2013 Nissan Rogue SV AWDPosted on June 19th, 2013
Compact crossover gains around-view safety technology
By Nina Russin
The Rogue is Nissan’s compact crossover, competing against the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Hyundai Tucson. This year, the Rogue gains the same around-view safety technology as the upscale Infiniti JX. The technology uses four side-angle cameras around the vehicle perimeter to provide a 360-degree view, making it much easier to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
Pricing starts at $20,310, excluding the $845 destination charge for the base front-wheel drive model. The all-wheel drive car starts at $21,610. All models come with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously-variable automatic transmission.
There are three trim levels: S, SV and SV with the SL package. The test car is the all-wheel drive SV that starts at $26,050. The $3,900 SL package adds leather trim, heated front seats and outside mirrors, navigation, satellite radio with real-time weather and traffic updates, a Bose premium audio system, , power moonroof, , xenon headlamps, 18-inch alloy rims and automatic climate control. Final MSRP is $30,965.
Test drive in Colorado
This week I had the opportunity to drive the Rogue during a week-long stay in Colorado, including trips between the cities of Denver, Boulder and Estes Park. I was particularly interested in seeing how the 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine would perform at altitude, with elevations at our various destinations ranging from 5,300 feet in Boulder to 7,500 feet in Estes Park.
There is no doubt that Nissan offers buyers a lot of car for the money, with pricing starting about $3,000 less than for the Toyota RAV4 and $2,500 less than the Honda CR-V. In this writer’s opinion, the Rogue offers comparable quality to both competitors, with equivalent levels of standard convenience and safety features. The Rogue is also friendly at the gas pump. We averaged just over 25 miles-per-gallon on our test drive: a mile-per-gallon better than the EPA average.
The four-wheel independent suspension consists of struts with coil springs in front and a multi-link set-up in back. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners. I was impressed by the suspension’s performance on the route between Boulder and Estes Park.
The two-lane road includes a lot of blind, off-camber turns. Driving from Estes Park to Boulder is a net descent of over 2000 feet. The all-wheel drive system prevented the car from pushing in the corners by giving the rear wheels better traction. Eighteen-inch rims on the test car are an upgrade from 16-inch wheels on the base model. The larger footprint they provide makes an obvious difference under these conditions.
The fact that that engine struggled at altitude was not a surprise. At 6000 feet (or more), the atmosphere has significantly less oxygen than it does at sea level. I feel the difference every time I go out for a run in Flagstaff, Boulder or Durango.
I’m not saying that the Rogue lacked adequate power at higher elevations, but it was not abundant. If I wanted to pass a slower vehicle on an uphill grade, I needed to plan carefully.
The electric power steering system provides ample assist for maneuvering through traffic. A 37.4 turning circle is impressive for a car with a 106-inch wheelbase. It made it easier to maneuver through narrow two-lane thoroughfares in Boulder, and perform the occasional U-turn.
Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. High-profile vehicles have larger blind spots below the rear glass. The rearview camera on the test car eliminates the problem when the driver is in reverse, as well as blind spots in the back corners. I had no problems monitoring traffic in adjacent lanes on the highway.
Engineers did a good job of isolating passengers from wind, road and engine noise, enabling us to enjoy the upscale audio system.
Nissan’s design studio in LaJolla, California is a stone’s throw from the UCSD campus and Torrey Pines state forest. I think its proximity to area athletes has been a tremendous benefit to the designers. Nissan understands what buyers with active lifestyles need in a vehicle. I have yet to come across a SUV or crossover that can’t easily hold a bicycle, or make its way down an unimproved road.
Keyless entry and start on the test car enables the driver to enter, start and relock the car without fumbling for the key fob. I found the cargo area easy to load up with luggage and other large items thanks to its low lift-over height. Second-row seats are easy to fold flat, lengthening the cargo floor without any annoying pivot point bumps.
Both the driver’s and front passenger seats are comfortable for trips up to two hours in duration. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat provide plenty of lower lumbar support.
Controls for the center stack screen are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate. The center stack screen is on the small side. I found it hard to read, especially when driving. Frankly, the voice-activated navigation feature on my smart phone is easier to use than the system in the car was.
The second-row seat can easily hold three adults. The Rogue does not have a floor tunnel, so the middle passenger has a reasonable amount of legroom.
Designers did a good job of providing all passengers with plenty of 12-volt power outlets, cupholders and storage spaces. I would have liked to have seen vents behind the center console or in the B pillars to circulate air through the back of the cabin. It’s not a big issue in mild climates such as Boulder, but during a summer in Phoenix, Arizona, it can make things uncomfortable for the second-row passengers.
The Nissan Rogue comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring.
The 2013 Nissan Rogue is on display at dealerships nationwide.
Like: A well-equipped, athlete-friendly crossover vehicle with a high level of convenience features. The available around-view monitor makes it much easier to slip the Rogue into tight parking spots on the street.
Dislike: Engine lacks power at higher altitudes. No air vents behind the center console or in the B pillars can make the rear of the cabin uncomfortable in temperature extremes.
Model: Rogue SV AWD
Base price: $26,050
As tested: $30,965
Horsepower: 170 Ho @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 175 lbs.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 22/27 mpg city/highway2013, Best Value 2013, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Nissan, performance, pricing, standard safety
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