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First Look: 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport

Nissan Qashqais the Juke

Todd LassawriterThe Manufacturerphotographer

Nissan's Qashqai, long the brand's bestseller in Western Europe, finally is coming to North America as the Rogue Sport to help fill out the brand's crossover and sport/utility lineup. In fact, the 2017 Rogue Sport, which was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit auto show, is virtually unchanged from the aforementioned Qashqai.

Specifically, the Nissan Rogue Sport is 172.4 inches overall, on a 104.2-inch wheelbase, and is 62.4 inches wide and the AWD version is 63.3-inches tall. Per Michael Bunce, Nissan North America's vice president for product planning, the Rogue Sport is 12-inches shorter overall, 0.4-inch less-tall, and has a two-inch shorter wheelbase than the Rogue.

Nissan considers both the Rogue, which is available in a three-row configuration in some trim levels, and the two-row-only Rogue Sport as compact crossover/utilities, Bunce says. Sales of the Sport will be included in overall Rogue sales, making it likely to pass the CR-V for the number-one spot in the segment.

Though Nissan says the Rogue Sport is sportier than the Rogue - they share some commonality from the b-pillar back — in part due to 300-pound lower curb weight and its European background, "we'll keep the Juke in the lineup, for now," Bunce says. The company already has said there are no plans for a second-generation Juke. Bunce acknowledged, though, that Nissan plans to be in the burgeoning segment defined by more utilitarian models like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Chevrolet Trax. Nissan is rumored to have a b-segment replacement for the Juke in the works for the 2018 model year.

The Nissan Rogue Sport will be imported from Japan with one engine choice; a 141-hp, 2.0-liter gas direct-injection I-4 "with excellent throttle response," according to Bunce, and "sportier, more maneuverable handling" than the standard Rogue. A multi-link rear suspension available on upper trim levels of the European Qashqai will be standard on U.S. and Canadian models, with the latter keeping the Qashqai name. Nissan's CVT will be the only transmission, and front- or all-wheel-drive will be available for all trim levels. Though Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomy won't be offered at introduction, the Rogue Sport will be available with intelligent cruise control and Nissan Connect.

It will be offered with the familiar S, SV and SL trim levels. Although Nissan has not announced pricing, expect it to land between the Juke's $21,190 and the Rogue's $24,760 base prices.

Nissan expects the Rogue Sport will appeal less to small families and more to singles, couples without children and empty nesters. Cargo space with the rear seat up is 23 cubic-feet, compared with 32 cubic-feet in two-row Rogues. That grows to 61 cubic-feet in the Rogue Sport, making it appealing as the sort of sport/utility that carries bicycles and outdoor/sports equipment.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is assembled in Kyushu, Japan. Nissan says it has no plans, as of yet, to move production to Smyrna, Tennessee, where the Rogue, Altima and other models are produced, though that could change along with the political climate — and waning demand for midsize sedans like the Altima. The Smyrna plant is now running at capacity, thanks largely to the runaway popularity of the Rogue.

On Sale: Spring 2017
Price: $20,500 (est)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/141 hp @ 6000 rpm, 147 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable
Layout: 4-door 5-passenger, front-engine FWD/AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: N/A
L x W x H: 172.4 x 72.3 62.5-63.3 in
Wheelbase: 104.2 in
Weight: N/A
0-60 MPH: N/A
Top Speed: N/A