Nissan has finally overhauled its most popular model in Canada, and the third-generation 2021 Rogue has debuted with an all-new platform, updated technology, and a new design.

That new design gives the crossover a boxier silhouette, better aerodynamics, and more dramatic styling both inside and outside. The front end is a drastic departure from the outgoing model, with a more upright design, a double iteration of the brand’s signature V-shaped grille, an active grille shutter, and dual-level LED headlights.

The back end, meanwhile, looks a bit more anonymous and could be mistaken for many of its competitors, but the new available contrast roof and two-tone designs are welcome additions. Each door now has a button on the exterior door handle that can be used to unlock just that door or all the doors by pressing it once or twice, making it much more convenient.  

Inside, the updated cabin looks much more upscale than it used to with the addition of available woodgrain trim, quilted leather seats, dual-tone seating with new colour options, contrast stitching, a new electronic shifter that allows space for a large new storage cubby, a brushed black trim for the centre console, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and more. A heated steering wheel is now standard, while heated rear seats are optional. Nissan also says rear seat leg room and headroom have been improved. The rear seats can be folded flat with one touch and there’s also a remote folding function that’s available as an option, as is a motion-activated liftgate. Nissan says the interior will also be much quieter, with the automaker promising “class leading” quietness.

Some standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch central touchscreen, rear door alert, easy fill tire alert, the extremely comfortable “Zero Gravity” seats in the front and rear for the first time, USB A and C ports, tri-zone climate control, rear sunshades, and the Japanese brand’s suite of driver assistance and safety technology, which includes a driver alertness monitor, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic emergency braking. Optional extras and features included in higher trims include wireless smartphone charging, a 10.8-inch colour head up display, a 9-inch touchscreen, a WiFi hotspot, a 12-3-inch digital dashboard, an around-view monitor, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and active blind spot intervention.

Nissan’s “ProPILOT Assist” suite of driver assistance technology, which includes adaptive cruise control, has also been improved to provide smoother operation and can now link up to the navigation system (Nissan calls this Navi-link) to adapt to the car’s surroundings better, like slow down for an on-ramp, for example. The system now allows Rogues equipped with Navi-link to be stopped for 30 seconds in stop-and-go traffic and resume again without driver intervention, an improvement over the previous system’s three-second window.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue will still be powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, but its output has been increased to 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque from 170 hp and 175 lb-ft. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) has also been refined smoother operation, increased responsiveness, and better fuel economy.

The Rogue’s steering system has also been updated to make it more precise and tweaks to the suspension should also help improve the SUV’s ride and handling, as will a lighter and more rigid chassis. A new brake-based torque vectoring system has also been added to improve cornering performance and in AWD models, provides individual four-wheel control. In front-wheel-drive models, the Rogue has three driving modes: Sport, Standard and Eco, while AWD models get five: Off-Road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue goes on sale this fall, with pricing and fuel economy to be announced closer to that date. The Rogue won’t immediately have an electrified powertrain offered, but the brand is still evaluating if it’s viable. The Rogue competes with compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Jeep Cherokee, and Ford Escape, and will be available in S, SV, and Platinum trims.