The Rogue has the unmistakable look of a modern three-row crossover SUV. Scale it up, and from the side the Rogue could pass for a Chevy Traverse or a Honda Pilot. Unadventurous? Sure, but the Rogue's shape is handsome, its proportions are good, and its interior is attractive and well-finished.
We give it an 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Nissan's done a positively Honda-like job in the past few years, evolving styling in gradual steps to remove the odder flourishes of the past. Remember the last Rogue's crazy grille treatments? They're broomed. This year the Rogue gets a new V-shaped grille braced by LED running lamps, a light refresh to a face that generates all the Rogue's distinctiveness. Down the side, on to its retouched rear end, there's not much of the wild sculpting that's found on the smaller Juke crossover, and that's a good thing. The Rogue looks like what it is, and doesn't let styling overwhelm that message.
Nissan has also delivered a handsomely finished interior, one with high-quality materials. It's not damning it with faint praise to call it elegantly ordinary. It's laid out for quick perception, with round knobs for climate control and audio framing a center stack with an LCD monitor. There's also a cowl over the gauges that is balanced out by a pair of slim vents over the center stack. It's not wildly conceived with numerous touch interfaces or asymmetrical lines or a shower of single-function buttons, and we like it for that reason. New touches for the 2017 model year include a reshaped steering wheel, nicer trim on the dash and doors, and a newly packaged Platinum Reserve model with quilted leather seats.
The Rogue doesn't go out of its way to shock or awe crossover-SUV shoppers.
The Rogue continues with the 2.5-liter inline-4 and continuously variable transmission (CVT) found in the first-generation model. Power output's still fixed at 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque.
We give it a 5 out of 10, granting a point above average for ride, and taking it away for its CVT. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Dip deeply into the gas, and the CVT modulates the gaps between its pulleys to simulate an automatic with an infinite set of gears. It does so quickly and smoothly, but the Rogue doesn't have fixed ratio points—"gears"—or shift paddles to reach them, like our current CVT favorite in the Subaru Forester. The result is a mediocre 8-second acceleration run to 60 mph, and a noisy pause at the productive end of the Rogue's powerband. Compared to turbocharged 4-cylinders and automatics in the Santa Fe, Escape, and others, it's less satisfying. The Rogue does have an Eco mode, which keeps it from revving out quite as much, but it also dulls throttle response unless you pin the throttle.
Just as impressive is the Rogue's secure and substantial driving character. Electric power steering isn't the curse here that it is in some compact cars. It doesn't wander and hunt on grooved concrete, and takes to changes with smooth responses, but it isn't fast or particularly informative. The suspension's independent all around, and ride quality is quite comfortable.
It's augmented electronically with advanced stability-control logic. In one application, it damps the accelerator to smooth out the ride over bumps (instead of surging over them). In another, it clamps the inside front brake in corners to draw the Rogue through them more nimbly. The effects can't really be sensed without comparing the same Rogue, disabled, though. These features serve to make the Rogue a comfortable daily driver, but they don't add any excitement to the controlled but rather bland driving experience. 17- to 19-inch all-season tires
The new Rogue Hybrid doesn't alter the driving feel much at all, other than the addition of nearly 200 pounds of batteries. The Hybrid uses that 0.8-kwh lithium-ion battery pack to start the vehicle via one of its two clutches, in combination with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for a net output of 176 hp.
It's quite difficult to get the Hybrid to roll on battery power alone, though Nissan says it can travel up to 2 miles at 25 mph on a fully charged battery. The trick, since there's no EV-mode button? Very gradual throttle application, keeping it to less than 10 percent of pedal travel.
The Rogue Hybrid's second clutch couples its battery and its 30-kw electric motor to the gas engine output through its continuously variable transmission. They're combined ahead of the transmission and none goes directly to the rear wheels, so the Rogue Hybrid is not of the through-the-road variety.
Acceleration is marginally better, and the Rogue Hybrid is almost indistinguishable in the way it moves power from its CVT to its wheels. The only substantial difference comes in fuel economy: the Rogue manages 33 mpg combined or better.
Performance? Yes, there is some, but the Rogue focuses mainly on a compliant ride.
The current Nissan Rogue crossover isn't much larger than the previous-generation vehicle, but Nissan has found some extra room inside. It's enough to slot in a third-row seat, though just barely. That makes the Rogue one of the smallest crossovers on the market to offer a third-row seat.
That's not the Rogue's calling card, though. In truth, the third-row seat is only roomy enough for small children. It's a good thing it's an option, and unavailable on the most expensive Rogue SL or on the hybrid editions.
We give it an 8 out of 10 for supportive front and back seats, and for its good use of cargo space. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
As it did with the Altima, Nissan has outfitted the Rogue with very comfortable front seats and a good driving position, though the steering wheel has a bit of a bus-like rake to it. Super-dense foam and great sculpting make the Rogue's chairs a place we could sit for a 12-hour road trip—no sweat. The front seats also borrow a page from the Leaf playbook, with optional heating controls that warm up first in more sensitive contact areas. The manually adjustable seats add power for the driver on the Rogue SV and SL, but no passenger power seat is available. Instead, the front passenger seat folds down to extend interior cargo storage. You can toss an 8-foot ladder in through the tailgate and it should fit, provided you're driving solo.
