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First Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue

Affordable, stylish, comfortable.

by on Nov.01, 2013

Nissan strives for segment design leadership with the launch of the 2014 Rogue.

Compact crossovers have become one of the U.S. market’s hottest segments right now. And as sales surge, a growing number of manufacturers are competing for buyers attention with new or restyled offerings.  Over the last year or so we’ve seen major remakes of the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CRV and the Ford Escape, to name a few.

Now, Nissan is weighing in with a redesigned version of the Rogue targeting a broad cross section of consumers, from older, empty nesters to young buyers just starting families.

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The second-largest Japanese maker is taking an unusual approach, however, launching a new 2014 Nissan Rogue while maintaining the old model as the budget-priced Nissan Rogue Select. Whether that strategy will work remains to be seen, especially if Nissan hopes to get buyers to shell out the several thousand additional dollars it takes to get into the newer model.

The old version of the Nissan CUV will remain in the line-up, possibly until 2015, as the "Rogue Select."

A first drive of the 2014 Nissan Rogue suggests the maker has put together an impressive package.  Nissan has always been one of the more inventive Japanese companies when it comes to exterior design. The new Rogue, with its shaped and tailored headlights and taillights, has a clean appearance that stands in sharp contrast to the boxy designs that long dominated the crossover and sports-utility segments.

The first generation never looked bad, which is one of the reason Nissan plans to keep the Rogue Select around a while longer. But the new CUV has a fresh and contemporary appearance that many consumers are bound to find appealing.

The interior is also nicely designed.  Soft materials are everywhere you look -or reach – and Nissan has incorporated the new seats now used in the Altima, which build on technology borrowed from NASA to help make the driver and front seat passenger more comfortable on long drives.

(For more on Nissan’s two-Rogue strategy, Click Here.)

A simple layout with the use of newly upgraded materials makes the 2014 Rogue a segment standout.

The Rogue’s dashboard is also straightforward and functional and Nissan’s designers have resisted the temptation to overload the center stack, which also offers relatively simple and ergonomically positioned controls. The audio system also gets redundant controls on the steering wheel. Overall visibility from the driver’s seat is good in all directions, and a rear-facing back up camera is also a standard feature.

Nissan adds a new connectivity system on the 2014 Rogue remake.  NissanConnect, with Bluetooth, comes standard on all 2014 versions. The top-of-the-line Rogue SL adds standard navigation but even the Rogue SV models come with  NissanConnect Apps, featuring Facebook, Twitter, iHeartRadio and Pandora . An SV Premium Package also can replace the standard 5-inch screen with a larger 7-inch color touch-screen display.  Overall, the system does seem to make it easier to pair up a phone and to enter an address into the navigation system.

(How did Nissan do in the latest Consumer Reports auto reliability survey? Click Here to find out.)

The new Rogue offers a full suite of electronic safety, comfort and infotainment features.

The Rogue’s driving dynamics are impressive, especially considering the soft, squishy behavior of some of the competition. The crossover seems well-planted on all kinds of pavement thanks to the standard 4-wheel independent suspension.  Electric Power-assisted Steering is standard on the Rogue but Nissan’s engineers have improved the system so it offers more feedback to the driver than the EPS systems found in the maker’s own Altima and Sentra models.

We were particularly impressed with the quietness inside the cabin.

Four-wheel disc brakes with electronic stability control, ABS, vehicle dynamic control with traction control system and hill start assist are all standard.

Rogue is available with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive.  But Nissan is only offering one engine in the Rogue – a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder package matched up with the next generation Nissan CVT.  The combination delivers 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque and produces some impressive fuel-economy numbers:  26 miles per gallon in city driving and 33 miles per gallon on the highway, which Nissan claims as best-in-class.

The Rogue is offered with a standard 2.5-liter I-4 but is available in either AWD or FWD layouts.

The Rogue can seem a bit underpowered at times, especially on freeway entrance ramps and during aggressive passing maneuvers. Nonetheless, I suspect the powertrain package is bound to satisfy a lot of potential buyers in every day driving because of the fuel economy numbers – which are all the more impressive in a vehicle topping the scales at over two tons.

(Nissan sets global sales record. Click Here for the story.)

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP for new 204 Rogue start at $22,490.  The MSRP for the top trim level SL version of the Rogue pushes up to $29.420. Popular features, including an upgraded version of Nissan Connect, the Nissan safety shield suite of features such as lane departure warning, the sunroof and a third row of seats are all available, depending upon model.

Overall, the new 2014 Rogue offers buyers a versatile package that can handle both passengers and their gear in stylish comfort at what is a relatively affordable price. Nissan ought not to have any problem selling both the old Select model and the new 2014 Rogue.

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3 Responses to “First Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue”

  1. Higheriq says:

    Only one engine, but does that mean only one transmission too?

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      We’ll double-check, but that’s our understanding. We’ll post a comment if there is a stick, but we see nothing to indicate so.

      Paul E.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Yep, as suspected, Nissan PR confirms CVT only for Rogue.

      Paul E.