First glance at Nissan’s new Rogue Sport appears to be a carryover from last year’s model. But a closer look reveals enhancements that elevate its position in the SUV marketplace. Among other changes, the result is a safer ride with updated audio.

Numbers tell this story, with Rogue selling 412,110 units in 2018, outselling popular Honda CR-V and HR-V and closing in on class leader Toyota RAV4. (Rogue and Rogue Sport sales combine for this comparison).

Pros:

Connects most of the dots

Fun to drive

Standard safety gear

Cons:

Pokey acceleration

Rear seat cramped

No turbo available

We feel the best part of this subcompact is its value against rivals. The Sport S with front-wheel drive, for example, has a $22,040 base. From there, you can further dress up the Sport with SV and SL trims with front- or all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, there is just one four-cylinder powerplant across the SUV’s lineup.

Around town most drivers get adequate power. But the highway is different—just 141 horsepower underwhelms in merging interstate traffic or passing. We clocked a sluggish zero to 60 in 11.6 seconds, among the slowest for subcompacts.

Once up to speed, though, Rogue provides a pleasant ride with a quiet cabin and excellent fuel economy. Kudos to Nissan for making automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning standard equipment for all trim levels. Upper trim levels, including our top-of-the-line SL AWD, include rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, all-around view and an upgraded radar cruise system.

Think of Rogue Sport as an urban vehicle for singles and/or city-dwellers. With a full-shorter wheelbase than the full-sized Rogue, the Sport model is ideal for tight parking and maneuverability in city traffic. But this nifty subcompact fits anyone watching the dollar and wishing for Nissan reliability.

Inside cabin space is generous for front-seat passengers, with ample head and legroom. Back seat adult passengers should be limited to two, however. Cargo space is a strong suit for the Rogue Sport—20 cubic feet behind second-row seats, more than most sedan trunks. That space grows to nearly 53 cubes with second-row seats folded. Also a unique storage system utilizes floor dividers for stowing smaller stuff.

Our tester ($33,020) was dressed up with leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, remote start, Bose premium audio with nine speakers, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a rear-door alert warning driver of stowed items in rear seats.

The Sport comes with lots of standard equipment and more can be added without breaking the bank. If you are looking for a sportier ride with more oomph, test drive the full-size Rogue. Rivals in that class include Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Toyota C-HR, Jeep Renegade and Subaru’s Crosstrek. The Sport model is fun around town and on highways. While not a luxurious SUV, it will satisfy most drivers with ample safety gear and a compliant ride.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscarcorner@comcast.net

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport SL AWDEngine: 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder, 141 horsepower

EPA rated mileage: 24 city, 30 highway, 27 combined

Price: Starting about $22,340

Resale (good): 2016 Nissan Rogue (50,000 miles) $12,500-$21,000

Assembled: Kyushu, Japan; U.S./Canadian parts content, not available; major source of foreign parts, Japan

Crash test ratings: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives Rogue Sport five stars of five in overall frontal driver crash protection, but only two stars for passenger safety, five stars for side barrier and pole safety, combined, and four stars in rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the Sport.

Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile basic; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain

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