“Compact Size Brawn”
Nissan is a company that is at the cusp of a rejuvenation. At the heart of this rejuvenation is a vehicle that means a lot to Nissan. It represents the number 12 best seller to our friends down south and number 10 in Canada in 2020. As my opening title indicates the Rogue has actually been Nissan’s best seller since 2012 in Canada. It is a foundational vehicle to Nissan’s success. At the end of 2020 in the midst of the Pandemic, Nissan unleased the all new Rogue from the ground up. “Not another compact SUV” you say, and yes, it seems like every new vehicle now a days is another SUV or CUV. However, the Nissan Rogue captures you in a way that rings of nostalgia.
The new Rogue pulls on historic cues of the Pathfinder’s from the 90’s with a muscular angular design. Nissan’s signature V-motion grill is bold and masculine up front. Flanked by angled daylight running LED’s and headlights situated just below. The whole design is finished by a brushed aluminum look lip that runs almost the full length of the front. Around the side, the Rogue presents clean lines. The roof line rakes back slightly, but, it maintains its boxy rough looks. It is arguably one of the nicest compact SUV’s in the industry and beats out the RAV4 and CRV, who are its closest competitors.
Opening the doors and stepping inside you are greeted with a clean almost minimalist interior. An all new meaty steering wheel highlighted with the V-Motion grill design carries over. A large 9 inch touch screen is mated to a 12.3 inch digital cluster. The screen can be customized between navigation maps, music and trip information. As you progress down the center console you are met with one of the most unique shift levers in the industry. A wide digital shifter that slides from reverse to drive and parks with a push of a large button on top of the lever. Making use of the digital shifter allows for the opening up of a large amount of space below the console, under-shifter storage if you will. The center armrest opens in a butterfly fashion rather than clamshell style, for easier access for both front and aft passengers. The final item of use in the console is the Terrain selector, which allows you to adjust the Rogue between Off Road, Snow, Auto, Eco and Sport Modes for the intelligent all-wheel drive system. The interior feels spacious and airy, thanks to a dual panel panoramic roof. For the young family buyers, the new Rogue has doors that open nearly to 90 degrees. Last but not least is the feeling of quality beginning with quilted leather seats and ample soft touch materials. Hard plastics are kept to a minimum and the switch gear feels solid and responsive.
The driving dynamics of the all new Rogue are equally appealing. The heart of the Rogue begins with the only engine available across the range, a 2.5 litre direct injection 4-cylinder producing a respectable 181-hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. By comparison the base RAV4 engine produces 203-hp and 184 lb-ft and CRV engine produces 190-hp and 179 lb-ft. These are very similar ranges, but, the RAV4 edges them all out by offering hybrid options that bump up the numbers significantly. The Rogue handles comfortably, soaking up road imperfections with ease and minimal cabin disturbance. Steering response is spot on but, a little uncommunicative. When entering twists the Rogue remains flat and level thanks to increased rigidity and decreased weight. The drive is spirted, if not sporty and despite being down on power it produces a similar 0-100 time of about 8.0 seconds.
The Rogue starts at about $28,500.00 at S trim level, once the features begin to be added and you get up to the Platinum trim level, as tested, the new Rogue runs in at just shy of $40,000.00. The $12,000.00 spread is what gets you all the niceties set out herein, however, the drive train and features like active grille shutters and air vents remain standard across the range. This is what represents the largest distractor, with such a significant price gap we should see an accompanied powertrain upgrade. The use of turbos or hybridized systems is what competitors like Toyota and Mazda offer in the RAV4 and CX-5. With a company bathed in a history of forced induction, I only hope we will see a more aggressively powered Rogue in the near future. Power only improves.