The compact crossover segment has exploded. Small CUVs are hitting the road in record numbers, fighting for market share from buyers searching for versatile vehicles with good fuel economy and an affordable price tag.
One of the first vehicles to kick-start the CUV craze was the 2008 Nissan Rogue. The second-generation Rogue is revamped for 2014 and adds more innovative technology than ever before. But the biggest change is the seating – a new optional third-row seat offers seating for up to seven people.
“The Rogue is a very important product for us because it is our No. 1 selling vehicle in the lineup in Canada. Our sales have increased 44 per cent since the model year 2008, when we launched the Rogue in Canada. Last year from this year we are up 10 per cent with Rogue,” says Nissan spokesman Didier Marsaud.
The Rogue plays in a competitive market. Previously assembled in Japan, it’s now built in Smyrna, Tenn. The 2014 Nissan Rogue comes in three models: S, SV, and SL. S and SV are available in FWD or AWD configurations, while SL is only offered in AWD. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, a rear view monitor, and an AM/FM/CD audio system. Base price is $23,498.
Additionally, a Family Tech package costs $2,100. It includes the third-row seating, run-flat tires, navigation with a seven-inch colour touch screen display, a power liftgate and an around-view monitor, which provides a 360-degree view of objects around your Rogue, a blind spot warning system, and a lane departure warning system. The package is priced well for what you get – but is only available on the mid-level SV trim.
If you need an occasional extra seat for a visiting in-law or relative, the SV trim with the Family Tech package is the way to go. The theatre-style third row 50/50 split bench seat is suited for small kids rather than adults, who will be cramped and short on leg room. But, in a pinch, it’s a smart alternative that will save you from taking an extra vehicle when visitors are in town.
With all three rows in use, there’s sufficient cargo space for groceries and sports gear – 266 litres, to be exact. The area expands to 906 litres with the third-row seats dropped. And if you need to lug an eight-foot ladder, you’re in luck. All seats, except for the driver’s, fold down to make room for longer items.
Inside, the cabin features softer materials and a clean dashboard design and layout. All commands are easy to find thanks to traditional buttons and HVAC dials that make it easy to find functions fast, even in the dark.
The 2014 Rogue has grown slightly. Compared to the last generation, it’s 30 mm taller. The wheelbase is stretched by 15 mm, while the front overhangs have been reduced by 38 mm. The front end features Nissan’s new V-bar grille centred between halogen headlights and Nissan’s signature LED daytime running lights. The design isn’t exactly a head-turner, but it’s not distasteful either.
The Rogue has pleasant road manners. Its small compact size and agile handling characteristics make it easy to manoeuvre and simple to park in crowded shopping malls. And it feels safe and secure. The all-wheel-drive system worked well on wet roads as it rained heavily along our stunning autumn route on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
A Rogue with seven seats gives Nissan an edge over the competition – it’s a selling point that will likely attract more buyers to the brand. The 2014 Rogue goes on sale this December.
2014 Nissan Rogue
Type: Five- or seven-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle
Base price: $23,498
Engine: 2.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine
Horsepower/torque: 170 hp/175 lb.-ft.
Transmission: continuously variable transmission
Drive: front-wheel or all-wheel
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 7.9 city/6.0 highway
Alternatives: Ford Escape, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, Dodge Journey
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