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2015 Nissan Rogue - Heels on Wheels Review


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Nissan Rogue® SL AWD shown in Cayenne Red with optional equipment


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

INTRO TO THE ROGUE VEHICLE
Redesigned just last year, the 2015 Nissan Rogue exceeds rank in the competitive smaller crossover market by offering 28 miles-per-gallon combined, improved function and technical features, and the option for five to seven passengers.

I drove a 2015 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 front-wheel drive. Available in three trim grades –S, SV and SL – my SL test drive came with the following standard features: six-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; leather upholstery; upgraded nine-speaker Bose audio system; seven-inch touchscreen navigation system; NissanConnect telematics; XM Radio, Traffic and Travel Link; Bluetooth; hands-free text messaging assistant; Around View monitor (rearview camera); push-button start; EZ Flex seating system; Divide-N-Hide cargo system; push-button start; LED headlights; power liftgate; roof rails; and fog lights. Price as described came to $28,280.

Since the Rogue underwent significant changes last model, for 2015 the additions are minor. Competitors include the Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, and the Honda CR-V.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: As noted with last year’s review, the Rogue’s redesigned center stack addresses all former ergonomic issues and better streamlines the touchscreen, audio and climate controls. Subpar materials have been replaced with finer soft-touch upholstery and carbon-fiber detailing. The EX Flex seats allow the second-row seats to have a 40/20/20 configuration with a sliding feature while 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 small children comfortably. My test drive came with an optional $1,990 SL Premium Package that added a moonroof, and a suite of safety technology like Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Warning and Moving Object Detection.

Reliability & Safety Factor: As a Top Safety Pick, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2015 Nissan Rogue crash test scores of “Good” in every crash-test area. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2015 Rogue an overall rating of 4-Stars. 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 $22,790; the mid-level SV trim $24,490; and the SL at $28,280. If you are price shopping, competitors like the Honda CR-V starts at $23,320 and the Hyundai Tucson at $21,650.

Activity & Performance Ability: The 2.5-liter lacks any real excitement, concentrating on just getting the job done in an acceptable fashion due to the constraints of a typical four-cylinder powertrain. Although a gas-saver, the Xtronic CVT 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. During last year’s test driving, I only garnered 25 miles-per-gallon and other reviewers netted the same results. The Rogue has a 1 mile-per-gallon gain with front-wheel drive at 26-city and 33-highway for a combined 28.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
Nissan deserves credit for improving the Rogue in key areas – and showing up many competitors by offering features not typical found on the smaller crossover, such as safety technology and a seven-seat option. Fuel economy isn’t netting the exact results promised, and the engine is a bit lackluster, but the 2015 Rogue is still highly worth the consideration.

©2014 Katrina Ramser Parrish

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