“The first generation Rogue was voted ‘best new vehicle in class’ by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC.”

Euro styling, thrifty fuel economy, an extra roomy interior, and good value features make the Nissan Rogue stand out in the hugely popular compact utility market segment.

The first generation Rogue was voted ‘best new vehicle in class’ by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), when introduced for the 2008 model year.

Good consumer reliability ratings and excellent crash safety performance have helped make Rogue a solid and smart used vehicle choice. It’s also typically priced a little lower than more established competitors from Honda or Toyota… another plus for prospective used Rogue buyers.

We join Rogue’s first-generation product life story in 2011 when it got a styling refresh inside and out, and a new SV mid-range trim level was added to the model line. Rogue originally came in just S and SL trim levels.

The S and SV trims can come with front-drive or all-wheel drive and a top-line SL is strictly all-wheel drive. The newer SV trim adds (compared to an S trim) 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, privacy glass, a polished stainless steel exhaust tip, a backup monitor, dual vanity mirrors, a cargo cover, heated seats, a CD stereo with 4.3-inch colour display, and a USB port.

Power in all trim levels comes from an advanced large capacity 2.5 litre 4-cylinder double-overhead-camshaft engine with continuously variable valve control. It can produce up to 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. Tuned to provide a healthy amount of torque a low engine speeds, it makes a Rogue fairly quick off the line, yet it’s surprisingly easy of fuel.

The lighter front-drive models are the most economical and get a city/highway fuel economy rating of 10.3/8.3 L/100 km respectively, using the new five-cycle method. The all-wheel-drive editions get a 10.6/9.1 L/100 km (city-highway) rating.

Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) uses adaptive logic control to adjust gear ratios to different driving situations and driver demands. All-wheel-drive sends power to the front wheels under normal operating conditions (for best fuel economy). There’s also a locked 50/50 mode, which is useful on snow covered or slippery road surfaces.

Rogue’s rear independent multi-link suspension is also interesting. In addition to offering a better ride than a conventional strut type suspension it’s a more compact design, which allows more rear cargo space inside a Rogue.

Changes for 2012 included a new sport mode that gives the transmission a more aggressive shift pattern, at the push of a button. The SL trim also received Nissan’s superb Around-View-Monitor system. This clever parking aid can provide what looks like an overhead (bird’s eye) picture of the Rogue via four wide-angle cameras.

Not much changed for a 2013 model year which carried over into 2014, until an all-new (second generation) Rogue got a mid-model year introduction. Although the same length the outgoing model, this new Rogue has a longer wheelbase and it`s taller. A larger interior also allowed an optional 3rd row of seats. The 2014 Rogue also provides even better fuel economy, primarily due to a new continuously variable automatic transmission.

Price Check: 2011 – 2014 Nissan Rogue (April 2015)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2011                       SV                                                          $17,000 to $21,000

2012                       SV                                                          $19,000 to $23,000

2013                       SV                                                          $22,000 to $26,000

2014                       SV                                                          $25,000 to $29,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.

Safety Recalls: 2011 to 2014 Nissan Rogue

2008 to 2013: A wiring harness connector may corrode due to exposure to snow/water containing road salt and cause an electrical short. Dealers will add a waterproof seal, inspect the harness connector and replace as necessary.

2011 – The Electric Power Steering assist (EPS) control unit may fail, due to faulty manufacturing, and cause a loss of steering power assist. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the EPS control unit.

2014: An incorrect bolt may have been used at the intermediate shaft to upper steering column connection. This could allow the steering joint to lose tension and slip or separate and cause a loss of steering control. Dealers will inspect the steering column assembly and replace the bolt as required.

2014: One of the five wheel lug nuts on the right-side wheels may have been installed without being tightened to specification. Dealers will verify wheel lug nut torque.

2014: Improper nickel plating of certain fuel pump internal components could contaminate the pump, potentially resulting in an inoperative fuel pump. This could result in a no-start condition or an engine stall while driving. Dealers will replace the fuel pump.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“On the Nissan Altimate Rogue Trip we saw the spectacular in spades. And when the dozen journalist participants pulled up at the end of the road by the Santa Monica Pier, we shared a great sense of achievement…” (more…)

Route 66: Day 7

Group Photo END of the road

Santa Monica, California – It took us seven long days to drive 4,063 km – 56 hours, 30 minutes at the wheel – but we arrived safely at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica late Saturday afternoon.

This group of Canadian Auto Journalists (yours truly in the middle of three at the back) left Chicago last Sunday morning and boy was it chilly. Today, we are enjoying sun and soaring temperatures in Marina del Ray before heading home to locations across Canada.

