The objective with this new Rogue was to be noticed and provide a level of refinement and creature comforts that the competition isn’t providing…
Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
The 2014 Nissan Rogue is the newest entry to the fastest growing segment in Canadian auto market – the compact SUV.
The sales leaders are the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RV4 and many, many others. There is no mistaking why these products have become so popular. They offer room for a family of four, with a high seating position that drivers and passengers like, plus plenty of room for cargo and a price that’s not too outlandish.
The fact that these station wagon replacements have become so popular is also the dramatic improvement in fuel economy these companies have been able to achieve. No longer does a family have to give up huge dollars on fuel to drive a small SUV.
And what makes this new Nissan Rogue so interesting is the level of refinement and capability for up to seven passengers over three rows of seats.
(The Mitsubishi Outlander is the only other small SUV to offer three rows of seats.)
To test this new entry, Nissan held its launch event in and around Mont Tremblant, Quebec, getting a real taste of sub-zero Canadian driving.
Last year, Nissan introduced the bigger mid-sized Pathfinder SUV and this smaller Rogue shares many styling cues from its bigger brother. This, in my opinion is a good idea, it has a sense of purpose, sophistication and commonality that helps define Nissan’s brand.
Nissan wants to portray “everyday premium” with this new Rogue, including such nice touches as LED daytime running lights, wheel arch extensions, integrated mirror turn signals, plus available power lift gate and optional panoramic moon roof. The dimensions of this new Rogue are a bit of an optical allusion, as it looks much bigger than the outgoing model but, in fact, is 25mm shorter. Yes, the width and height have increased but this small SUV looks longer because the wheelbase has been stretched to make rom for an optional third row of seats.
Starting at $23,495 for the front wheel drive (FWD) S trim, then moving up to $26,748 for the most popular SV model is a price drop from the outgoing 2013 model. The all wheel drive (AWD) S and SV are $2000 more. The Top SL models are only sold with AWD and range from $30,495 to $33,098, which is a perfect price spread for most Canadian families.
It is easy to throw around slogans like “everyday premium”; it’s another thing to back it up.
In this case, Nissan has the goods. Most compact SUVs have a rather simplistic interior, sometimes fitted with soft-touch materials but rarely do they look upscale.
Nissan has done a good job of delivering a pleasant looking dash with the features people really want. Just because this isn’t a mid-sized SUV, doesn’t mean that Canadians don’t want the finer things.
The middle SV trim will be the most popular due to 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, heated seats, power driver’s seat and a huge panoramic moon roof for $26,748 in FWD and $2000 more in AWD. To get the three-row version the SV needs to be equipped with the $2050 Family Tech Package that might be worth the stretch because it really does amp up the goodies. They include the third row of seats that makes this a seven-passenger SUV.
Granted, the third row is tight but perfect for those occasional times when extra family members are in town. In addition, this package includes navigation, a 7-inch touch screen monitor, power lift gate, blind-spot detection system and lane departure warning system. These really are premium features found only in luxury SUVs just a few short years ago. Unfortunately, the top SL trim is only available in a two-row 5-seat configuration because it was felt the price would be too high for compact SUV buyers
As hard as it might be to believe, this new, larger and slightly heavier (49kg) Rogue is actually more fuel-efficient than the last model. They were able to improve the economy by 18 percent through the introduction of a new continuously variable transmission (CVT), aerodynamic tricks and letting the carried-over engine breath a bit better. Still rated at 170hp, the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine does a good job in city driving, thanks to the gearing of the new CVT but can seam a bit underpowered for higher, passing manouevre on the highway.
Overall, the person filling the new Rogue up with fuel will welcome this balance of efficiency and everyday drivability.
As part of the winter driving experience, I drove on an ice course in Macaglisse, Quebec, to highlight the vehicle’s stability system and the Active Trace Control feature. On the first run, through the twisty, sheer ice roads the entire system was shut off. As I crested a hill, then made a hard right turn, the Rogue slid all the way out to the edges of the corner, almost hitting the opposing snow bank. On the second run, with the advanced systems on, the same road was almost uneventful.
The stability and traction control kept the wheels from spinning but the Trace Control System provides just a slight amount of brake force to the inside wheels to help the Rogue navigate the sheet ice with confidence.
These systems are so subtle the driver can hardly tell they are at play.
The objective with this new Rogue was to be noticed and provide a level of refinement and creature comforts that the competition isn’t providing. The pricing is fantastic, especially the middle SV models. The larger interior dimensions will always be welcome, as buyers like to get more for their money, but it is still small and efficient enough for city buyers.
Power: 2.5L 4-cylinder with 170hp
Fill-up: 8.2L/6.2L/100km (city/highway AWD)
Sticker price: $23,498-$33,098