When was the last time you saw a Nissan Rogue? Probably today; you just didn’t realize it. Anonymous as it may be, the Nissan Rogue has consistently been Nissan’s second-best-seller in the U.S. and a strong hedge in the burgeoning compact crossover market for the automaker. Now, it’s finally time for Nissan to introduce its successor, larger, more fuel-efficient, and, most importantly, more distinctive.
Nissan has its sights set square on the top-sellers in the class–namely the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. We had a chance to poke around the two- and three-row versions of the 2014 Nissan Rogue a few weeks back at Nissan 360, and we think the automaker just might have a shot at succeeding.
Did you catch the fact that we said three rows of seating? Just as Toyota introduced the 2013 RAV4 with one fewer row of seats available, Nissan added it for its compact crossover entry. That’s perhaps the biggest difference behind the 2014 Nissan Rogue’s vastly better interior than the model it replaces.
Sharing its structure with the new Nissan X-Trail that’s being simultaneously introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the 2014 Rogue comes with a host of upgrades that are worth noting. Standard for all models will be LED headlight accents, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and hands-free text messaging assistant. Also available are LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, NissanConnect infotainment, AroundView monitor with moving object detection, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning.
Borrowing a note from the 2014 Nissan Versa Note, the Rogue will also have an available Divide-N-Hide cargo management system that will serve as a cubbyhole system for storing items in the back. We sat on the divider, which is said to hold about 200 pounds, and it certainly did its job. That’s right, your author sits in cargo holds at press events for the fun of it.
Engine and Drivetrain
Perhaps one of the few carryover parts from the outgoing Nissan Rogue is its engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 horsepower. As base engines go, that’s not terribly powerful. In fact, with the exception of the 155-horsepower base Mazda CX-5, it’s right down there near the bottom of the class, tied with the Subaru Forester. That said, we love the Forester, engine included, and 170 ponies should more than suffice for all but the heaviest of lead foots.
That’s because it’s paired to a next-generation continuously variable automatic transmission that, when optioned with front-wheel drive, should be able to deliver a class-leading 33 mpg highway. That’s a huge number for such a tall, upright vehicle. The transmission should also allow the 2014 Rogue to deliver plenty decent acceleration.
As with any other crossover in this class, front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive will be an option.
Set to go on sale in November (pricing information below), the 2014 Nissan Rogue represents a colossal step forward. Its interior feels spacious and high-quality. Sitting shotgun with Nissan’s worldwide Creative Director Shiro Nakamura, it was fun seeing his face beam with pride in what his team created. He has every right. While the Rogue won’t turn the automotive market on its head, it’s a vehicle that should be able to step out of the shadows of the class leaders and right into the forefront of the segment.
We wish it had more power, but let’s be honest: We haven’t driven it yet, and we can’t imagine most shoppers will be pining for the extra oomph as a top priority. This is a family car. The third row isn’t especially roomy, but it’ll do the trick for shorter passengers, and it uses the same EZ Flex trick seating mechanism found in the Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 that should make it a snap to use.
Perhaps the only question left is how it’ll do in the face of competition like the Forester, CR-V, and all-new Jeep Cherokee. We’ll find out soon enough.
Pricing (Not including $860 for destination and handling)
|Rogue S FWD||$22,490 USD|
|Rogue SV FWD||$24,230 USD|
|Rogue SL FWD||$28,070 USD|
|Rogue S AWD||$23,840 USD|
|Rogue SV AWD||$25,580 USD|
|Rogue SL AWD||$29,420 USD|