2018 Nissan Rogue AWD – Space and grace on a budget

Small SUVs and Crossovers are slowly sounding the death knell of the sedan as we know it, Nissan sold 403,465 Rogue crossovers in 2017, which makes it the fifth best-selling vehicle in the US, but the question is, is it any good? In short it’s fine but it’s not going to blow your socks off, assuming you wear them. It’s been around for a while, since 2007, but has been slowly improved over the years with updates to technology and interior space but alas not to the engine. All Nissan Rogues get the same 2.5 L engine which provides 170 hp and 175 ft-lbs driven through a Continuously variable transmission which are becoming the norm these days due to better fuel economy. Unfortunately I haven’t found one I have liked yet.

Ring it out from a standstill and the Rogue gets to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.0 seconds, with the engine sounding strained and buzzy. It’s weak, loud, and rough and is significantly slower than almost all of its competitors. The benefit of this lack of speed is felt at the fuel pump, where we averaged 26 mpg, pretty good for a crossover.

My 2018 Nissan Rogue SV AWD came in Caspian Blue with Almond cloth seats with 8 way power, , Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety features included Blind Spot Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Motion Activated Liftgate that constantly came down once it reached the full open position. I got wise to getting bashed in the head on several occasions and pushed the button just before it was fully opened.

New for 2018 is Nissan’s ProPilot Assist which uses lane-keeping assist and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control to help the driver accelerate, brake, and steer on the highway. We didn’t have a chance to try this as it wasn’t available on our tester.

On the asphalt

My tester was AWD but let’s face it most people are hard pressed to venture off pavement, they just like to sit higher, get less performance and pay for more fuel. At typical cruising speeds, the Rogue is smooth, the suspension is soft and well-damped but the steering is so vague and lifeless it’s difficult to believe it’s connected to the wheels. There’s no hustling it on a twisty mountain road either, stick to trips to the grocery store, picking up the kids and occasionally hauling the dog to the park. This is what it’s meant for and don’t expect anything more.

The transmission is a CVT and I have to admit it’s one of the better ones, but it’s uninspiring to drive even in Sport mode which makes no sense in a car of this type. Yes I understand CVTs are lighter and save fuel but you feel like there’s a gigantic rubber band that is stretching under the hood. There’s no gear change as such, instead it just drones into the next band at peak rpm.

Interior

Front seats are fairly comfortable but no seat height on the passenger side on our SV tester, annoying. Otherwise, controls are easy to hand, simple to use and generally logical. The redesigned infotainment screen is still a bit small and not one of the best I’ve used. It’s simple enough to pair a phone to but everything else seems obsolete and it has limited connectivity. Back seats are spacious enough, Nissan got rid of the third row which makes sense, this car just isn’t that big. Cargo space is good and the absolute best bit is the Divide-N-Hide, where the removable floor panels that can be folded into a covered box.

Bottom Line

It shines in the space and grace department but is thoroughly let down by its steering, transmission and performance. It does, however, offer lots of advanced safety features, even in the base model, pretty good gas mileage, a large and versatile cargo area and a decent interior. It sits in a very competitive space that includes Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox and Hyundai Santa Fe. I would probably spend the extra money and get one with more performance like the Honda or 2.0 Equinox.

PRICE $27,320 MSRP
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon
ENGINE DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head
POWER 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
TORQUE 175 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable automatic
CURB WEIGHT  3,580 lb 
0-60 MPH 9.0 seconds
EPA CITY/HWY 25/32 mpg
OUR OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY 26 mpg
CARGO SPACE 39.3 ft³, 70 ft³ with seat area
PROS Smooth, plenty of space, great gas mileage
CONS CVT, buzzy engine and transmission, needs a turbo 
2018-09-06T16:48:30+00:00September 6th, 2018|0 Comments