2014 Nissan Rogue is all-new and uses a continuously variable
Nissan Rogue has little in common with the smugglers, thieves and
general scalawags that share its name — except in its 2014
redesign, which is something of a steal.
$23,350, Nissan’s second-best-selling vehicle has been entirely
overhauled to offer even more for the money in the increasingly
crowded, and competitive, compact SUV space.
It’s a feat
of accounting trickery for a five-seat crossover to include
Bluetooth, streaming audio, a rearview camera, a color audio display
and a multitude of behind-the-scenes technologies as standard
equipment on a vehicle of this size at this price. But such are the
demands in today’s more-for-less market.
"more" in the Rogue is spread throughout the vehicle, but
it’s most apparent in its physicality. The 2014 is noticeably
larger from the outside, with its oversized wheel wells and taller
roofline. Its interior is even more so. Stretching the wheelbase and
lifting its lid makes the Rogue feel even bigger from the inside
than it looks from afar.
optional third row is available in the Rogue to enable the seating
of seven, my test vehicle was outfitted with the usual five, all of
which were comfortable. Out-of-town visitors on a recent weekend
literally could not stop talking about the amazing view they had
from the back seat. Not only were their rear seats somewhat taller
than the front, they offered such exceptional leg room that some of
them were inspired to reduce the amount of femur space to better
hear my front-seat conversation. Doing so was easy with manual
levers that can slide the rear seats forward as much as 9 inches.
All the seats
in the Rogue, except for the driver’s, fold like contortionists,
including that of the front passenger. Combined, when collapsed,
they open an incredible 70 cubic feet of storage that, Nissan
claims, can fit an 8-foot ladder and still close the rear lift gate.
Unfortunately, the rear seats do not fold flat with the cargo floor
but are, instead, stepped by about 5 inches.
space is radically configurable, thanks to a rear seat that folds in
three pieces, instead of the usual two, and a Drive-N-Hide Cargo
system that lets owners slice and dice the interior 18 different
ways using a system of removable floor pieces. Even the rear doors
open in a more hippo-like fashion than the outgoing model for easier
Powered with a
2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a more
efficient version of Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable
transmission, the Rogue’s performance will only impress drivers
who value fuel economy at the expense of driving enjoyment. While
the CVT is one of the reasons the Rogue is now able to achieve an
EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined in the all-wheel drive version I
tested, it is hardly responsive from a dead stop. Its wimpy
character can, however, be improved ever so slightly with the press
of a "sport mode" button to the left of the steering
optimized with underbody tweaks that won’t be noticed by anyone
without a jack and coveralls, as well as new front pillars and
exterior mirrors that have the added benefit of reducing cabin noise
at least at lower speeds, the Rogue’s ride quality is adequate for
The road still
makes itself apparent, but the SUV’s handling is improved with two
new "active" systems, including trace control that
improves cornering by automatically applying the brakes and
smoothing engine torque upon acceleration, and an engine braking
system that uses the CVT to help slow the car so the driver doesn’t
have to press the pedal as hard to slow or stop.
The Rogue is
available in three versions — the S base model, SV and the most
high-end version I tested: the leather-seat, nine-speaker, nav-equipped,
moon-roofed SL — all of which can be had with front- or all-wheel
drive, the latter of which comes at a $1,350 premium.
Rogue comes with a baseline of safety features, such as a blind spot
warning that uses lights to indicate unseen but nevertheless
approaching vehicles, and lane departure and forward collision
warnings that beep to let drivers know when they’re getting
sloppy, its most innovative safety features do cost extra. A premium
package includes an around-view monitor that uses four small super
wide-angle cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the SUV
to offer a view that seems impossible — a bird’s eye view from
above that offers Mr. DeMille-style close-ups of the Rogue’s four
corners to help get in and out of tight spots.
Yet even fully
loaded, the Rogue still offers an excellent value proposition for
drivers whose lifestyles are more robust than their bank accounts.
2.5-liter, inline-four-cylinder, four valves per cylinder, DOHC,
sequential multi-point dual fuel injection, continuously variable
transmission with sport mode
170 at 6,000 rpm
at 4,400 rpm
length: 182.3 inches
weight: 3,441 pounds
fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, 24 mpg combined