The Nissan Rogue has consistently scored in the top five of SUV and Crossovers but sales have really caught fire in the first half of 2017 putting it number two in January and setting a Nissan monthly sales record in March as the company’s top seller. People are catching on to this one. Why the explosive growth? Well, the growth has been shared by all the major competitors like Honda (CR-V), Ford (Escape) and the Toyota (RAV4) among many others. Canadians are buying and leasing more SUV’S and Crossovers than cars these days and Nissan is riding the wave with a ride that scores high because of its size, economy, looks, comfort and features.
Crossover Make over
A second generation Rogue arrived in 2014 but there have been further tweaks to its appearance this year. This segment is notorious for its commonality but Nissan gets some points for originality with both the Rogue and even more so with the larger Murano. The Monarch Orange colour (see photo gallery) I was given was not a big hit with friends and family (it looks like a HUGE penny rolling down the highway) but it’s just one of nine choices. The changes for the Rogue in 2017 include new front and rear fascias and V-motion grille with integrated fog lights. New chrome side moldings are bookended with a new LED boomerang signature taillight. Inside, it looks good and feels good! The heated 6 way power leather seats in SL Platinum edition are not just any seats. Nissan has put a lot of engineering and testing into what the company calls Zero Gravity Seats. It’s a rethinking of automotive seating with 14 different pressure points that is supposed to put you in a neutral position. Apparently the patented design reduces fatigue while providing support and maximizing blood flow to keep your energy up. I drove from Hamilton to Haliburton without losing any feeling in my bum.
The Rogue is finished very nicely with enough soft material to make you feel like you paid more. The fit and finish is very good but I have to tell you that in my test unit there was creak in the back when the seats were folded down. Probably a one off that would require dealer attention but it’s something to listen for in your test drive. Otherwise, the Rogue is well insulated and quiet on the road.
The SL Platinum gives you the Nissan Navigation system in a 7 inch touch screen which also displays Nissan’s fantastic 360 degree AroundView camera system which is the best simulated overhead view that I’ve seen. You’re also connected with the full complement of apps from Nissan Connect but I did find the system lacking when it came to Bluetooth connectivity for my phone. Many other systems have you connected much faster.
While the ride is certainly comfy there I felt a hint of body roll and over steer in the Rogues harder cornering. While the Rogue all wheel drive feels a little underpowered the Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) mated to the 170 horsepower 2.5 litre performs better than most. So much so that it’s easy to forget it has one. Many other versions of this type of transmission are known for high RPM and not very smooth shift points. The CVT also offers three modes – Sport, Normal and Eco. Sport didn’t make much of a difference with this turtle and I spent most of my time in Normal mode for the best balance of performance and economy. I was impressed that even with my driving my fuel economy matched the number in the brochure. That doesn’t happen very often! I got 9.6 L/100 km city/highway which is pretty good for an all wheel drive crossover. The SL tester had Nissan’s Intuitive All Wheel Drive. It detects a wheel slipping and distributes the torque to the wheels with grip. In normal driving it send power to the front wheels to save on fuel unlike other full time all wheel drive. Standard on the SL is a differential front-rear 50/50 torque locks and hill descent control. It will set you back $2200.00 as an option on S and SV models.
It should be mentioned that the Rogue did not receive as high a rating with the U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) . Government crash tests placed it with an overall four star rating which is below many in the segment. A change has been made mid stream in this production year to address some shortfalls in standard safety features. After March 2017 all Rogues now come standard with automatic emergency brakes. The Rogue has good visibility and in crash protection it has earned Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It, blind spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The Rogue hits a sweet spot of relative affordability in the incredibly popular SUV/Crossover segment. The Luxury upgrades in the tested top of the line SL version also include 19 inch alloy wheels, first- and second-row leather heated seats, and an available heated steering wheel. With 1,982 litres of cargo space and Nissan’s Divide – N-Hide cargo system the Rogue with its motion activated hands free tailgate can swallow a surprising amount of stuff. In my case, a surprising amount of junk on the way to a landfill that saved a second trip. Combine that capability with good fuel efficiency and you’re getting great bang for the buck.
Even well equipped in the Platinum SL All Wheel Drive edition this Rogue still checks out at under 40k.
2017 Nissan Rogue SL Platinum AWD
2.5 L 4 cyl. 170 hp. 175 lb./ft. torque
City/Highway 7.4 L/100km
As tested $38,028.00