There is much to reflect upon and share and later this month I will offer a complete report online and in print about this Nissan Altimate Rogue Trip along the historic but now decommissioned route across the U.S. Later, I will also review the vehicles we used for the road trip – 2015 Nissan Altimate and 2015 Nissan Rogue.

01 james dean

The last day began in Kingman, Arizona, where we had spent the night at the 1930s’ era El Travatore Motel. All the rooms are themed and yours truly chose the James Dean suite, where large photos of that “Rebel without a cause” from yesteryear adorned the walls. Worth a stay . . . for one night.

01 oatman

We took the Oatman Highway section of the old route and enjoyed the very curvy road into the mountain desert. The one-horse town of Oatman, actually more accurately a three-donkey town, is a remarkable example of the old west. Donkeys roam the main street – three on Saturday – while a lone cowboy plays a guitar.

03 donkey

It was the search for gold that formerly attracted people to this odd place but now it’s pure nostalgia and the many tales of hauntings and strange ghostly goings on at the Oatman Hotel. The hotel bar is covered in dollar bills bearing messages from visitors. There are supposedly around $200,000 pasted up from floor to ceiling. (We added $1 between 14 of us!)

02 dollar

The run from there to the finish line was sadly, mainly modern freeway. The demand for a faster track to California has mean the original lines of Route 66 have become buried barring the odd stretch here and there among the final stages.

Watch out for a full account later this month.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66










Route 66, Day 6

03 GC

Kingman, Arizona – The Grand Canyon is not part of Route 66 but we strayed off the straight and occasionally curvy, narrow road today to take in this magnificent natural wonder.

The Nissan Altimate Rogue Trip participants pointed the vehicles in the direction of the gorge and canyons that carry the mighty Colorado River and its tributaries. We had barely two hours to explore but made the most of the public viewpoints; some of the photographic results appear – a larger gallery will appear later this month.

01 GC


Early afternoon, saw us roaming the streets of Williams, which is the last major Route 66 community to be bypassed by the I-40 freeway. Frankly, it’s more of a parade of gift shops than it is a glimpse into the past.

06 rusty

Seligman, an hour or so further west, is much more interesting and a parade of nostalgia. The Rusty Bolt captured our attentiona and some of our dollars. Angel Delgadillo is a driving force for Route 66 preservation and promotion in Arizona. His family-owned barber shop has grown into a must-visit centre for gift buying and hearing about yesteryear of the route that since the early 1920s has carried vehicles from Chicago to Santa Monica.

04 angel

Tomorrow, we complete our journey to Santa Monica. My final road blog will appear Saturday.

An expanded feature will appear in Black Press papers later this month and a full report and picture gallery online at the same time.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66










Route 66: Day 5

01 Petrified

Williams, Arizona – It looks like some alien landscape from a far off planet, but the Petrified Forest is very much of this ancient earth.

A visit to this remarkable U.S. National Park was a highlight of Day 5 of the Nissan Altimate Rogue Trip, which is retracing the old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. It’s situated about 40 kilometres east of Holbrook in a semi-desert region and is named for the massive deposits of petrified wood that began forming around 225 million years ago. The rock formations are most unusual and very colourful.

02 Petrified

A rusting car marks a connection to one of the earlier lines of the decommissioned highway through the park, and the overheard power lines sit on the exact route.

03 old line

Entering Arizona, our 2015 Nissan Altima tugged us to the side of the highway into a large tee-pee-like structure where we shopped for examples of local art.

04 wigwam trade

Speaking of tee-pees, the inn bearing that name was the choice for an overnight stay by a Latvian couple, Guntars and Anda Vaishia. They too are exploring the route and couldn’t resist booking in for a night in a wood framed tee-pee!

05 Wigwam inn

06 Wigwam inn

Tomorrow, we head for the Grand Canyon and on to Kingman, Arizona. Check back for a further installment of this blog tomorrow and look out for an expanded feature in Black Press papers later this month and a full report and picture gallery online at the same time.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66

Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Everything they make in Texas is oversized, why they even grow Cadillacs.

First stop on day four of the Altimate Rogue Trip on Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica was the Cadillac ranch. There, ten classic examples of the prestige marque are planted in the red dirt. Three members of a local art group created the art installation in 1974. The cars represent the evolution of the car’s tailfins from 1949 until 1963 and their final ‘disappearance’ as a notable feature.

Interestingly, they are half-buried nose-first at an angle that corresponds to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Visitors spray paint graffiti on the cars and pose for photographs by their contribution to the art.

01 Cadillac01 Cadillac 2

You can’t escape the animated Cars movie on this trip because this installation is mimicked in the popular kids’ move where they appear as a mountain range!

