- Appealing new look
- More advanced safety features
- USB and Bluetooth streaming, standard
- AroundView cameras are a must-have feature
- Carryover powertrain
- Still a compact crossover...
- ...with a third-row seat?
- Noisy under hard acceleration
The 2014 Nissan Rogue gets mainstreamed in all the right ways, though engine noise and the teensy third-row seat are minor letdowns.
The Nissan Rogue is a carlike crossover with two identities. There's the Rogue Select, a carried-over crossover from last year that's still around as Nissan hunts for sales volume. Then there's the much improved 2014 Rogue, a more spacious and more pleasant car to drive that rides on a completely new architecture.You'll want to skip by the outdated version for a few reasons. The new Rogue is more handsome, more flexible, more comfortable, and handles better--and it delivers class-leading gas mileage, though its crash-test scores haven't improved over the former model.
Nissan Rogue styling
The Rogue embraces a new styling theme, one that dresses up its familiar proportions with more interesting surfaces. Remember the last Rogue's crazy grille treatments? They're gone, replaced by a more contemporary look that doesn't venture off the crossover-SUV homestead. The grille's more tidy, the headlamps are more interesting, and the side sculpting gives it a more meaty stance. Inside, the new Rogue has a more handsomely finished interior, better organized, and finished with higher-quality materials.
The Rogue returns with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission found in the first-generation crossover. Power output's still fixed at 170 horsepower, and acceleration is mediocre at best. It's not the CVT's fault entirely, but the transmission does put the Rogue in a noisy stretch of its powerband pretty often. A few pounds of extra firewall damping would be well-received.
Where the Rogue excels is in gas mileage and in road manners. The EPA-rated 33 mpg highway looks great on paper, but the 28 mpg combined of either the front-drive or all-wheel-drive Rogue is even better in real life.The Rogue's all-independent suspension and electric power steering gets some assistance in controlling the Rogue's ride. A new function, Active Ride Control, directs the CVT and engine responses to smooth the Rogue's body motions after it crosses a bump, Nissan says. Active Trace Control can also apply a brake or adjust torque to an inside wheel to aid cornering. The new Rogue steers with more heft, damps its ride better, and has a more substantial and composed feel than the Rogue Select in every way we can think of. Seventeen-inch wheels with all-season tires are standard; 18-inchers are an option on the top Rogue.
Nissan Rogue comfort and seating
With just marginal growth in wheelbase (up just 0.6 inches), the Rogue hasn't gained considerable interior room, which keeps it positioned at the smaller end of the compact-crossover class. It's 1.2 inches taller, though, and doors open more widely.
As with the Altima, Nissan delivers better seating comfort with especially dense seat foam, and finds a bit more room for back-seat passengers, thanks to a sliding and reclining second-row seat. The front seats also borrow a page from the Leaf playbook, with heating controls that warm up in more sensitive contact areas. A power driver seat is available, but like the Ford Escape, there's no power offered for the front passenger seat--though it does fold down for more carrying capacity.
Maybe the most unusual decision is to offer a third-row seat in the Rogue, though there's not a big increase in passenger space. Since the second row can be adjusted on a 9-inch-long track, the third-row seat has usable leg room--but only if you're in the awkward stage between booster seat and driving yourself. And even then, it's a temporary, short-distance solution at best.
Nissan Rogue safety and features
All Rogues come with standard curtain airbags and stability control, as well as a rearview camera and tire pressure monitors. Nissan's Easy Fill tire alert is also included. And while the federal government hasn't yet crash-tested the new Rogue, it's earned Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) status from the insurance-funded IIHS. Safety options include a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision alert system.
The base Rogue S is priced from $22,490, not including destination charges, and comes with power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/CD player with a USB port; Bluetooth with audio streaming; and a rearview camera. The all-wheel-drive version of this model is priced from $23,840.
The $24,230 Rogue SV ($25,580 with AWD) adds 17-inch wheels; a power driver seat; satellite radio; automatic climate control; pushbutton start; and NissanConnect, which enables use of smartphone apps like Pandora.
For $28,070 ($29,420 with AWD), the Rogue SL gets Bose audio; navigation; a power tailgate; surround-view cameras; 18-inch wheels; heated front seats; and leather upholstery.
Options include third-row seating; run-flat tires; a panoramic sunroof; those advanced-safety features; and LED headlights.