More features and a lot less noise make the Rogue even more pleasant.
– Greensboro, Georgia
The Nissan Rogue has long been a very sensible choice in the ultra-competitive compact crossover segment. It’s reasonably stylish, spacious, efficient, and affordable. It even offers an option for three rows of seating, though only seven percent of shoppers bother electing it. A refresh for 2017 doesn’t mess with anything that’s not broken, focusing instead on improving value-for-money and refinement.
More safety and convenience technologies are available, there’s more sound deadening throughout, and the 2017 Rogue wears new front and rear fascias, a new steering wheel, and some other interior style tweaks. There’s also a new hybrid powertrain, which you’ll read about on Motor1 later this month. For now, though, the standard 2017 Rogue’s main selling point is exactly the same as it was last year: it’s a perfectly fine choice for your family crossover.
- It’s noticeably quieter than before. Robin Moreo, Nissan Rogue product planning senior manager, says customer feedback indicated that buyers wanted a quieter crossover. So a litany of tweaks – a thicker rear window, thicker carpeting, absorptive materials in the front fenders, new door mirror insulation, etc. – was engineered to reduce wind and road noise by a claimed eight and nine percent, respectively. The 2017 Rogue is pleasantly hushed at all times, with few outside sounds making their way to the driver. I especially appreciate that the thrashy engine’s noises, including the whining induced by the CVT, have been calmed. To quantify that improvement, Nissan claims “mechanical noise” is down six percent.
- The refreshed look is modern, stylish, and a welcome update. New front and rear fascias, headlights, LED taillights, and wheels all do a lot to make the 2017 Rogue look newer and fresher than last year’s crossover. With its aggressive “V-motion” grille and striking, smoked-effect new taillights, I can ignore the fact that the Rogue’s bodysides are plain and its overall silhouette very generic. The new steering wheel, shifter, and dashboard design all look and feel great, too, though I have some gripes about the wheel’s practicality (see the cons section).
- While hardly a standout in terms of driver engagement, the Nissan Rogue is commendably easy to drive. Do I wish it had more low-end torque, a less spongy brake pedal, and tauter suspension damping? Sure, but none of those are deal-breakers for this type of car. With a linear throttle response and light steering, it’s easy to drive on back roads, highways, or in urban situations, with no bad habits that will put off an everyday shopper. I even saw 30 miles per gallon on the trip computer without really trying to hypermile (the EPA rating for this SV AWD is 28 mpg combined).
- Adding more technology in this class is always a smart move, and so Rogue adds a smattering of great new features. On the safety front, you can now get adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, and automatic high-beams. Blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, a handy feature for distracted urban drivers, is now standard on the mid-grade SV trim level. In terms of convenience, a kick-to-open power liftgate, remote start, a heated steering wheel, and heated mirrors all join the options list. That brings the Rogue’s tech offerings up to par with its key rivals.
- The new flat-bottom, D-shaped steering wheel (also found in the new Maxima) is cooler in idea than execution. I’m all for racy steering wheels on sporty cars, where the extra clearance for legs to slide between bucket-seat bolsters and the rim is necessary. In a daily-driver where you’ll regularly be doing lots of hand-over-hand maneuvers through the entire range of steering angle, it’s awkward to grab the flat bottom. Ingress is eased a little bit compared to a traditional wheel, yes, but this is a superfluous touch in a compact crossover.
- It’s still not my top pick in the class. The Honda CR-V is more spacious and more fuel efficient, the Mazda CX-5 far more satisfying to drive, the Kia Sportage and Jeep Cherokee have nicer interiors. This is less a reflection of the Rogue not being a good car, because it’s really very good, but rather a note that it doesn’t stand out to me from the very crowded, very competitive segment.
- Chevy Equinox
- Ford Escape
- Honda CR-V
- Hyundai Tucson
- Jeep Cherokee
- Kia Sportage
- Mazda CX-5
- Subaru Forester
- Toyota RAV4
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com