- Surround-view 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 2017 Nissan Rogue could beat the world of compact crossover SUVs, were it not for mediocre performance and safety ratings.
The Nissan Rogue covers the middle of the automaker's crossover SUV lineup. Tucked in between the teensy, utterly impractical Juke and the big three-row Pathfinder, the Rogue relies on good seats and interior space to move its metal.
In a tough class along with the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, the Rogue's unexciting powertrain and handling aren't big demerits. Its subpar crash-test scores from the NHTSA are.
For 2017, the Rogue is offered in S, SV, and SL models. A new Hybrid model comes in SV or SL trim. Toward the end of the 2017 model year, Nissan made automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and rear cross-traffic alert standard on every version of the Rogue. To mark the change, so-equipped Rogues are labeled as 2017.5 models.
We give the Rogue lineup a 6.8 out of 10, with high marks for comfort, utility, and fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Nissan Rogue styling and performance
Nissan introduced the latest Rogue in the 2014 model year, and a light update this year doesn't change its benign, handsome styling too much. The front end wears a deeper V-neck grille, the taillamps glow with LED power, but neither of those details alters the conservatively executed sheet metal much at all. The interior gets some nicer materials and trim this year as well.
The standard Rogue draws power from a 2.5-liter inline-4 paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the first generation. Power output is set at 170 horsepower. Acceleration is mediocre at best. The Rogue's power drones out through the CVT to either the front or all four wheels, but it sounds less intrusive than last year, thanks to a few pounds of additional sound deadening and thicker glass.
A new Hybrid edition pairs a 2.0-liter gas 4-cylinder with a 30-kw electric motor and lithium-ion batteries for a net of 176 hp. The hybrid powertrain doesn't act remarkably different from the gas-only engine, other than adding a couple of hundred pounds to its curb weight. The Rogue Hybrid delivers EPA ratings of up to 34 mpg. Other Rogues can earn ratings as high as 28 mpg combined.
The Rogue's best performance asset is its calm, composed ride. It doesn't feel overly stiff, and tall-sidewall all-season tires damp out a lot of freeway roughness. Nissan also uses stability control in clever ways, by applying brake to certain wheels to smooth over bumps and to cut cornering lines. It's substantial and controlled on the road; it just doesn't have the vivid feedback of an Escape or a CX-5.
Rogue comfort, safety, and features
The Rogue offers plenty of seating space and comfort, though its third-row option is more for pride than for passengers. The front seats have dense bolstering that feels good after hours-long road trips. A power driver's seat is available, but like the Ford Escape, there's no power offered for the front passenger seat, though the right-side front chair does fold down for more carrying capacity. Second-row passengers have good space, thanks to sliding and reclining seats.
While it's sized at the smaller end of the compact crossover class, Nissan made the unusual decision to offer a third-row seat in the Rogue. Since the second row can be adjusted on a 9-inch-long track, the third-row seat can have usable leg room, but the cushions sit low and head room is tight. Only small children will be comfortable. Even then, it's a short-distance solution at best.
All Rogues come with standard curtain airbags and stability control, as well as a rearview camera. The Rogue scores a middling four-star rating (out of five) in crash tests conducted by the government, but it has earned Top Safety Pick+ status from the insurance company-funded IIHS. Safety options include a surround-view camera, blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision alert system. Adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are offered as well—the latter having been made standard on the 2017.5 model.
All Rogues comes with power windows, locks, and mirrors; an AM/FM/CD player with a USB port; Bluetooth with audio streaming; a rearview camera; and 17-inch steel wheels. The Rogue SV adds alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, and NissanConnect, which enables use of smartphone apps like Pandora. The Rogue SL gets Bose audio, navigation, a power tailgate, the surround-view camera, 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.
2017 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue doesn't go out of its way to shock or awe crossover-SUV shoppers.
The Rogue has the unmistakable look of a modern three-row crossover SUV. Scale it up, and from the side the Rogue could pass for a Chevy Traverse or a Honda Pilot. Unadventurous? Sure, but the Rogue's shape is handsome, its proportions are good, and its interior is attractive and well-finished.
We give it an 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Nissan's done a positively Honda-like job in the past few years, evolving styling in gradual steps to remove the odder flourishes of the past. Remember the last Rogue's crazy grille treatments? They're broomed. This year the Rogue gets a new V-shaped grille braced by LED running lamps, a light refresh to a face that generates all the Rogue's distinctiveness. Down the side, on to its retouched rear end, there's not much of the wild sculpting that's found on the smaller Juke crossover, and that's a good thing. The Rogue looks like what it is, and doesn't let styling overwhelm that message.
