More Blue than Green: 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid AWD
The automotive industry is quite literally being flooded with crossover hybrids these days. Toyota started this game changer when they launched the Highlander Hybrid which worked its way down into the RAV4 – a compact Hybrid, huh? Well, everybody else wanted to play in this game too… Kia and Hyundai just launched a version of their hybrid crossovers the Niro and Ioniq and now Nissan wanted to play a part in this too with the Rogue Hybrid. Question lies, does this market really need another Hybrid? Especially when fuel prices are maintaining a steady consistent number.
A Familiar Face with a new Identity:
If history has proven itself, it’s that Nissan really shouldn’t be playing in the hybrid game. With the failed attempt at the Pathfinder Hybrid and the Altima Hybrid, this Rogue Hybrid already has a glooming future ahead. The Rogue has also always been a middle of the pack kind of crossover, so only adding the Hybrid badge just means it has to fight a little harder to compete in this competitive game.
As we recently saw, there is a revamped Rogue on the market with some fresh new styles and boldness for 2017. Since the Hybrid is all new territory for the Rogue family, Nissan left most of distinguishing hybrid details out, except for some badges on the side and trunk. The Hybrid only comes in two variants, the SV starting at $26,640 and the SL starting at $31,560. Our tester arrived in its simpleminded form with the SV emblem, one to be the more popular selection from its consumers. With the 2017 refresh it gets a set of new headlights and LED daytime runners, a more aggressive chrome grille, new front and rear bumpers and some new taillights in the back that fit right in with the Nissan generation.
It’s a Nice Car…:
From the outside, our Caspian Blue Rogue has curb appeal –the 17-inch wheels are aesthetically pleasing and the 2017 refresh gives it some handsome charm. Inside, the cloth seats are as durable as they are comfortable with easy to adjust power driver seat and heated front seats. The interior of the cabin is nicely decorated in a simple fashion with modest fit and finish materials that matches its price point. The SV does cheapen up on some of the plastic, but Nissan molded some of these bits to look like stitch leather – classy. Springing for the $2870 SV Hybrid Premium Package brought in a host of goodies for both the passengers and driver to enjoy – Bose Premium Audio, Power Lift Tailgate, Around View Monitor, Navigation, and the ever-so-satisfying Panoramic Sunroof.
Like any typical crossover the Rogue has a sustaining amount of comfort room. Rear legroom is appropriate with a comfortable sitting height and even with the pano sunroof, headroom is adequate for the more, taller of passengers. Unfortunately, due to the batteries being in the rear cargo, the seats no longer recline and cargo capacity has shrunk with a raised loading floor making it also harder to load cargo.
Nissan introduces a new powertrain with the Hybrid – working together, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and single electric motor make for a combined 176-horsepower. Torque is down significantly from its 2.5-liter sibling, producing only 144lb-ft of torque over the standard 175. Between the two Rogue’s, there is no major difference between the two when power is called to delivered. Using a CVT transmission, the Rogue Hybrid moves along just, but only. It takes just over 9 seconds to 60 mph and at low speeds torque acceleration goes on vacation. The Rogue Hybrid does seem to struggle when keeping up with traffic from stop light junctions as the gas pedals responsiveness has a more eco-friendly agenda. There is a Sport button to help satisfy any aggressive driving surges through our bodies, it increases pedal sensitivity but it can be rather hard to find on the dash.
Working coincide, the electric motor and gas engine have to work very hard to keep the Rogue moving. At low speeds, we found that Rogue easily switches over the EV mode. However considering our All-Wheel Drive version weight nearly 3800lbs, it didn’t like to stay in EV mode very long. Transition between gas and electric isn’t exactly the smoothest of changeovers either. The engine generates noticeable amounts of vibrations and buzzy noises.
Considering the chassis provided a jittery ride quality, one can’t say it’s the smoothest of rides on the market. While the suspension can cope just fine over some of the rough stuff, the chassis picks up a lot of unwanted road feedback making it a very giggly commute. The wishy washy feel from the vague steering wheel and no feel for road movement definitely provides a non-enjoyable driving style and the springy, slushy brake pedal lacks the stopping confidents one could expect.
When we tested the refreshed Rogue SL a while back, it was flawed, but its premium features, pleasant cabin with upscale finishes and confident driving demeanor help us look beyond some of the cracks. With the Rogue Hybrid SV, there are too many questionable factors from the cartoonish touch screen infotainment system that doesn’t feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the disconnected chassis, and poor 20 mpg return (EPA claims 30 mpg in the City) – it’s hard to say, but perhaps the more road worthy 2.5-liter non-hybrid Rogue is a better decision.
|2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid Base Price:||$26,640|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$31,625|
|2.0-liter Four Cylinder & Electric Motor – 176-Horsepower, CVT Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±9.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 31/34/33 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 20 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±350 Miles|