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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 NISSAN ROGUE HYBRID REVIEW


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

INTRO TO THE ROGUE VEHICLE
The Nissan Rogue is an enticing choice for families seeking a smaller-sized crossover, as it’s both functional and affordable – plus fuel economy is 33 miles-per-gallon (that’s all-wheel drive numbers).

I drove a 2017 Nissan Rogue with the 176-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine paired to the Xtronic CVT automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. Available in two trims for the Hybrid model – the SV and SL – my SV test drive came with the following standard features: six-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support; Quick Comfort heated front seats; Bluetooth; Divide-N-Hide cargo system; push-button start; EZ Flex rear seating system; 5-inch color audio display; Blind Spot Warning; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; remote engine start; and 17-inch alloy wheels. Price as described without options comes to $27,590.


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The Rogue underwent significant changes two model years ago, and while exterior styling has been refreshed, not much else has changed. Competition includes the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the non-hybrid Honda CR-V with the smaller 1.5-liter engine, and the more car-like Kia Niro that is being touted as a crossover.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Rogue’s body now features sharper edges that better incorporate the headlights. Nissan has worked out several ergonomic issues which includes streamlining the touchscreen, audio and climate controls, and replaced subpar materials with soft-touch upholstery and carbon-fiber detailing. Kids snap easily into belts and thankfully there is plenty of rear room. A much-needed $2,870 Premium Package adds an upgraded nine-speaker Bose audio system; seven-inch touchscreen navigation system; NissanConnect telematics system with navigation and mobile apps; Around View monitor (rearview camera); and a motion activated liftgate.

Reliability & Safety Factor: As a Top Safety Pick, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2017 Nissan Rogue crash test scores of “Good” in every crash-test area. Note the headlights received an “Acceptable” even with optional equipment and ease of use with a child seat or LATCH earned just “Marginal.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2017 Rogue an overall rating of 4-Stars, siting side crash as doing the worst (you can see crash images on their website). Standard safety features for the Rogue include Vehicle Dynamic Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, anti-lock brakes, LATCH, energy-absorbing steering column, an advanced airbag system, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (more safety tech is optional).


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Cost Issues: My more modest Nissan Rogue Hybrid SV trim is $27,590 but bumped up to $31,625 with options – basically, the price of the more loaded SL trim. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid starts at $29,030. Although there is no all-wheel drive option, the all-new 2017 Kia Niro is $22,890 with a loaded Touring trim at $29,650.

Activity & Performance Ability: Having also tested the standard 2.5-liter engine that gets 170 horsepower, I’d recommend the 2-liter hybrid engine with 176 horsepower both for performance and fuel economy (note the 2.5-liter still does great at 27 miles-per-gallon combined, although I garnered about 26 during a recent test drive). The brand missed the trend on smaller engines for this class, as the Ford Escape now has a new 1.5-liter that behaves with zest and command, while the Honda CR-V’s smaller 1.5-liter retained an amazing 28.8 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive during my test drive. The Niro’s ride is life changing in regards to the fuel economy and size – you have a vehicle here that can handle modest recreation trips and get you 43 miles-per-gallon.

The Green Concern: The Nissan Rogue Hybrid gets 31-city and 34-highway for a combined 33 miles-per-gallon, while fuel economy for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with all-wheel drive claims 25-city and 32-highway for a combined 27 miles-per-gallon. The non-hybrid Honda CR-V with the 1.5-liter engine gets an EPA-estimated 27-city and 33-highway for a combined fuel economy of 29 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive (I got about 28.8).

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid without a doubt offers excellent fuel economy at a manageable price for a crossover, but in the long run is being outsmarted by the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid as well as the smaller 1.5-liter engines found on several additional competitors.

©2017 Katrina Ramser Parrish

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