2014 Nissan Rogue SV FWDPosted on June 13th, 2014
Active lifestyle crossover now seats up to seven
By Nina Russin
While the newest Nissan Rogue might not look significantly different than the model it replaces, it is literally a whole new world. Developed jointly with Renault and utilizing a modular architecture, the engineering target was to expand the compact crossover’s reach to a global audience, with better fuel economy and a more spacious, versatile interior.
The smaller sibling to the Pathfinder now seats up to seven passengers if buyers opt for available third-row seating. It is available with front or all-wheel driver. All three trim levels are equipped with a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission that averages 28 miles per gallon on the front wheel drive model according to the EPA.
The newest Rogue has a slightly longer wheelbase than the 2008 model it replaces and is about an inch taller. By pushing the wheels to the corners of the car, engineers made the interior significantly roomier. All but the driver’s seat fold flat, making the Rogue a good choice for buyers with active lifestyles who carry a lot of gear and might occasionally spend the night at the trailhead before a race.
Designers borrowed the same zero gravity seating technology used in the newest Altima to eliminate pressure points, making the car more comfortable on long road trips.
The SV grade sits in the middle of three trim levels, priced from $24,490 excluding the $860 delivery charge. Options on the front-wheel drive test car include the third row of seating, NissanConnect with apps and voice-activated navigation, satellite radio with real-time traffic updates, power liftgate, around-view monitor, heated outside mirrors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and run flat tires. Final MSRP is $28,135.
Test drive in Phoenix
I first drove the new Rogue at a media event near the production facility in Smyrna, Tennessee last year. This week, I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel again and live in the Rogue the way an owner might: running errands around town, commuting through traffic and carrying multiple passengers.
The newest Rogue is a lot of car for the money, and its interior versatility should enable the crossover to fill the squares for a variety of buyers ranging from growing families to empty nesters downsizing from full-sized sport utility vehicles.
Engineers did an admirable job of controlling weight gain. The new model weighs about 140 pounds more than the outgoing car thanks to its increased dimensions, but it is slipperier in the wind tunnel so fuel economy doesn’t suffer. Engineers also did some aerodynamic work under the car to boost gas mileage and improve high-speed performance.
The 2.5-liter engine develops 175 foot-pounds of peak torque, giving the Rogue good acceleration off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging into highway traffic.
While I’m not a huge fan of continuously variable automatic transmissions, Nissan’s is one of the best on the market. In terms of performance, it feels very similar to a traditional step unit and lacks the rubber band feel that plagues many of its competitors.
Electric power steering is pleasantly heavy at higher speeds, with good on-center response. There is ample assist at lower speeds for maneuverability. I had no problem performing a U-turn on a four-lane surface street.
A new active trace control feature utilizes the stability control system to apply the brakes or smooth engine torque during hard cornering to make the car hold its line better. The feature is most noticeable when cornering on wet roads.
The available around-view monitor gives the driver a bird’s eye view of the vehicle, so he can monitor obstacles around the entire perimeter. For parents of small children who might run behind the car or leave small toys in the driveway, it can be a valuable option.
Blind spot detection is a must for anyone who commutes through rush-hour traffic on a regular basis. By illuminating LED signals when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots, it takes the guess work out of lane changes and reduces stress in these types of situations.
While I did not take an extended road trip in the car, I found the driver’s seat very comfortable on trips lasting over an hour. Lower lumbar support is quite good.
Engineers did a good job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, so passengers seated in all three rows should have no problems conversing. The rear doors of the new car open wider than the ones on the outgoing model to enhance access and egress, especially for those in the available third-row seats.
The all-wheel drive option adds all-weather capability for buyers living in four-season climates. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
Features such as keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, the folding seats and a new divide-and-hide rear cargo system add real value to the Rogue for its intended audience. The new cargo system enables owners to create smaller storage areas in back so cargo doesn’t slide around. For example, a triathlete could fold down half the second-row seats to make room for a bicycle while creating storage cubbies for a wet suit, duffle bags and camping equipment on the other side.
The optional power liftgate is a worthwhile investment for these types of buyers, since it enables them to open up the back with cargo in hand.
Standard redundant steering wheel controls enable the driver to control audio functions with minimal distraction. The optional color center stack screen has bright, appealing graphics, but could use a larger hood so images don’t disappear in bright sunlight.
Standard Bluetooth interface and Bluetooth streaming audio enables owners to stay connected inside the car and utilize the music libraries in their smart phones.
The Nissan Rogue comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, daytime running lamps, traction control, stability control, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring.
The newest Rogue is on display at Nissan dealerships nationwide.
Like: Nissan’s newest compact crossover is a lot of car for the money, with the volume leading SV grade priced under $25,000. The low compression four-cylinder engine runs on regular gasoline, containing ownership costs.
Dislike: Center stack screen image tends to wash out in bright sunlight.
Model: Rogue SV FWD
Base price: $24,490
As tested: $28,135
Horsepower: 170 Hp @ 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: 26/33 mpg city/highway2014, Best Value 2014, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Nissan, performance, pricing, standard safety
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