Car Reviews First Drives

2017 Nissan Rogue First Drive: Gunning for #1

Rogue is poised to outsell Altima, so expect more frequent updates

Rogue is poised to outsell Altima, so expect more frequent updates

The second-gen Nissan Rogue went on sale in November 2013 as a 2014 model, and in its second year sales skyrocketed by a staggering 44 percent, ranking it the industry’s biggest gainer. Of course, most other C-segment crossovers have also experienced sales growth, as these little nippers eat away at midsize sedan sales. With this increased consumer appetite comes a budget for bigger, more frequent upgrades and enhancements. As mid-cycle spiffs go, the 2017 Rogue’s is relatively extensive, as we outlined in our First Look. Front and rear fascias, all the lamps, and the grille are revised, with the latter accentuating Nissan’s newish V-motion graphic. New 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels are also on offer. Inside there’s a new flat-bottomed steering wheel to suggest sportiness, and seconding that suggestion is a new sport-mode shifter with leather boot. Other revisions update seat fabrics, door and instrument-panel trim, and the center console.

 

Comfort and convenience gets upgraded this year as well, with new 2017 Rogue options including a kick-motion-activated power tailgate, memory seats and mirrors, heated steering wheel and mirrors, and remote start. Adaptive cruise control is a big new addition, and it works between 20 and 90 mph (32 and 145 km/h). Joining that automation upgrade is a rather crude lane-departure prevention system that applies braking on one side of the vehicle to keep it from drifting out of a lane (we’re already getting spoiled by lane-keep assist systems that work the electric power steering to keep the vehicle centered in the lane, like the one on Rogue’s chief rival, the segment sales-leading Honda CR-V). Other safety upgrades include pedestrian detection on the already available forward emergency braking system, the addition of rear cross-traffic alert to the blind-spot detection, and extension of these features down to the middle SV grade (it had been standard on top SL trims only). There are also a few new option packages including the SV Sun and Sound Touring package (nine-speaker Bose audio and a panoramic sunroof) plus the Platinum package (adaptive cruise, pedestrian detection, lane-departure prevention, and 19-inch wheels) and Platinum Reserve interior packages—the latter of which gets uniquely stitched tan leather seat trim.

2017 Nissan Rogue SL AWD interior

A few of the 2017 Rogue’s upgrades are more than skin deep, including a major assault on noise intrusion that includes thicker rear side glass, added sound absorption in the headliner, dash insulator, front wheel-well liners, cargo floor area, and door inner panel sealing materials. New fender absorbers, expanding foam in the B-pillars, better carpet insulation, and more are said to reduce road, wind, and mechanical noise by 9, 8, and 6 percent respectively.

How does it all work? Well the 2017 Rogue SL model we sampled (the Rogue SL is shown above) felt far more premium than the 2016 SL model that failed to make the finalist cut in our most recent CUV Big Test comparison. That vehicle drew fire for excessive tire sizzle and wind noise, and indeed the extensive efforts to combat those issues appear to have paid off. Despite the new sport shifter, Sport-mode button, and flat-bottom wheel, there’s no changing the fact that this remains one of the slowest accelerating CUVs in the segment, and its handling isn’t even a fraction as sporty a Mazda CX-5’s.

Then again, apparently there are vastly more people who prefer the way the Rogue drives, so never mind about that. My gut feeling is that a 2017 Rogue SL would have likely fared well enough to make the finals of our Big Test, but probably wouldn’t have won it. But for families who want that occasional third-row seat for carpooling little kids, or who dig the Divide-N-Hide cargo system—which offers myriad choices of floor heights, concealed stowage, and vertical dividers—it’s not hard to see how Rogue is earning the sales momentum that this freshened one is bound to improve. After all, even we might choose the Rogue over an Altima.

2017 Nissan Rogue
BASE PRICE $24,500-$31,000 (est)
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD/AWD, 5- or 7-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.5L/170-hp/175-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto
CURB WEIGHT 3,450-3,650 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 106.5 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 184.5 x 72.4 x 66.3-66.6 in
0-60 MPH 8.5-9.0 sec (MT est)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 25-26/32-33/28-29 mpg (est)
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 130-135/102-105 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.67-0.70 lb/mile (est)
ON SALE IN U.S. November 2016