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2020 Nissan Rogue Road Trip Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

2020 Nissan Rogue (select to view enlarged photo)

Road Trip in the 2020 Nissan Rogue

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Another wedding weekend. This one was for the marriage of the daughter of one of my wife’s roommates from her university days. We’ve been longtime friends with this couple. We were at their wedding and they at ours.

How time flies!

Our wedding weekend road trip would take us from our Chicago home to Petoskey, Michigan, near the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula. It’s about 370 miles and roughly a 6 hour drive each way.

I’ve done this drive a number of times. The best plan is to leave Chicago after morning rush hour and make a stop along the way for lunch. To go north in Michigan from Chicago you first head south and then east to pass around the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Most of the trip is on multi-lane highways except a bit north of Cadillac where the road reduces to two-lanes making for a slower pace.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Saugatuck is about two hours from our home and is a good stopping point for lunch and to rest the mind. There are a number of nice restaurants with outside patios where you can watch the boats on the Kalamazoo River making their way out to Lake Michigan.

North of Grand Rapids the four-lane divided highway, US 131, is posted at 75 mph speed limit. Vehicle traffic moves fast, helping to knock off the miles quickly. US 131 eventually narrows to two lanes with a drop in speed. Our route crosses the 45th parallel—half way between the equator and the north pole.

2020 Nissan Rogue (select to view enlarged photo)

A 2020 Nissan Rogue would be getting us there. The 2020 Nissan Rogue comes in three models – S, SV and SL, each in a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive (AWD). Prices start at $25,200 and climb to $32,940. We’d be driving an SV with AWD priced at $27,970. The destination charge adds $1,045.

I was most interested to drive the Rogue on the trip since it would give me a lots of miles and different traffic conditions to test out Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist system.

Pilot Assist mates steering assist with adaptive cruise control to keep the car centered in the lane. All you need is to keep a comfortable grip on the steering wheel and the system steers you along the highway, even on mild curves. The driver must stay engaged in the driving task and ready to take over if the traffic situation warrants.

I found that ProPILOT does do a nice job of steering so the driver can be a bit relaxed. We did a couple full stops using the active cruise control without touching the brake pedal...wife says, "are you sure." I liked the ProPilot system best in light traffic with about 1/8 to 1/4 mile between vehicles. Smart or adaptive cruise control is also best, in my view, in lighter traffic. The programming for the distance to the vehicle in front of you is conservative, often leaving too much space resulting in another vehicle cutting in. As I mentioned, the driver must stay engaged in the driving task. Nissan describes some limitations of ProPILOT, which will cause the system to disengage. Rain or snow may interfere with sensors. Lane markings (which the camera needs to see) may be faded. Even driving into direct sunlight or shadows on lane markings can cause problems. Sharp curves may require that you to steer through. Exit and entrance ramps can be confusing. ProPILOT is a “hands on” system for highway use. It’s not an autonomous self-driving system. There are no autonomous vehicles on the market today.

Our Rogue SV road-tripper was also equipped with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of features which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), radar-based Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and High Beam Assist (HBA). Intelligent Around View Monitor (I-AVM) and Intelligent Lane Intervention (I-LI) were also equipped.

As you can tell, there is a complete array of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) safety features that really make driving easier and safer. They all don’t come in to use all the time, but many provide a distinct advantage in certain driving conditions that one may experience over many miles of driving in various traffic or weather conditions.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Rogue proved quite comfortable for my wife and me. I did all the driving while she caught up on some work. I like a power driver’s seat on long road trips because you can make minor tweaks in seat position that helps reduce fatigue. We enjoyed the Sirius XM radio and also switched to Apple CarPlay to listen to a couple podcasts. Even though I knew our route, I plugged the destination into the navigation system to see how many minutes I could knock off of the predicted arrival time.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2020 Nissan Rogue (select to view enlarged photo)

We had weekend luggage and two garment bags, which laid perfectly across the shelf in the rear cargo area. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with its 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque proved very adequate in moving the two of us and our stuff in the trunk. Cabin sound level is very comfortable with no annoying engine, wind or tire noises.

2020 Nissan Rogue (select to view enlarged photo)

Rogue AWD models are EPA test-cycle rated at 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. We didn’t do much conserving on our drive. It was about getting their in as little time as possible.

More information and detail on the 2020 Nissan Rogue can be found at

2020 Nissan Rogue

Overall the 2020 Rogue proved to be a good road tripper. Our trip back home to Chicago included a brief post-wedding stop at the 19-mile long Torch Lake with a further reunion with my wife’s college roommates and their husbands. It’s Michigan’s longest lake and the second biggest inland lake.

One last note on self-driving cars. Take another look at the limitations I mentioned on this ProPILOT system and the same apply to making a self-driving car function all the time under every driving and weather condition.

© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy