By Steve & Tami Laser
Today’s crop of compact crossover SUVs offer plenty of choices including the recently redesigned Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4. But what if you need to carry more than five passengers? You could move up to a larger and more expensive midsize model, or check out the only player in this set to offer seven passenger seating – the Rogue.
Nissan made the new generation 2014 Rogue larger than its predecessor, increasing the wheelbase, overall length and height. For the first time Rogue offers an optional third-row seat, boosting seating capacity to seven. With Nissan’s EZ Flex seating design, every seat except the driver’s folds down so you can carry an 8-foot ladder inside the car instead of strapping it to the roof.
A variety of flexible seating configurations offer many possibilities for transporting people and cargo. The reclining and sliding second row is split 40/20/40 while offering 9.0-inches of fore and aft adjustability. The 50/50-split third-row folds flat and includes the “Divide-N-Hide” cargo system with a divider board that can be placed vertically in the floor to help contain items like grocery bags.
The new Rogue is built at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee on the jointly developed Nissan/Renault Common Module Family platform architecture. Its attractive exterior design is shared with the European and Japanese models called X-Trail.
Our Rogue test vehicle was the midrange SV trim fitted with Nissan’s intuitive all-wheel-drive system. It can tell if the vehicle is cruising or cornering and can sense a loss of traction by a specific wheel or wheels and redirect torque automatically.
The new Rogue is more sophisticated with standard high-tech features including Active Trace Control that uses the Vehicle Dynamic Control system to help improve cornering by automatically applying the brakes or smoothing engine power while accelerating.
Active Engine Braking uses the transmission to help slow the vehicle as the driver brakes, while Active Ride Control applies the brakes and adjusts engine output after the vehicle hits a bump to help reduce what Nissan calls “typical head bobble pitch.”
These technologies are so well-integrated and seamless that you can’t tell when they’re working. As we discovered, the Rogue rides and drives very smoothly and refined for its class.
Motivation is supplied by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 170 horsepower and 175 ft-lbs of torque. Connected to a continuously variable transmission with sport mode it delivers good response along with EPA fuel economy ratings of 25 city, 32 highway and 28 combined.
We live in a very hilly neighborhood about 1,200 feet above sea level, so a great deal of our week-long test was spent climbing hills. While our average fuel economy of 19 mpg seems a bit low, those who drive in less severe circumstances are likely to do better.
Rogue SV is equipped with 17-inch wheels, auto on-off headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, privacy glass, Intelligent Key with push-button start, power driver’s seat, and a nice audio system that includes satellite radio and NissanConnect Apps.
With a base price of $25,580, our Rogue SV AWD added the Family Package with third-row seat and run-flat tires, plus floor mats and destination charge for a bottom line of $27,505. Rogue prices start at $22,790 for the base S with front-wheel drive and max-out at $29,630 for the top-line SL AWD.
The new Nissan Rogue has advanced quite a bit beyond its predecessor in terms of its attractive design, expanded seating capacity with room for seven passengers, new technologies plus an extensive list of standard and available comfort and safety features.
If you’re in the market for a compact SUV, be sure to add the new Nissan Rogue to your shopping list.
[2014 Nissan Rogue press fleet vehicle provided by Nissan North America, Inc.]
Story and photos ©2014 CarNichiWa