system.

Depending on trim level, the five-passenger SUV rides on 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels.

Engineers have given the SUV five drive modes in vehicles equipped with available all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is standard): Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are activated via a dial on the center console. That area is also home to a new shifter, electronic parking brake and auto hold buttons, and two cup holders.

From the look of things, Nissan is continuing to up the ante toward premium with its top-level Rogue cabin offering.

2021 Nissan Rogue The SUV's cabin has been completely restyled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Rear seat occupants benefit greatly from the generational redesign. They get Nissan's signature Zero Gravity seats standard, available pull-up sunshades, optional tri-zone climate control, and available heated seats.

USB-C and USB-A ports are located in the center console. A 7.0-inch driver's information display is standard.

The list of available features includes a 10.8-inch head-up display,12.3-inch digital instrument panel, "floating" 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Bose sound system, wireless charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hot spot, navigation, Google Maps, Waze, and NissanConnnect Services.

Nissan equips every Rogue with Nissan Safety Shield 360, a suite of safety technology that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrians detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. A surround view camera, blind spot intervention, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition are available. Adaptive cruise control is part of the available ProPilot Assist system.

2021 Nissan Rogue The look of the buttons on the steering wheel is new for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

For the new model year, Nissan's ProPilot Assist system works with next-gen radar and camera technology. Additionally, the hold time in stop-and-go highway traffic changes from the previous three seconds to up to 30 seconds (for vehicles with ProPilot Assist with Navi-link only) – allowing the vehicle to remain stopped and automatically continue without the driver resetting the function or tapping the accelerator pedal.

2021 Nissan Rogue The center console features a new design with a fresh shifter.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2021 Nissan Rogue goes on sale at dealerships nationwide this autumn. Pricing is expected to increase from the 2020 model, with the Platinum grade topping out several thousand dollars over the formerly top-tier Rogue SL.

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The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is made to be trail-ready

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

If you want to go off-roading but you’re apprehensive behind the wheel? Jeep is introducing the Jeep Adventure Academy, a program that provides hands-on, off-road driving instruction to Jeep 4x4 owners.

"Off-roading is a rite of passage for Jeep 4x4 owners and the new Jeep Adventure Academy will provide key knowledge every off-roader can use for hitting the trails," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand, FCA - North America. "The new Jeep Adventure Academy underscores the Jeep brand's commitment to delivering Jeep 4x4 vehicles that provide owners with a sense of capability, safety and security to handle any condition or adventure with confidence."

2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Jeep Trailhawk models are trail-tested ahead of their retail salePhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Academy kicks off this October and will take place at select locations nationwide. Instructors from Jeep Jamboree USA will lead the program alongside off-roading experts.

Each Academy session will focus on several essential areas of off-roading instruction, including 4x4 system basics, driving techniques, trail etiquette, vehicle preparation and equipment, how to properly read terrain and challenging obstacles, safety tips and more.

The Jeep Adventure Academy will take place during the first three weeks in October at the following locations:

  • Holly Oaks Off-road Vehicle Park, Holly, Michigan: October 2-4
  • Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, Seymour, Missouri: October 9-11
  • Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, Hollister, California: October 16-18

Registration is available at jeepadventureacademy.com. A one-day session starts at $99 and requires Jeep 4x4 vehicle ownership. The academy sessions will be led by professional staff from Jeep Jamboree USA, an organization that has been conducting off-road adventures since 1953.

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