Tucumcari, NM — “The Altima-te Rogue Trip” was named as such because we got the chance to experience the classic U.S. Route 66 in two 2015 Nissan models: The Altima sedan and Rogue crossover. We took the Altima through Illinois and Missouri, so what to use to tackle the deserts and hills of northern Texas and New Mexico? Why, the Rogue, of course!
The Rogue’s active AWD system provides tech like Active Trace Control (ATC), which will brake slipping wheels either during turns or on slippery surfaces, with power being transferred to the wheels that are doing the work. On the bendy, gnarly stuff through the mountains of Northern New Mexico and through the curvy Painted Desert region in Arizona, the Rogue inspired confidence.
Of course, during long treks like this, passenger comfort is paramount, and the Rogue sports at least wo party tricks to help in this regard: NASA-developed “Zero Gravity Seats” and Active Ride Control (ARC). The former is pretty obvious—if astronauts are comfortable floating through space in these, then imagine how a couple of auto journalists tackling the open road must feel—the latter a little less so. Basically, What ARC does is manipulate the brakes to keep body roll, squat and dive to a minimum, improving the ride overall. This, of course, also helped when we landed in the bigger towns along the route, like Albuquerque, NM.
What wasn’t quite as enamouring, however, was the Rogue’s powertrain. It’s efficient enough; we saw 8.7L/100 km throughout our journey, but you pay for that efficiency with a somewhat wheezy power delivery. There’s 170 hp and 175 lb.-ft. of torque, but it gets hampered a little by the Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission. You just never quite get that push of acceleration, making passing on a two-lane highway a dicier proposition.
Then again, for most who buy vehicles like these, efficiency, comfort and safety are likely priorities #1, #2 and #3 (not necessarily in that order) and the Rogue delivers on those fronts, which is why it remains Nissan’s bestselling vehicle in Canada.