Nissan has also delivered a handsomely finished interior, one with high-quality materials. It's not damning it with faint praise to call it elegantly ordinary. It's laid out for quick perception, with round knobs for climate control and audio framing a center stack with an LCD monitor. There's also a cowl over the gauges that is balanced out by a pair of slim vents over the center stack. It's not wildly conceived with numerous touch interfaces or asymmetrical lines or a shower of single-function buttons, and we like it for that reason. New touches for the 2017 model year include a reshaped steering wheel, nicer trim on the dash and doors, and a newly packaged Platinum Reserve model with quilted leather seats.
2017 Nissan Rogue
Performance? Yes, there is some, but the Rogue focuses mainly on a compliant ride.
The Rogue continues with the 2.5-liter inline-4 and continuously variable transmission (CVT) found in the first-generation model. Power output's still fixed at 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque.
We give it a 5 out of 10, granting a point above average for ride, and taking it away for its CVT. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Dip deeply into the gas, and the CVT modulates the gaps between its pulleys to simulate an automatic with an infinite set of gears. It does so quickly and smoothly, but the Rogue doesn't have fixed ratio points—"gears"—or shift paddles to reach them, like our current CVT favorite in the Subaru Forester. The result is a mediocre 8-second acceleration run to 60 mph, and a noisy pause at the productive end of the Rogue's powerband. Compared to turbocharged 4-cylinders and automatics in the Santa Fe, Escape, and others, it's less satisfying. The Rogue does have an Eco mode, which keeps it from revving out quite as much, but it also dulls throttle response unless you pin the throttle.
Just as impressive is the Rogue's secure and substantial driving character. Electric power steering isn't the curse here that it is in some compact cars. It doesn't wander and hunt on grooved concrete, and takes to changes with smooth responses, but it isn't fast or particularly informative. The suspension's independent all around, and ride quality is quite comfortable.
It's augmented electronically with advanced stability-control logic. In one application, it damps the accelerator to smooth out the ride over bumps (instead of surging over them). In another, it clamps the inside front brake in corners to draw the Rogue through them more nimbly. The effects can't really be sensed without comparing the same Rogue, disabled, though. These features serve to make the Rogue a comfortable daily driver, but they don't add any excitement to the controlled but rather bland driving experience. 17- to 19-inch all-season tires
The new Rogue Hybrid doesn't alter the driving feel much at all, other than the addition of nearly 200 pounds of batteries. The Hybrid uses that 0.8-kwh lithium-ion battery pack to start the vehicle via one of its two clutches, in combination with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for a net output of 176 hp.
It's quite difficult to get the Hybrid to roll on battery power alone, though Nissan says it can travel up to 2 miles at 25 mph on a fully charged battery. The trick, since there's no EV-mode button? Very gradual throttle application, keeping it to less than 10 percent of pedal travel.
The Rogue Hybrid's second clutch couples its battery and its 30-kw electric motor to the gas engine output through its continuously variable transmission. They're combined ahead of the transmission and none goes directly to the rear wheels, so the Rogue Hybrid is not of the through-the-road variety.
Acceleration is marginally better, and the Rogue Hybrid is almost indistinguishable in the way it moves power from its CVT to its wheels. The only substantial difference comes in fuel economy: the Rogue manages 33 mpg combined or better.
2017 Nissan Rogue
Comfort & Quality
Superb front seats and an available third-row bench give the Rogue a leg up against other compact crossovers.
The current Nissan Rogue crossover isn't much larger than the previous-generation vehicle, but Nissan has found some extra room inside. It's enough to slot in a third-row seat, though just barely. That makes the Rogue one of the smallest crossovers on the market to offer a third-row seat.
That's not the Rogue's calling card, though. In truth, the third-row seat is only roomy enough for small children. It's a good thing it's an option, and unavailable on the most expensive Rogue SL or on the hybrid editions.
We give it an 8 out of 10 for supportive front and back seats, and for its good use of cargo space. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
As it did with the Altima, Nissan has outfitted the Rogue with very comfortable front seats and a good driving position, though the steering wheel has a bit of a bus-like rake to it. 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 front seats also borrow a page from the Leaf playbook, with optional heating controls that warm up first in more sensitive contact areas. 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 8-foot ladder in through the tailgate and it should fit, provided you're driving solo.
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.
