- AroundView cameras are a must-have feature
- USB and Bluetooth streaming, standard
- Lots of safety features
- Good looks
- Carryover powertrain
- Noisy under hard acceleration
- Still a crossover...
- ...with a third-row seat?
The 2015 Nissan Rogue may have a small third row, but it's a better car than the previous generation in virtually every way.
The newer version of the Nissan Rogue you can buy is now only a year old, and it's more stylish and more spacious. The Rogue was redesigned for last year — at least one version of it. You can still find a 2015 version of the previous-generation Rogue on the road today called the Rogue Select, and it's intended only for rental fleets. Our recommendation is that you skip past the old version if it's offered to you — the 2015 Rogue is a significantly better product, and it earns class-leading fuel economy.
The first thing you'll notice with this current generation of Nissan Rogue is the handsome styling. Gone are the wild grille treatments, replaced by something a little more conservative and considerably more contemporary. The front and rear of the crossover are both more interesting and modern, and the overall look is one that feels less economical. The interior is better organized and finished in attractive, higher-quality materials.
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.
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.
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. Federal safety ratings include four- and five-star ratings, and it's earned Top Safety Pick (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 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 Rogue SV 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.
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.