2017.5 Nissan Rogue Review By Steve Purdy
2017.5 NISSAN ROGUE
Review by Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
The last time we reviewed a Nissan Rogue was during a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee in 2015. We found it an excellent traveling vehicle and you can read that story HERE
Since that time Rogue has been updated, most recently for the 2017 model year. This is only the second generation for this small-to-midsize, front-wheel drive crossover and in 2016 it was Nissan’s top selling model, just beating out Altima. The most recent Rogue update included restyled headlights, taillights, bolder grille and front fascia, LED DRLs and some other trim. And, it now comes with more standard and optional content including all the driver assistance features that are proliferating in the market, a hands free liftgate in the rear and an available hybrid powertrain.
The bigger news for 2017, though, is the addition of a whole new, smaller Rogue called Rogue Sport, a compact crossover with 2.0-liter engine. We’ll review that one another time.
It seems every manufacturer now has an entry in the small and mid size crossover categories so, as you may surmise, it would take a lot to stand out in this field. Rogue’s styling and design are modern and attractive but is not likely to distinguish itself in a lineup of these great people movers. A more exaggerated, bold grille reflects Nissan’s corporate look – they call it “V-motion” - so people that know cars will immediately recognize it as a Nissan. Others may have to look for the badge since the rest of the styling is rather conventional. The SL version we’re reviewing this week sports optional 19-inch alloy wheels and a rich red paint (they call it Palatial Ruby) to give it a bit of extra panache.
Updates inside include a leather wrapped steering wheel with a flat bottom for a sportier feel, striking two-tone leather seats and trim and a redesigned console. Some materials get updated along with a sportier shifter. Rogue gets Nissan’s much-touted “zero-gravity” front seats reputed to be more comfortable than most for long drives. Our longest was a couple hours. And, yes, they are damn good. The easily managed, but smallish, 7-inch multifunction screen did nothing to confuse or annoy us and the smart folks at Nissan put knobs where knobs ought to be. First-rate fit, finish and trim materials match this modestly upscale CUV.
Generous interior spaces result in the Rogue not feeling as small inside as you might expect. Good range of motion allows this bigger-than-average guy plenty of room up front. By the way, unlike most in this small CUV class, you can even get a third row seat, though don’t expect it to accommodate full-size people or even big dogs. Cargo volume is a good 39.4 cubic-feet and 70 with the 40/20/40 rear seatbacks folded.
Under the hood lives enough power to satisfy most drivers but not enough impress an enthusiast. The trusty, naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder is good for just 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, mated to an updated continuously variable transmission. It moves this 3,400-pound CUV from 0 to 60 mph in a leisurely 9 seconds. The EPA says we can expect about 32 mpg on the highway, 25 in town and 27 mpg combined using regular fuel for our AWD test car. Add just one or two clicks for a FWD version. Our experience was well within that EPA range. The 14.5-gallon fuel tank means we’ll have an average – 350-mile, or so - cruising range.
Handling and performance, while unremarkable, will not disappoint any but the most demanding driver. Suspension is firm but compliant enough to manage even rough roads. Steering feel, brake effort, and shift quality, too, leave nothing to complain about. That CVT shifts willingly enough and with artificial shift points programmed in you’ll not even notice it’s not a conventional transmission unless you put your foot in it.
Our Rogue SL (top-of-the-line but one) AWD shows a base price of a not-too-modest $31,310, but that includes a good level of premium content like: stylish 18-inch alloy wheels, a long list of safety features, power driver seat with lumbar support, “Around View” monitor, leather seats, navigation, Bose premium audio, dual-zone HVAC with second seat AC vents, motion activated lift gate, fog lights, turn signals in the rear view mirrors and plenty more. Our test car has the Premium Package (power moon roof, LED headlights and Forward Emergency Braking), the Premium Package (19-inch wheels, and a list of driver assistance features,) and a special two-tone leather interior. The bottom line on our sticker shows $35,475.
You can buy the base Rogue without any options for less than $25,000 with AWD costing about a grand extra. Nissan’s warranty covers the whole car for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Rogue comes from Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant - their largest, most productive and one of the highest quality plants in the U.S.
Compare Rogue to Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage and a few others. You’ll find it slots just about midrange in just about all categories.
I found the driving dynamics good, the appearance above average, comfort exceptional and content-for-the price pretty good. If you’re shopping in this category – a big job, indeed – you’ll want the Nissan Rogue on your list.
© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved
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