The third-row seat that sets the Rogue apart from most of its rivals, except the RAV4, is a small, cramped place for anyone not currently in elementary school. It's also not offered on Hybrid models, since the battery pack takes up the space where it would be folded and stored.
Even on gas-powered Rogues, the third-row seat's such an occasional piece that we'd skip it in favor of the Nissan's cargo management setup that's standard on five-seat models. With configurable 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.
Both the second and third rows split and fold for flexible cargo space. There's 70 cubic feet in all behind the front seats with the other rows folded down; 32 cubic feet behind the second row; and a skimpy 9.4 cubic feet behind the third row.
Cabin quality is where the Rogue really shines. The cockpit's trimmed out in substantial, good-looking materials, with low-gloss plastics and metallic trim. In previous years the Rogue has been plagued by excessive engine noise, but more damping material has been added for the 2017 model year.
2017 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue fares well in IIHS testing; the NHTSA doesn't agree.
The Rogue has been tested by both agencies that regularly throw perfectly good vehicles into a wall. In its tests, the Rogue has seen mixed scores.
We give it a 7 out of 10 here. We've awarded a point for its IIHS scores and another for newly standard safety taken, but taken one away for a subpar rating in the NHTSA regimen. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Rogue has earned the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to top "Good" scores across the board, an "Acceptable" headlight rating, and "Superior" front crash prevention.
It's in federal testing where the Rogue falls behind. The NHTSA gave the Rogue a four-star overall rating, lower than most rivals.
All Rogues come with standard curtain airbags and stability control, as well as tire pressure monitors. Options include blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system with emergency automatic braking. The latter functions were only offered on the very top Rogue SL Premium initially.
However, beginning with March 2017 production, all Rogues are labeled as 2017.5 models and they now come standard with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Our safety score reflects the 2017.5 model.
Outward vision in the Rogue is fairly good, though the uptick at the rear pillars blocks some rearward vision. Still, one feature we'd buy, no question, is the surround-view camera that's available on the Rogue SV and standard on the SL. It stitches together a composite 360-degree view of obstacles from a quartet of cameras, and it makes parking everywhere and anywhere so much simpler. It's packaged with other useful options in the SV like smartphone connectivity, so it's worth the extra money.
2017 Nissan Rogue
Nissan stocks the base Rogue pretty well, but some of the most desirable safety features only come on the most expensive model.
Nissan fits the Rogue with all the features we'd expect from any of its competition. There's nothing truly unexpected on the list, and some features are only offered on the most expensive versions—but in the balance, it's packaged and priced competitively.
We give it a 7 out of 10 for its generous standard and optional equipment. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year, the Rogue comes in S, SV, and SL models, while Hybrid versions can be ordered in SV or SL trim. The base Rogue S has the usual power features; cruise and climate control; Bluetooth with audio streaming; a rearview camera; 17-inch wheels and all-season tires; and an AM/FM/XM/CD audio with a USB port and 4 speakers.
Rogue SV crossovers add satellite radio; alloy wheels; automatic headlights; a power driver's seat; and keyless ignition.
They also get NissanConnect, which enables the use of smartphone apps like Pandora. It's a relatively simple setup, with straightforward operation and more limited features than some high-feature infotainment systems.
A Premium Package for the SV comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen; voice-activated navigation; real-time traffic and weather data; a surround-view camera system; a power liftgate; heated cloth seats; blind-spot monitors; and a lane-departure warning system. Optional on the Rogue SV is a Midnight Edition package that, at $990, adds a few exterior touches and black 17-inch alloy wheels. It's rather pricey for what you get.
The Rogue SL gets 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, leather upholstery, Bose audio, NissanConnect, Siri Eyes Free, navigation, a power tailgate, and surround-view camera, which is one of our must-have features now that's it's spread outside the Nissan/Infiniti empire. A Premium Package for the SL adds a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
The exclusions on the order sheet are few, but big. Nissan doesn't sell the Rogue's third-row seat on SL or Hybrid models. It also limits forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking to the most expensive SL Premium trim.
2017 Nissan Rogue
A new hybrid Rogue ups the gas-mileage ante.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue earns good fuel economy ratings with its 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. With its new Hybrid edition, it moves into a new tier, alongside the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.
We give the Rogue a green score of 7 out of 10 for its carryover gas-only powertrain. There's more to come, though. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The EPA certified the current front-drive 2017 Rogue at 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined. With all-wheel drive, the Rogue rates at 25/32/27 mpg. The EPA puts Hybrids at 33/35/34 mpg with front-drive and 31/34/33 mpg with all-wheel drive.