Nissan Rogue: All-new for 2014

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The Nissan Rogue is all-new for 2014. Now in its second generation, Nissan’s small crossover offers three trim levels (S, SV, SL), starting at $22,790 for the front-wheel drive Rogue S.

My test vehicle was an SV with AWD, and a sticker price of $29,485. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is still rated at 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm; however it’s now linked to a new, Continuously Variable Transmission.

The pairing produces decent performance, especially off the line, though it lags somewhat as you gain speed. Rogue will reach 60 mph from a standstill in the low-9-second range; passing and merging require advance planning.

“Rogue 2.0” also appears to be noticeably more fuel frugal than the previous version, with EPA estimated mileage at 26/33 mpg (FWD), 25/32 mpg (AWD). These mileage numbers put Rogue in the front row of its competitive class; and I netted 24 mpg overall during my drive of the AWD Rogue SV. The 2.5-liter engine is fairly noisy at full throttle, but quiets nicely at cruising speed. Light towing is the limit for Rogue, with a capacity of 1,000 pounds.

Regardless of trim level, the price differential between FWD and AWD Rogue models amounts to about $1,350. If your budget can swing it, it’s money well spent if you live in the Snow Belt. Combining AWD with standard Vehicle Dynamic Control, Traction Control, and ABS adds considerable confidence to your winter driving, and there’s hardly any penalty in terms of miles per gallon when compared to a front-drive model.

The AWD system operates normally in FWD mode, channeling power to the back wheels as needed to maintain traction. A locking mode can be engaged for maximum grip at low speeds (less than 25 mph). Choosing AWD also adds hill descent control to the already standard hill-start assist system. While Rogue feels stable going down the road, if not sporty, its handling takes a back seat to the more agile members of its segment.

The 2014 Rogue is bigger than the former Rogue, but not as much your eyes would have you think. In reality, the 2014 edition is slightly taller (1.2 inches) and wider (1.5 inches) than the previous model. The extra space has been put to use where it counts — more rear leg room, and more storage space.

Maximum cargo capacity — formerly 60 cubic feet — is now 70 cubic feet. That drops to 32 cubic feet behind the second row and a scant 9.4 behind the third-row seat. That last stat is new this year, as this is the first time the Rogue is offered with an available third-row seat. It’s available as part of the Family Package ($940) on S and SV models. That package also deletes the onboard spare and swaps the standard tires for run flats.

Three-row seating is commonplace among larger crossovers, but Rogue becomes one of a very few small crossovers to have this capability. The space is sized for smaller kids, but it’s still nice to have this option in this class.

Rogue’s first and second rows offer adult-sized, comfortable seating. The aforementioned upsizing in Rogue this year tacked on 2.6 inches of leg room for second-row passengers. That row’s seats now recline, are adjustable fore and aft up to 9 inches, and also split 40/20/40 for storage flexibility.

Slide into the driver’s seat and Rogue has an upmarket look and feel: the steering column formerly didn’t telescope — and now does. Controls are simple to decipher and are generally within easy reach.

Drawbacks: The center console cover/arm rest formerly didn’t adjust up and back and still doesn’t. Rogue has the 3/4 rear blind spots common to crossovers and SUVs.

Technology and the option sheet combine with a workaround, in the form of blind spot detection. That’s one of several safety-related systems offered as part of the Premium Package ($1,420), which also includes lane departure warning, moving object detection, and Nissan’s 360-degree “Around View” camera system. Beyond the safety-related items, the package also includes some features aimed more at convenience or infotainment, including such highlights as Sirius traffic and travel information, voice recognition for navigation and audio, and a larger 7-inch color touch screen.

Subtle size gains and thoughtful engineering noticeably improve the new Rogue for 2014. More room for people and cargo, and better fuel economy help Nissan’s small crossover keep pace in a hotly contested category.