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First Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SV

Nissan Rogue

After almost 6 years of being on the market as Nissan’s lower mid-size SUV, the Rogue was well overdue for a new face. When Nissan launched the first-gen Rogue in 2008 it wasn’t something to be bragged about – merely earning a “meh” in design, features, and performance. So Nissan listened to its consumers… took what they wanted and transformed the Rogue into something you wouldn’t mind showing off.

If you did like the first-gen Rogue – for whatever reason… then you’re in luck. Nissan will continue to sell those Rogue’s labeled as ‘Rogue Select’ for the greater part of 2014. Though, we can’t really understand why – at first glance, the new Rogue is better in every way imaginable. With three trim levels available: S (Base), SV, & SL (highest trim); our tested Rogue sat right dab in the middle suiting the SV badge – straight off the assembly line in Smyrna, Tennessee. We were pleasantly thrilled to have this SV model as it’s most likely to be the more popular option by consumers.

The Rogue looks as if it has taken a few pointers from the more grown up Nissan Pathfinder. This all new body harvests a more upscale look with cleaner lines, a sharper chrome grille and a chiseled muscular hood. The LED daytime running lights add an elegant touch that corresponds with the body wrapping tail lamps. Continuing a refreshing look the 17” alloy wheels and $290 optional painted roof rack adds an overall satisfied SUV attractiveness.

Falling under the redesign knife, the interior is completely new adding a much more fashionable look. This SV model loaded up on the color black featuring a charcoal cloth interior with a silver embossed pattern. The 6-way power adjustable driver seats makes for easy adjustments while the passengers get to relax through the dual zone climate control. Rear seat passengers naturally get SUV classic room that can recline and slide back & forth. Featuring the optional $940 SV Family Package is a tinny tiny 3rd row seat designed with a mother in-law in mind – save the $940 and keep the traditional SUV cargo capacity.

When the Rogue first arrived, we were put off by the black interior and sparking black accents; there is a mosh-up of silver trim but not enough to break-up the gloominess. The curvature dash and 3D illusion air vents add a smart attraction in the overall design. Luckily Nissan does offer a two tone Almond interior that is much more appealing and eye-catching. Plus, the lighter color won’t show all the food crumbs and dog hair left behind.

There is cheapness to the Rogues interior. Our tester nearing 4,000 miles already had conspicuous scratches in the hard plastic dash and could feel the seam connection in the steering wheel. This is where the $1,420 SV Premium Package started to make up for some of its cheap feel. Included in this Premium Package features a 7” Color Touch Screen Navigation with Nissan Connect, AroundView Monitor, Power Lift Tailgate, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Moving Object Detection. The 7” display is fairly similar to the one found in the Nissan Sentra we tested last year. It has the same cartoonish look and the woman on the other end of the speaker sounds very computer generated – plus with your sunglasses on, the screen is difficult to view. However, all of that for $1,400 bucks is quite the bargain.

‘No shifts for you’… as Nissan keeps the tradition going matting the Rogue to its latest CVT technology. There is no opting up for a larger engine as a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is the only option available across all trim levels. Now, if you’re someone that doesn’t know what the + & – mean on the gear stick, than you probably wouldn’t mind a CVT.

The CVT is designed for efficiency than performance, and that starts to reflect in its performance figures. The 2.5L engine will pony up 170 hp and 175lb-ft of torque to the front wheels – there is an AWD option available for those that live in the snowy regions. This leaves roughly 9 seconds to 60 mph and a sound of engine that hurting for more horses. But like stated before, a CVT is for efficiency, and at 27 mpg, city, 30 mpg highway and an impressive 28 mpg combined on unleaded plus fuel with a decent range of 350 miles leaves us applauding the CVT.

The electrically controlled steering does feel lifeless; like there is no connection to the wheels, but to consumers they probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference. There is no sense of enthusiasm from behind the wheel and if you do chuck it into a corner be prepared for some body roll. There is a ‘Sport’ button… if you can find it – supposedly this is to create some life into the Rogue’s dynamics – we didn’t notice a difference. But hey, the brakes were really good… and that’s important! The overall drive experience is a comfortable one – the ride quality is about what you’d expect from any family crossover with a smooth suspension system and a quiet cabin.

There are some minor kinks to the Rogue that will need some fine tuning – we are happy to see that Nissan has put the Rogue on the right track. We appreciated the grown up exterior styling, and would favor the Almond interior – plus the ‘Birds-Eye’ AroundView Monitoring and power lift tailgate is an added bonus to us… all for an as tested price of $28,135 – which isn’t half bad.

Price (As-Tested):
2014 Nissan Rogue SV: $24,490
Destination: $860
Featured Options:
Floor Mats: $135
Roof Rails with Cross Bars: $290
SV Family Package: $940
SV Premium Package: $1,420
Grand Total: $28,135


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