Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: February 3, 2016
There is something about the compact-crossover that just resonates with North Americans. Perhaps it’s the elevated seating position, AWD capabilities, or even the extra cargo space. Or maybe, we just love sitting up high looking at the array of BMW’s and Mercedes’ stuck in the snow below. Regardless, manufacturers have heard our cries for more compact-crossovers and supply has thus far kept up with demand.
Here we have the Rogue, Nissan’s contender to the segment. The Rogue has been a popular option amongst shoppers for some time now, but serving as an “option” isn’t the automaker’s goal. No, they want to be the definitive answer to the question “which crossover should I buy?”
To address that question, a newly redesigned Rogue was introduced in 2014. With sales skyrocketing, Nissan has done well converting window shoppers into buyers. But two years later, is it still on track to knock the current segment’s reigning champs – the Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V – off their podium?
For example, Nissan’s signature chrome V-grill gives the car an aggressive scowl. It’s similar to that of the new Maxima, however in this instance the tall ride height balances out the look. So instead of looking like an angry fish, the Rogue looks more like someone squinting into the distance.
The pointed LED daytime running lights adds a touch of distinction too. The minute details work together with the Altezza-esque tail lights cumulating in a design that makes it stand out among other crossovers on the road. Unlike its little brother the Juke, the Rogue does all this without offending other drivers.
While other manufacturers offer a variety of powertrain options – or at the very least a hybrid – the Rogue’s options remain a singular affair. Under the hood sits a 2.5L four-cylinder motor that produces 170 hp and is mated to – cue the horror music – Nissan’s Xtronic transmission. For the uninitiated, Xtronic is Nissan speak for a continuously variable transmission.
The peppy power plant makes 175 lb-ft of twist – plenty enough for the city. On the highway, the CVT has a tendency to rubber band making lane changes an exercise that requires more forethought than usual. Worse still is how noisy the unit is. Push the car even the tiniest bit and the unit buzzes and whines at 3,000 RPM. Thanks to the CVT the revs hold as the car accelerates, prolonging the noise. Once you’re cruising though, the noise insulation in the cabin is good, but we want it quieter.
Like many competitors, the Rogue offers a triad of driving modes: Sport, Normal, and Eco. Pushing the Sport button increases throttle response by allowing the engine to rev a little bit higher, the downside is the decrease in fuel economy.
No matter, put the car in Eco mode and you’re all set right? Hardly. The Rogue’s Eco mode dampens throttle response, but it does so in a more aggressive manner than other cars in its segment. Asking for power felt like I was sending the engine a request via Canada Post. Like Goldilocks in the Bear’s cabin, the third bowl was just right. Leaving the car in Normal felt good, but it begs the question why were the other two even included.
Minor drivetrain annoyances aside, the Rogue handles the pothole-ridden streets of Toronto with glee. There is some truth to Nissan’s commercial where the Rogue traverses between all the other crossovers stuck in the snow (coincidentally, that’s a metaphor for the Rogue’s sales).
It’s a car that handles with confidence, and it was evident from the second I picked it up. There are two reasons for this. First, there weren’t any coffee stains between the cup holders. Second, I see them around the city almost as much as the Corolla – and all those buyers can’t be wrong right?
One week of multiple trips to the city core exemplified the Rogue’s stellar composure. The crossover soaks up potholes in the road with ease. During all driving manoeuvres in the city, body roll is kept at a minimal and even under heavy braking the car felt remarkably tight.
As part of the redesign, Nissan has dressed up the interior of the Rogue too. Even in a cheaper trim level the interior feels well put together. Lots of soft touch materials and well-padded armrests adorn the cabin making it a comfortable place to be in. It is well designed too with an ergonomic driver friendly layout – save for the steering wheel that oddly looks like a high school diagram of a uterus.
While the first generation Rogue felt a little bit cramped in the back, the new Rogue is much roomier for all occupants. Fold down the rear seats and the back of the Rogue opens up for a cavernous 1,982 litres of cargo space. With the rear seats folded up, the Rogue still offers 1,112 litres of space for storage. In fact, there’s so much room back there, there’s an option for third row seating. Third row! In a compact crossover!
My tester was the AWD SV Special Edition; it’s not the fully loaded spec, but it is a good representation of where the bulk of the sales will be. The SV Special Edition represents a new (Canadian only) trim level for the 2016 model year. Slotting between the base S and SV, the SV Special Edition adds heated seats, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, power drivers seat, six-speaker stereo, and push-button start.
As an added bonus, Nissan offers the choice of tacking on their Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system for an extra $2,000 on all trim levels. Even with all-wheel drive, this particular Rogue rang out to $29,548 before taxes, freight and PDI.
On the grand scheme of things, the Rogue comes equipped with the right armaments to square off against the current segment leaders. A handsome exterior, comfortable interior, lots of cargo space, and a confident ride should make the Rogue a winner right? Not quite so.
One look at the spec sheet of its competitors and it becomes quite obvious that Nissan’s entrant doesn’t handily best its competitors. What it does offer though is an alternative that sits right up there with the top of the segment. The fight for the compact-crossover crown may not go to this iteration of the Rogue, but based on the number I’ve seen on the road, I think Nissan is well on the right track.
型号 Model: 2016 Nissan Rogue SV Special Edition
顏色 Paint Type: Gun Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $27,548
試車售價 Price as Tested: $29,548
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,706
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,630 / 1,840 / 1,715
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,618
引擎 Engine: 2.5-litre DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 170 hp @ 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 175 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
波箱 Transmission: Xtronic CVT
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 9.5 / 7.4 / 8.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P225/65R17 All-Seasons