Slightly Smaller Crossover Comes Stateside
Nissan’s Qashqai small crossover has a new name and a new home; it will go on sale this spring as the 2017 Rogue Sport in the North America to take advantage of the American love affair with utility vehicles over cars.
Not only does the American version drop the hard-to-spell and vowel-challenged Qashqai name for this market, but it also builds on the strength of the Rogue, which is Nissan’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. In a strange move, it will be called Qashqai in Canada, although there is little evidence they are better spellers. Officials say Canadians align more with Europeans and thus will share the European name.
The Rogue Sport slots in below the Rogue but both will be classified as compact crossovers and their numbers will be pooled when it comes to reporting sales. The Rogue Sport is a five-passenger crossover while the Rogue, which is 12.1 inches longer with an extra 2.3 inches of wheelbase, has an available third row and can accommodate seven passengers. The Rogue Sport is the same width but is lower than the Rogue. Nissan expects singles and couples to opt for Rogue Sport and families to choose the larger Rogue.
Nissan will keep the Juke compact crossover in the lineup for now, says Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America. There are “no final plans” at this point for the niche product.
Made in Kyushu, Japan, and homologated for the North American market, the Rogue Sport will be offered in three trims: S, SV, and SL, each with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, and there are five optional equipment packages. Pricing has not been announced but executives promise it will be affordable and competitive.
The Rogue Sport still offers 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seats folded down. but when the seats are up, there is only 23 cu-ft of cargo room in back compared with 32 cu-ft with the larger Rogue. The Rogue Sport shares a lot of equipment including the Divide-N-Hide Cargo system that keeps items out of sight, which is available on the SV and SL trim levels.
The tiny crossover has a sporty front grille and headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and fog lights are an option. In back, there are boomerang-shaped LED taillights and a rear spoiler. The CUV also has body-color front and rear bumpers and mirrors with black wheel arches and roof molding. It will be offered with a choice of 10 colors.
Rogue Sport is powered by a direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 141 hp at 6,000 rpm and 147 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. While it has a smaller engine than the 2.5-liter in the Rogue, the Sport is 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter so could be as quick off the line. The Rogue Sport has a continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive, and Hill Start Assist is standard.
Underneath is a front independent-strut suspension with a stabilizer bar and twin-tube shock absorbers and multilink independent rear suspension with twin-tube shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar.
There is a variety of wheels and tires. Rogue Sport S models have 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers and 215/65R16 all-season tires; Rogue SV features 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/65017 all-season tires; and Rogue Sport SL comes with 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 225/45R19 all-season tires.
Blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, emergency braking, lane-departure warning and prevention are among the safety technologies.
Inside, there is the usual plethora of USB connections, jacks and power outlets to connect, and power devices as well as Siri Eyes Free and Bluetooth Hands-free phone system, hands-free texting, and streaming audio—features owners can no longer live without. The key fob can be used to remotely start the engine.
The Rogue Sport has a 7.0-inch touchscreen as the nerve center for its infotainment, which includes navigation, mobile apps, services, and phone integration as well as satellite radio and Travel Link.
The Qashqai sold in the rest of the world is already four years old and officials did not want to say whether, when it is due for its next generation, the Rogue Sport will also be redone. “We need to work on synchronization,” Bunce said.
And while the Rogue Sport shares a platform with vehicles Nissan builds in Smyrna, Tenn., there are no plans to add production here.