Weekly Test Drive – 2017 Nissan Rogue

2017.5_Nissan_Rogue_25The Affordable Family Car with Room to Spare

If you’re in the market for a cross-over SUV, you’ll be hard pressed with the shear number of choices out in the market. Specifically in the Nissan line up, there’s not just a few, but 5 models to choose from. The Rogue sits in somewhere closer to the bottom of the pack in terms of features and functionality, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. Why pay more for qualities that you don’t need? With that said, the Rogue strips down to more basic fundamentals without compromising the core essentials. I’m talking about safety, cargo space, and an impressive fuel economy.

New changes made to the Rogue this year includes a new Midnight edition model with enhanced color styling and 17″ alloy wheels, standard forward emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert available standard in the lower S grade modes. More significantly, a new two-grade level hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain option and can be configured as front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. The basic Nissan Rogue can be configured for as low as $26,000 while our tester Platinum SL AWD model comes in at a window sticker price tag of $38,528.

Initial Impressions

The Nissan Rogue is fairly big in size. As a matter of fact, you might even consider it as the younger brother of the larger Nissan Pathfinder. In our case, the enlarged 19″ alloy wheels included in our SL Platinum model also contributes to the larger size. The overall design is well proportioned with a good mixture of various chrome plating on its door handles, side skirts, front grille design, and roof rack. But that’s about where visual appeal ends – there’s not much of a pop, or flashiness going on with the Rogue.

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The interior cabin space takes advantage of its box-like design and high ceiling giving the driver and passengers an excellent sense of roominess. Space also makes its way available in the rear seating area as well with a decent amount of legroom for added comfort. Unlike other vehicles in its class, the rear seats can also be folded down completely flat for significantly added cargo space. There’s not much quality to expect though. Despite the leather appointed leather seats available in our SL Platinum model, its material feels relatively cheap, and sits fairly flat without too much support. It’s not necessarily a bad in our books, and the seats were still comfortable over the long haul, but the lack of quality does reveal some of its weak points made necessarily to cut costs.

Features, Features, Features

Fortunately, there’s more than just size and good looks to the Nissan Rogue. Available as an added option is the NissanConnect with Navigation working in tandem with your smartphone. That means, your music, social media and other smart phone apps can be accessed via its 7″ infotainment screen. There’s also the usual Bluetooth hands-free calling and streaming audio available. Another feature I enjoyed was the voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation is also conveniently displayed in the center of the driver cluster allowing you to focus more on the road driving rather than switching visual attention to the infotainment screen.

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There’s also a number of safety tech features including a unique Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Objection Detection (MOD) that gives you a 360 degree birds eye view of the vehicle when parking. That’s generally a good concept on paper, but not so much in our practical test drive. The image quality is quite blurry, and during rainy days, the rear view video is almost rendered useless due to poor placement of the rear backup camera. The lane departure warning system was also found to be over-reactive and inconsistent.

The Drive

Perhaps where it matters most, the Rogue is equipped with a 2.5L four cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower and 175 lbs of torque. That’s not a lot of power to rave about, but the continuous variable transmission does help squeeze most of its juice out. Highway and lane way merges are tolerable with the Rogue, but it does take some time for the engine to rev up to speed. And with a full passenger scenario, the Rogue didn’t struggle too much with its limited power. The good news is that the Rogue is not a gas guzzler thanks to an impressive EPA rating of 9.6L/100Km in the city and 7.4L/100Km on the highway. That beats the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee on the fuel consumption category.

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Ride performance in the Rogue feels lazy and the lack of effort from the suspensions combined with the chassis-flex result in a more wonky and less responsive ride. Steering is also slow to react especially around tighter cornering and more of the road bumps and chatter are leaked into cabin space more than what we would like.

Size Matters?

The Nissan Rogue is more about size and affordability than anything else. While the Platinum SL model comes with all the bells and whistles, I’m not convinced the safety tech features really makes the car more safe with the low grade and inconsistent rear view image quality, and over-sensitive lane departure warning system. For a car in this category, it makes more sense to opt in for a more basic model. The SV model strips out the bigger wheels and safety tech features while retaining push button ignition, 6-way adjustable driver seat and 17″ wheels for about $5,500 less. The All-Wheel-Drive capability does perform and provided added traction on wet and slippery road condition, but if you’re only driving on dry and sunny days, you can opt for just the front-wheel-drive configuration for about $1,200 less.

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Specifications

  • Vehicle : 2017 Nissan Rogue
  • Model : Rogue SL (AWD)
  • Vehicle Type : Cross-over SuV
  • Seating Capacity : 2+3
  • Powertrain Configuration : AWD
  • Engine : 2.0L V4
  • Transmission : Continuous Variable Transmission

Pros

  • Modern Styling
  • Plethora of space for driver and passenger
  • Flush-folded 2nd row rear seats for added cargo space
  • Relatively affordable for its size and convenience

Cons

  • Lazy drive handling
  • Low ride quality
  • Oversensitive lane-departure warning system and low quality rear view camera
  • Lower grade material used in cabin space