2014 Nissan Rogue Heels on Wheels Review


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2014 Nissan Rogue


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser Parrish
San Francisco Bureau The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE ROGUE VEHICLE
The redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue is now poised as one of the most competitive choices in the segment, jumping from 24 miles-per-gallon combined to a promised 28 and improving just about every styling, functional and technical complaint from the previous generation model.

I drove a 2014 Nissan Rogue with the standard 170-horsepower 2.5-liter Dual Overhead Cam four-cylinder engine paired to the Xtronic CVT automatic transmission with Sport Mode and all-wheel drive. Now with three trim grades –S, SV and SL – my SV test drive came with the following standard features: six-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; leather upholstery; upgraded Bose audio system; seven-inch navigation system; NissanConnect telematics; XM Radio, Traffic and Travel Link; Bluetooth; hands-free text messaging assistant; rearview camera; push-button start; EZ Flex seating system; Divide-N-Hide cargo system; power liftgate; roof rails; and fog lights. Price as described came to $29,420.

The Rogue has undergone significant changes for the model year. Tough competitors include the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, and the Honda CR-V.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The redesigned center stack addresses all former issues and does an excellent job of streamlining screen, audio and climate controls in a usage manner. Once subpar materials have been replaced with finer soft-touch upholstery and carbon-fiber detailing. Utility is a highlight with any Nissan, and the EX Flex seats allow the second-row seats to have a 40/20/20 configuration with a sliding feature. The Divide-N-Hide makes clever use of cargo floor storage. Child seats are easy to install and with plentiful roomy. There is an optional third row as well, but houses only children comfortably.

Reliability & Safety Factor: As a Top Safety Pick, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2014 Nissan Rogue crash test scores of “Good” in every crash-test area – an improvement from last year’s model that received an “Acceptable” for roll over or roof strength. It is not yet rated with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features for the Rogue include Vehicle Dynamic Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, anti-lock brakes, LATCH, energy-absorbing steering column and an advanced airbag system.

Cost Issues: The base S trim starts at $22,490 – over a $2k increase from last year’s model. The SV trim starts at $24,230 and the SL at $28,070 with my fully loaded version coming in at $31,535. The Ford Escape base starts at $22,700; the Honda CR-V at $22,945; and the Kia Sportage at $21,600.

Activity & Performance Ability: The 2.5-liter might be the Rogue’s weakest asset – it continues to lack any real excitement, concentrating on just getting the job done in an acceptable fashion under your typical four-cylinder limitations. The Xtronic CVT doesn’t help much in the powertrain arena as it emits a droning whine. The Ford Escape’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine offers a more authoritative attitude and is paired to sharp steering feedback with quick cornering action.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive claims 25-city and 32-highway for a combined 28 miles-per-gallon. But in my combined driving, I only garnered 25 miles-per-gallon (same results as last model year). While these results are certainly on par with other small crossovers, my experience with the Rogue didn’t net me the fuel economy numbers stated.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
For 2014, Nissan honed in on the competition and improved the Rogue in key areas: it now has more engaging technology, a stronger interior identity and roominess features. Although it didn’t reach its promise of 28 miles-per-gallon combined under my driving, it’s still a top small crossover pick.

2014 Katrina Ramser Parrish

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