2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid First Drive: Efficiency at the expense of cargo space

– Greensboro, Georgia

Nissan doesn’t have a great history with selling hybrid crossovers. It introduced a hybrid version of the Pathfinder for the 2014 model year... and promptly discontinued it in the U.S. a year later due to poor sales. The company is hoping for much more success with its newest hybrid, based on the Rogue crossover, which joins the new Murano hybrid. Rival Toyota sees as much as 15 percent of RAV4 sales going to the hybrid model, and Nissan wants in on that action.

The Nissan Rogue Hybrid builds on a great foundation. The standard Rogue crossover, also updated for the 2017 model year, is inoffensive, practical, affordable, and efficient. To that recipe, Nissan adds a new hybrid powertrain designed in-house that combines a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a single electric motor. The former produces 141 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor is rated for 30 kilowatts. Together, they produce a combined 176 hp. That’s six more than the non-hybrid Rogue, though the hybrid also has to lug around about 200 pounds more mass. The battery and motor can drive the car alone at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour.

2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: First Drive
2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: First Drive

 

Leaving a stop sign in a hurry is sometimes a frustrating waiting game: depress accelerator, wait a second, then proceed.

Because the lithium-ion battery is located under the cargo floor near the spare tire, there are some compromises in utility. The rear seats don’t recline or slide, features that are available on the non-hybrid...