Adults get ample accommodations in the second row, which slides on a 9-inch track to expand its leg room, reclines for long-distance comfort, and moves up and away behind the front seats for maximum cargo stowage.
The third-row seat that sets the Rogue apart from most of its rivals, except the RAV4, is a small, cramped place for anyone not currently in elementary school. It's also not offered on Hybrid models, since the battery pack takes up the space where it would be folded and stored.
Even on gas-powered Rogues, the third-row seat's such an occasional piece that we'd skip it in favor of the Nissan's cargo management setup that's standard on five-seat models. With configurable panels, you can create stowage boxes and bins in the back to suit whatever task you have, from carrying home ice packs and beverages to hiding muddy boots until you can hose them off after a hike.
Both the second and third rows split and fold for flexible cargo space. There's 70 cubic feet in all behind the front seats with the other rows folded down; 32 cubic feet behind the second row; and a skimpy 9.4 cubic feet behind the third row.
Cabin quality is where the Rogue really shines. The cockpit's trimmed out in substantial, good-looking materials, with low-gloss plastics and metallic trim. In previous years the Rogue has been plagued by excessive engine noise, but more damping material has been added for the 2017 model year.
Superb front seats and an available third-row bench give the Rogue a leg up against other compact crossovers.
The Rogue has been tested by both agencies that regularly throw perfectly good vehicles into a wall. In its tests, the Rogue has seen mixed scores.
We give it a 7 out of 10 here. We've awarded a point for its IIHS scores and another for newly standard safety taken, but taken one away for a subpar rating in the NHTSA regimen. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Rogue has earned the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to top "Good" scores across the board, an "Acceptable" headlight rating, and "Superior" front crash prevention.
It's in federal testing where the Rogue falls behind. The NHTSA gave the Rogue a four-star overall rating, lower than most rivals.
All Rogues come with standard curtain airbags and stability control, as well as tire pressure monitors. Options include blind-spot monitors, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system with emergency automatic braking. The latter functions were only offered on the very top Rogue SL Premium initially.
However, beginning with March 2017 production, all Rogues are labeled as 2017.5 models and they now come standard with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Our safety score reflects the 2017.5 model.
Outward vision in the Rogue is fairly good, though the uptick at the rear pillars blocks some rearward vision. Still, one feature we'd buy, no question, is the surround-view camera that's available on the Rogue SV and standard on the SL. It stitches together a composite 360-degree view of obstacles from a quartet of cameras, and it makes parking everywhere and anywhere so much simpler. It's packaged with other useful options in the SV like smartphone connectivity, so it's worth the extra money.
The Rogue fares well in IIHS testing; the NHTSA doesn't agree.
|Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:||(4/5)|
|Overall Side Crash Rating:||(5/5)|
|Overall Side Barrier Rating:||Not Rated|
|NHTSA Roll-over Resistance Rating:||(4/5)|
|Side Impact Test||Good|
|Roof Strength Test||Good|
|Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint||Good|
|IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
|IIHS Moderate Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
Nissan fits the Rogue with all the features we'd expect from any of its competition. There's nothing truly unexpected on the list, and some features are only offered on the most expensive versions—but in the balance, it's packaged and priced competitively.
We give it a 7 out of 10 for its generous standard and optional equipment. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year, the Rogue comes in S, SV, and SL models, while Hybrid versions can be ordered in SV or SL trim. The base Rogue S has the usual power features; cruise and climate control; Bluetooth with audio streaming; a rearview camera; 17-inch wheels and all-season tires; and an AM/FM/XM/CD audio with a USB port and 4 speakers.
Rogue SV crossovers add satellite radio; alloy wheels; automatic headlights; a power driver's seat; and keyless ignition.
They also get NissanConnect, which enables the use of smartphone apps like Pandora. It's a relatively simple setup, with straightforward operation and more limited features than some high-feature infotainment systems.
A Premium Package for the SV comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen; voice-activated navigation; real-time traffic and weather data; a surround-view camera system; a power liftgate; heated cloth seats; blind-spot monitors; and a lane-departure warning system. Optional on the Rogue SV is a Midnight Edition package that, at $990, adds a few exterior touches and black 17-inch alloy wheels. It's rather pricey for what you get.
The Rogue SL gets 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, leather upholstery, Bose audio, NissanConnect, Siri Eyes Free, navigation, a power tailgate, and surround-view camera, which is one of our must-have features now that's it's spread outside the Nissan/Infiniti empire. A Premium Package for the SL adds a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
The exclusions on the order sheet are few, but big. Nissan doesn't sell the Rogue's third-row seat on SL or Hybrid models. It also limits forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking to the most expensive SL Premium trim.
Nissan stocks the base Rogue pretty well, but some of the most desirable safety features only come on the most expensive model.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue earns good fuel economy ratings with its 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. With its new Hybrid edition, it moves into a new tier, alongside the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.
We give the Rogue a green score of 7 out of 10 for its carryover gas-only powertrain. There's more to come, though. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The EPA certified the current front-drive 2017 Rogue at 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined. With all-wheel drive, the Rogue rates at 25/32/27 mpg. The EPA puts Hybrids at 33/35/34 mpg with front-drive and 31/34/33 mpg with all-wheel drive.
A new hybrid Rogue ups the gas-mileage ante.