2014 Nissan Rogue Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

With just marginal growth in wheelbase (up just 0.6 inches), the 2014 Nissan Rogue hasn't gained a lot of interior room versus the former model, which is now sold as the Rogue Select. That means it's still positioned at the smaller end of the compact-crossover class, but the perception of space and refinement has grown considerably. The Rogue's grown up--it's 1.2 inches taller and the doors open more widely--and it feels more grown-up, too.

As it did with the Altima, Nissan has outfitted the Rogue with very comfortable front seats and a good driving position, with just a touch of the Italianate steering-wheel tilt. Super-dense foam and great sculpting make the Rogue's chairs a place we could sit for a 12-hour road trip, no sweat. The manually adjustable seats add power for the driver on the Rogue SV and SL, but no passenger power seat is available. Instead, the front passenger seat folds down to extend interior cargo storage--you can toss an eight-foot ladder in through the tailgate and it should fit, provided you're driving solo.

Some of the best front seats occupy the Rogue's cabin; the second row's good, too, but the optional third row is barely kid-friendly.

The front seats also borrow a page from the Leaf playbook, with optional heating controls that warm up first in more sensitive contact areas.

Adults get ample accommodations in the second row, which slides on a 9-inch track to expand its leg room, reclines for long-distance comfort, and moves up and away behind the front seats for maximum cargo stowage. It's the third row they'll want to avoid: it's barely adequate for small children, and thankfully is an option unavailable on the top Rogue SL.

Both the second and third rows split and fold for flexible cargo space. It's 70 cubic feet in all behind the front seats with other rows folded down; 32 cubic feet behind the second row; and a skimpy 9.4 cubic feet behind the third row.

The third-row seat's such an occasional piece, we'd skip it in favor of the Divide-N-Hide cargo setup that's standard on five-seat models. With reconfigurable panels, you can create stowage boxes and bins in the back to suit whatever task you have, from carrying home ice packs and beverages, to hiding muddy boots until you can hose them off after a hike.

That active-lifestyle dreaming smacks into a more practical, soothing reality inside the Rogue. The cabin's trimmed out in more substantial, better-looking materials than the still-available Rogue Select, the former model carried over for a few more years. The contrast between new and old is stark: one's more plasticky and vaguely futuristic, one's tightly composed from low-gloss plastics and metallic trim.

The low point? Excessive engine noise that's amplified by the way its CVT holds revs in the more vocal part of its powerband.

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