My mind is playing tricks on me. “This is a Rogue, not a Murano” I keep telling myself. But how can this crossover be a Rogue? The old first generation Rogue left a lot to be desired when it came to refinement. A buzzy engine, a thrashing continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an interior that looked a decade old were just some of the issues with the previous Rogue.
|Enine: Power comes from a 2.5 liter four-cylinder generating 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: The only transmission available is a continuously variable automatic with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Fuel Economy: All-wheel drive models are rated at 25 mpg city and 32 highway while front-wheel drive versions are rated at 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.
Pricing: Pricing for the Rogue begins at $23,350 after destination charges.
The new one is different and for the better. It looks like a baby Pathfinder, drives like a baby Murano and should soon dispense with many of the negative connotations associated with the name “Nissan Rogue.” Immediately the refinement and sophistication improvements can be felt from behind the wheel. It is much quieter inside than the old model and Nissan has sweated the details with items like the soft, cushiony door arm rests.
Interior Finally Belongs
The interior now looks modern and class competitive. The new NissanConnect infotainment system offers smartphone integration as well as a whole host of downloadable apps. The seven-inch touchscreen is a welcome improvement and much of the infotainment controls can be done through voice controls. The front seats are quite comfortable and proved to offer good support during a three-hour drive in which half was spent sitting stationary due to a highway closure. The big news however for 2014 is in the back of the Rogue.
While Toyota may have ditched the third row seating option for the RAV4 last year, Nissan has added one to the Rogue this year. As can be expected, with only 31.4 inches of legroom and 34.6 inches of headroom, the third row is designed as an occasional use seat for children only. Because of this, the second row seats are attached to a set of rails that allows it to slide back when the third row is not being used. This expands on the already generous 37.9 inches of second row legroom, allowing tall passengers to sit comfortably.
See Also: 2014 Nissan Rogue Review
If there is anything to fault inside the new Rogue, it is the lack of a seven-seat option for leather equipped vehicles. For now, only S and SV trimmed Rogues will be available with the third row option. The good news for the top of the line SL model is that there is a generous 32 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats that is adjustable thanks to Nissan’s trick dividable cargo floor. Those who do opt for the three-row model will have 9.4 cubic feet of cargo space while both models offer a total of 70 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
Wider Taller and Shorter?
Despite the addition of a third row, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is actually a little shorter than the old model which leads to another battle of perception versus reality. Maybe it is the refined driving dynamics or our subconscious knowing there is an extra row of seats back there, but the new Rogue feels larger behind the wheel. We don’t mean in an un-gangly road-barge sort of way, but the interior is an amazing feat of packaging inside that produces a spacious, airy feeling cabin.
Of course, what modern vehicle doesn’t come to market with all the latest available safety features these days? The 2014 Rogue can be equipped with blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and moving object detection.
The exterior of the new crossover has been given the latest family styling cues including the Nissan “V” grille and plastic chrome accents. The goal was to give the new Rogue a more sophisticated look to match a more sophisticated driving experience. The suspension sits on the softer side of the segment. In my opinion, that’s the sort of ride these vehicles should be delivering as they usually see duty as family transportation.
Mostly Carry-Over Mechanics
Under the hood it is mostly carryover hardware. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder still generates the same 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque and the only transmission of choice remains a CVT. Nissan has made tweaks to this drivetrain though, all in the name of efficiency. All-wheel drive models are now rated at 25 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway while front-wheel drive versions offer 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. That is a fairly dramatic improvement three mpg city and five mpg highway for both drivetrains over the previous model. More importantly, that makes it mor?e efficient than the similarly powerful Subaru Forester or Toyota RAV4
The newfound efficiency doesn’t mean the Rogue is an unmotivated slug to drive. Power response is decent and the CVT joins the recent trend of simulating gear changes under hard acceleration. Only during highway speeds does acceleration feel lackluster, but at least the thrashing racket that used to accompany hard acceleration is now somewhat subdued. At a base weight of 3,532 lbs, the Rogue has actually gained 117 lbs. compared to 2013 model and is only rated to tow a paltry 1,000 lbs. which may be enough for a jet ski, but not much else.
Base pricing for the new Rogue has jumped roughly $2,000 to $23,350 after destination charges. Seven passenger Rogues begin at $24,450, which is $630 more than the only other compact crossover to offer a third row of seating: the front-wheel drive Mitsubishi Outlander ES. At this price point though, the Rogue is the better vehicle of the two.
In case the price increase scares away potential customers, Nissan will continue to sell the old Rogue for the time being as a cheaper alternative, now labelled the “Rogue Select.” This strategy however may actually help sell the new Rogue. Anyone that wanders into a Nissan dealership and drives both vehicles back-to-back will probably have a hard time passing on the much-improved 2014 model.
It’s hard to fault Nissan for keeping the old Rogue around though as year over year, like a simplistic smartphone game that has gone viral, sales continued to increase for the compact crossover. Knowing there was a strong following for the brand’s compact crossover, Nissan didn’t want to mess with the formula too much while improving the bread-and-butter CUV. Safe to say the manufacturer has succeeded in creating a far more attractive and class competitive compact crossover.