Today’s 500-plus-kilometre trek took us through the midpoint marker for the 1966 line of the route at Adrian. That alignment made the route around 3,670 kms but our group of Candian auto journalists will drive the 2015 Nissan Altimas and Rogues about 4,000 kms as we are mixing up the stretches from different historical alignments.

02 midpoint

Drive partner Mark Richardson, from the Toronto Star, and I struck out on our own and took what was little more than a dirt track for almost 15k, which dated back to a route taken in the 1920s. It starts just after the New Mexico border and brought us out near to San Jon. The one-lane track opened up amazing vistas in this very Big Country.

03 1950s 04 1920 a

The freeway buried most of the route in the last 100 or so kilometres to our bed for the night in Albuquerque. Thursday we motor to the Grand Canyon, Arizona, for a night under the stars. What has been dubbed Team UK will be spotting locations used by the TV series Breaking Bad.

Check back for a further installment of this blog tomorrow and look out for an expanded feature in Black Press papers later this month and a full report and picture gallery online at the same time.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66

Amarillo, Texas.

When asked what that strange cloud was forming to our right on Route 66, our guide calmly told us over his walkie-talkie that it was typical of what are often the early stages of a tornado.

“Usually when I see that kind of formation, when I’m leading a bike group I quickly head off in the opposite direction,” Gary Fleshman coolly advised from the pilot car.

Drive partner Mark Richardson and I glanced nervously at each other and my foot pressed a little harder on the accelerator of the 2015 Nissan Rogue.

In the last two days, we had seen much evidence of the devastation these twisters wreak on the lives of people living along the old highway that passes through Kansas and Oklahoma on its way from Chicago to Santa Monica. This was only our third day on the Nissan Altimate Rogue trip and we were planning to complete the 4,000-plus kilometres by late Saturday so we decided not to hang around to see if it matured into a fully-fledged tornado (though we later learned it did not).

01 tor

01 calu

This stretch of the decommissioned national highway is perhaps the least interesting so stepping on the gas wasn’t going to deny us any memorable experience.  The drive up and down the hills that make up the longest single surviving stretch of the old highway – 60 kilometres – through the Calumet area was a back jarring experience. The surface is bumpy and noisy to say the least, hence our guide’s pet name for it – the chiropractic highway. He claims to need more than one visit to his local practitioner after each bike trip.

The strange cloud formation had long disappeared in our rear view mirrors by the time the Canuck-driven convoy of Rogues and Altima sedans crossed the South Canadian River half an hour later.

02 kicks

Clinton, Oklahoma, welcomed us to a super Route 66 museum. If offered much to look at in terms of relics from bygone years when the route was the best road west. I liked the old hippy VW campervan, which was the transportation of choice for the long hairs seeking peace and free love on the west coast in the 1960s. My search continues for the tackiest tourist souvenir. Mostly good taste was on display at the museum.

03 VW campervan

Onward to Texas. In Shamrock, we stumbled across Ramone’s House of Body Art, the body paint shop featured in the animated Cars movie, cunningly disguised as a café and museum.

01 ramone

Wednesday, we press on for Albuquerque, New Mexico. So, it’s goodnight from Texas!

01 Texas Sunset

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66

Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We met three of the stars of the Cars animated movie today and a real-life human, who inspired one of the characters.

01 Cars

Towards the end of our second day on the Nissan Altimate Rogue trip along Route 66 we turned a corner into Galena, Kansas, and spotted Red the fire truck, Tow Mater and Tow Tater parked on the forecourt of a beautifully restored Kan-O-Tex service station. Flash bulbs flashed as a dozen of us exited our convoy of 2015 Nissan Altima sedans and Rogue crossover vehicles.


The excitement continued as we visited the Welcome Centre, a short distance away in Baxter Springs. The fictional Radiator Springs is where much of the movie action takes place. Dean ‘Crazy Legs’ Walker, a Kansas Route 66 advocate and one of the inspirations for the lovable tow truck character, greeted us warmly. The affable man demonstrated his now famous turning-his-feet-backwards trick and it was captured on video for viewing here when a full account of this epic journey runs later this month. This ability gave the scriptwriters the idea of having Mater teach hero race car character Lightning McQueen to drive backwards.

03 Dean 'Mater' Walker

Earlier in the day, we left our overnight stop in Cuba, Missouri, bright and early to begin our next 550-km drive to Tulsa. Just a few minutes later, we were at the roadside in Fanning admiring the world’s largest rocking chair and a wonderful highway mural at the US 66 Outpost.

04 Rocking chair

05 mural

For all the tourism dollars the fascination with Route 66 brings there are still many casualties of the decommissioning of this great highway clear to see. Boarded up motels, stores and gas stations abound on the edge of the major centres.

