As crossovers go, Nissan is just starting to hit their strides in this segment with the newly redesigned Rogue. Sure, it’s not as “battle hardened” as the Toyota Rav4 or the Hyundai Santa Fe veterans but it does have a one generation lead over the Mazda CX-5. So how does this new Rogue compare in the fastest growing auto segment among the veterans and the new competitors? Read on…
Performance – Under the hood of the Rogue is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. Despite the low figure, it’s actually a good amount of power to move the vehicle around. Obviously it’s not going to launch the Rogue like a 370Z, but it’s enough to accelerate the ~1,600 kg body to highways speeds in approximately 9 seconds which is comparable with other crossovers. Unfortunately this is the only engine that Nissan offers. There is no turbocharged version, no V6, just this naturally aspirated 4-cylinder. However the trade-off is superb fuel economy. This fully loaded, all-wheel-drive model manages to achieve a fuel rating of 6.2L/100km on a highway and 8.2L/100km in a city. That is very good fuel consumption as it is slightly better than the Mazda CX-5 with its Skyactiv technology and a lot better than the Toyota Rav4. Also if you want to save a tiny bit more fuel, the Rogue is also offered with front-wheel-drive as well.
The engine is mated to an automatic transmission but Nissan likes… sorry, loves to use a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) rather than a traditional automatic. This type of transmission doesn’t do anything to liven up the driving experience of the Rogue; in fact it dulls it a little bit. But the big advantage to using a CVT is the fuel savings. This is one of the big reasons why the Rogue is one of the most fuel efficient, non-hybrid crossovers on sale today.
Around twisty roads it is best to take the corners at a slow pace. Crossovers are designed to feel more like a car rather than a big SUV but the Nissan Rogue manages to be the opposite. The shocks are set up to be very soft, which is good for comfort, but not so good if you want to pretend that you’re 16 again and just got your license. The whole body leans over from side to side making the Rogue feel like the Armada rather than a sedan like the Maxima. But with the all-wheel-drive option selected, there is plenty of grip drive around in a blizzard and plow through snowmen, at least according to the commercials.
Comfort – The interior of the Rogue is like no other because it feels more like a premium SUV rather than a high riding family sedan. This top of the line SL model is equipped with very soft leather seats that are easily comparable to an SUV coasting twice as much. The rear seats can fold in many different variations and can also slide backwards and forwards for either more leg room or more storage room. Also, the Rogue is one of only a few crossovers than has an optional 3rd row seating arrangement for larger families.
The premium feeling theme continues when you take a look at the options list. Apart from driving itself, the Rogue can be fitted with just about every entertainment and safety feature than can be found on other premium auto brands. Satellite navigation, Bose sound system, XM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning… and the list goes on. But by far my favourite option is the 360° camera system which allows you to see how close you can get to other objects or street curbs. This feature makes parking a lot easier and should definitely be checked on the options list.
Odds and Ends – The exterior styling of the Rogue is miles better than what it used to be. If the Nissan badge was replaced, people could easily mistake it for a luxury crossover from Germany. Everything is well proportioned and the body has lines in all the right places. It looks a little bit alien from the front with the LED daytime running lights and the way the chrome “nose” protrudes from the bumper.
This not so little crossover is actually quite a likeable vehicle. Sure it’s not going to win at a track day but when was the last time you saw a crossover at one? It is a comfortable, well refined, and very fuel efficient vehicle that offers a big bang for the small amount of bucks that you have to pay. The Rogue starts at a reasonable $23,500 CAD and a fully loaded SL AWD version with most of the options ticked off comes in at just over $35,000 CAD. Not bad for something that feels like it’s worth $50,000 CAD.
Thank you to West Coast Nissan for providing the vehicle and visit their website to view this and other vehicles that are available for purchase or lease. www.WestCoastNissan.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.