Consumers looking for a compact sport utility vehicle are not exactly lacking in choice.
This year, Nissan added to the range of models available with their new 2014 Nissan Rogue, an SUV that by all means must be successful – that is – if you’re the Japanese manufacturer.
Why is the new Rogue’s popularity so important for Nissan? After all, their previous model was nothing short of Nissan’s most popular vehicle in the lineup, in Canada. And as a result, the engineers can’t exactly miss their step here.
To develop a compact SUV that will successfully stand out in its category, Nissan focused on what was important to their buyers in this segment: interior space, fuel economy and winter driving skills.
Good interior, not the most spacious
While taking your seat inside of the new 2014 Nissan Rogue, it can be observed that the Nissan designers have really gone all out in regards to the interior finish. In fact, Nissan confirmed their desire to add a sense of sophistication and luxury to this compact sport utility vehicle, in hopes that it will stand out from its rivals. A few minutes on board the Rogue confirms their success.
Good quality materials were used for the interior. It includes your typical “Nissan” comfort-style seats, and whenever your fingers or your hands rest on an interior element, such as the steering wheel or the centre console controls, a recognition of solidity and quality is sent to the somatosensory system of your brain.
Even as the cockpit is particularly well done, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is not the most spacious compact SUV in its class. There’s no issue in front, but the rear legroom space can benefit from a few extra inches. If the Rogue is your choice for a family car, and the chances are good at that, visit the dealership with the whole family to verify that everyone is indeed comfortable. That being said, the trunk is surprising with its 1,113 litres of space with all the seats in place.
The huge cargo space allowed Nissan to offer a rare option in this category; a third row seat to accommodate up to 7-passengers. Available on the SV version only, the extra row is only there for times of need, but it’s better than nothing.
Good price and equipment
The Rogue comes available with three trim levels: S, SV and SL. The S model is one of the most affordable compact SUVs in the category with a starting price set at $23,498 before taxes. At this price, you’ll have the Bluetooth phone system, air conditioning, cruise control and the rearview camera. An all-wheel drive configuration is optional.
Then comes the SV model ($26,748 before taxes) which, in addition to offering the ability to add the third row seats as described above, is equipped with a standard panoramic sunroof and heated seats designed to more rapidly distribute heat to the most sensitive parts of the body. The Nissan Rogue SV also offers 17-inch wheels made of aluminum instead of steel, with rims from the S trim.
The upscale SL model comes standard with all-wheel drive, power tailgate, leather seats, 18-inch wheels and automatic dual-zone climate. Available from $30,498, buyers can add a bunch of options to the navigation system. Although, Nissan is admitingly already offering a good price/ equipment ratio for the Rogue when compared to some of its competitors.
Improved fuel economy
If you currently own a Nissan Rogue, then you will likely be used to how it handles when driving. It’s actually the same 4-cylinder 2.5-litre engine used to power the previous generation, with some adjustments. All in all, it generates 170-horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The engine’s not a hot rod, but it does the job for the everyday drive. However, if you’re looking for that extra boost under the hood, you will have to turn to the Ford Escape and its more powerful EcoBoost engine, or even then, the Subaru Forester 2.0XT.
Even so, consumers looking for an economical compact SUV will be satisfied with Nissan’s 2014 Rogue. With front-wheel drive, the average fuel consumption is 7.9 L/100 km in the city, and 6.0 L/100 km on the highway, whereas the all-wheel drive model has a consumption of 8.2 L/100 km for city, and 6.2 L/100 km for highway driving. In reality, we obtained an average of 9.7 L/100km during a winter test drive with the SL AWD model.
And although the engine hasn’t changed much, Nissan engineers have reviewed the Continuously Variable (automatic) Transmission (CVT) Xtronic, the only one offered in the catalog. The CVT seemed quieter in the Rogue compared to what was observed in the new 2013 Nissan Sentra or Altima. In other words, it’s something that will eventually be forgotten, which is the best compliment we can offer about the CVT.
On the road, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is more comfortable than sporty, but the solid handling is appreciated, and it results in an increased sense of confidence while driving. That confidence moves up tenfold when the road is covered in snow, and Nissan’s new intuitive AWD system responds quickly to keep the vehicle on the right path.
Normally, the system sends 70 percent of the power to the front wheels, but it’s possible to manually lock the differential to evenly distribute the weight between the front and rear axle.
A few weeks before our 2014 Nissan Rogue test drive, we had the chance to try the Rogue on the Mecaglisse ice track in Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci. In Quebec, there is no better place to test a vehicle’s behaviour on ice. Even in the curves, our Rogue remained stable and posed, although the uproar caused by the various stability and traction control systems hinted to us that it’s not only the AWD that’s working.
The price of the Rogue, the attention to detail, the comfort and the quality/ price ratio are the most convincing arguments in support of the vehicle’s sales stats. On the other hand, we would have liked to achieve better fuel economy ratings during our test, and the 2014 Nissan Rogue could have done better in terms of space. It’s not a perfect compact sport utility vehicle, but it should convince its share of buyers.
Images 2014 Nissan Rogue