Nissan’s Rogue midsize SUV has been the company’s best seller for three straight years. With attractive pricing, good cargo capacity, stylish interior and decent fuel economy for an AWD, it rates as a good buy.
Offered in S, SV and SL trim levels, we tested the mid-level SV that differs from the top-line SL that comes standard with leather seating, heated steering wheel, 18-inch wheels and a few more advanced safety qualities.
Despite the cloth seating, the SVs’ were heated, a feature that is somewhat of a rarity on many cars with fabric seats. But the SV isn’t void of the most wanted features todays car buyers want. It comes with Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (two important safety features), Brake Assist, keyless ignition, Bluetooth along with hands-free text messaging, remote engine start (nice to have on freezing mornings) and many more standard features.
After an easy and low 19-inch step-in, Rogue’s cabin is comfy, attractive and quiet. The front seats have adequate lateral support while the backs are similar in comfort for two adults. The vertical stack houses a 7-inch touchscreen that serves the audio, apps, GPS nav and a rearview camera with Nissan’s “Birds Eye” surround-view that shows the perimeter of the vehicle. This in itself is a nice safety feature over just a rearview camera. And an item many other car makers have copied. There’s also a smaller display nestled between the gauges for driver information and safety messages.
HVAC controls are easy to use without having to consult the owners’ manual. And, unlike many competitors in this class, Rogue has an AWD Lock that distributes torque equally to the front and rear wheels and changes automatically depending on road conditions. The Lock feature also turns off automatically when driving at high speed. The AWD Lock is beneficial if getting stuck in deep snow or mud.
The back seat slides fore and aft and they recline. Behind them Rogue’s cargo area measures a spacious 35 inches deep, 41.75 wide and 34 deep. Flip the 60/40 seat backs and depth extends to 67 inches. The cargo floor is comprised of two pieces to allow flipping the rearmost panel up to hold grocery bags or other items in place, plus serves as an organizer.
There are also notches on the sides of the cargo wall that allow inserting the panels for two-tire loading spaces after an easy 30-inch load height. If you require additional seating, a third row is optionally available on S and SV models only.
The AWD SV is equipped with a 2.5-liter, 170-hp four-cylinder that generates 174 lb/ft of torque. When coupled to the standard CVT automatic transmission, EPA gives Rogue mileage ratings of 25 city, 32-highway mpg. The combination produced decent, albeit linear acceleration from a standing stop. Perhaps it could be livelier had Nissan used a traditional trans, but then they wouldn’t have been able to attain the attractive mileage figures. So powered, Rogue has been independently timed at 0-60 in a casual 9.3 seconds. Added to this, Rogue carries a meager tow capacity of 1,000 pounds.
As for ride and handling, the ride on Hankook 17-inch tires is sedan smooth and quiet. Handling on the other hand, is on the loose side, meaning there’s some body lean in sharp, quick turns although it remains sure-footed. Speaking of which, with an 8.2-inch undercarriage clearance, Rogue can handle somewhat deep snow.
Now comes the impressive part. Rogue base-priced at $26,590. After adding the SV Premium Package that throws in NissanConnect with nav and mobile apps, Nissan Voice recognition, SiriusXM Traffic, Travel Link, the heated steering wheel, Moving Object Detection and Motion Activated Liftgate (slide your foot under the rear bumper and the gate opens), this adds $1,380 to the price. Throw in a floor mats with cargo area protector for $225 and the bottom line reflects $29,095 with delivery. A particularly reasonable price for a nicely loaded AWD SUV.
Rogue SV also garnered four stars in the government’s overall vehicle score; four for frontal driver crash, three for passenger; five each for side crash; and four for rollover.
For the amount of content, there aren’t very many comparable midsize SUVs so compellingly priced.