06 NoTellMotel

Tuesday we press on for Amarillo, Texas.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter @ChangeGears

Learn more about his journey by searching #nissanroute66

Nissan Canada’s Altimate Rogue Trip along the historic US Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica rolled out of the very chilly Windy City early Sunday.

It’s a seven-day, 4,000-km plus driving adventure undertaken by more than a dozen Canadian journalists, all driving new 2015 Nissan Altima sedans and 2015 Nissan Rogue crossover vehicles.

In the coming days, check back for a pictorial account of each day’s journey. Later in November, a more detailed account will appear in the newspaper edition Driveway and a large gallery here online.

The first day saw us travel 550 kms to Cuba, Missouri, switching between the older roads that made up the route and the modern freeways that now cover some of the original stretches.

02 Old Route 66-2

Alongside some of the later routings of the road lie narrow parallel roads often overgrown. Technically, there is no longer a Route 66 but it’s a historic highway wound up in myth, legend, and magic. And its supporters in the states it traverses are determined to make it more of a living memory than one that fades with time.

01 Blues Brothers

Bizarre oversized roadside attractions and more subtle monuments are constant reminders of its glorious past the major link between Illinois and California. The strange examples, of course, the ones that stick in your mind.

06 Gemini Giant

The car from the Blues Brothers movie sits high above ground near Joliet, a town made famous by that Hollywood romp. The Gemini Giant in Wilmington is one of many outsized examples of vivid imaginations.

04 Odell

The citizens of Odell restored a Standard Oil Station that had virtually collapsed before they saved it. There are many similar examples of civic pride dotted along the route that winds between quiet towns.

07 Mississippi

Closing on our final destination of the day, we crossed of Chain of Rocks Bridge that spans the Mississippi River, near St Louis. A treat indeed as this high bridge no longer operates as a highway link and it was opened today purely for our benefit.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Follow Keith on Twitter at @ChangeGears


Don’t pack five full-size adults in there and try to tackle the steep terrain of the Coquihalla Highway…

The Nissan Rogue compact crossover has been substantially updated since its appearance in 2008.

The current design is very similar to the Murano but on a smaller scale. It has a sleek profile and features a rolled back front grille, large moulded LED headlights and the roof rails combined with the rear spoiler give it a very sporty look.

There are three trim levels, S, SV, and SL. The base S comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, EZ Flex seating system, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and a USB connection for a cell phone.

The SV model adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, power panoramic moonroof, heated front seats and a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.

The SL trim level starts with the SV model’s standard equipment and adds 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual zone automatic temperature control, auto dimming inside rearview mirror. The SL’s leather package includes heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated side mirrors, a six-way power driver seat, plus a one touch up/down driver window.

The SL premium package includes a seven-inch color touch screen monitor for navigation, eight-speaker Bose audio systems with a six-CD/MP3 changer, Sirius satellite radio ready, steering wheel mounted audio controls and ND Richbass sub-woofer. This package also give you a Power liftgate and an around view monitor.

There are dual stage front driver and passenger airbags with seat belt sensors, roof mounted curtain side-impact airbags. The vehicle is also equipped with 4-wheel ABS and traction control systems, rollover sensor, anti theft with immobilizer key systems. Vehicle speed sensitive electric power steering adjusts automatically to become easier at lower speed and firms up at higher speed.

This vehicle gets you around town but the four-cylinder engine just doesn’t have enough power on the highway. I found myself constantly pushing the gas pedal to the floor just to keep up with traffic. Perhaps it is the CVT transmission but I would like to see a V6 option for this vehicle.

Interestingly, the windshield wipers are noteworthy but not for a good reason. It was raining one day during my test drive and as I stopped at a light I felt the car sway back and forth with the wipers, I quickly dismissed it for a big truck driving by but it was at every stop. I turned them on fully and the car rocked back and forth with every swipe. I have heard about soft suspension but really?

If it is a small crossover vehicle you are looking for and like the feeling of sitting up higher than a car, try this one. Just don’t pack five full-size adults in there and try to tackle the steep terrain of the Coquihalla highway.


A 2.5-litre, 16-valve DOHC engine with 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, matched with a continuously variable transmission

Pump frequency

7.9 /6.0 L/100 km (city/highway)

Warranty support:

3-year/ 60,000km complete vehicle warranty

3-year roadside assistance

5-year/ 100,000km power train warranty

5-year unlimited km corrosion perforation warranty.

Sticker price:

S – $23,498

SV – $26,948

SL – $30,698

Contact: ian [dot] harwood [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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