2017 Nissan Rogue
2017 Nissan Rogue

Test Drive: 2017 Nissan Rogue

New Nissan Rogue is a good sequel, but is it great?

When the Nissan Rogue first came out, it was a crossover that quickly gained traction in the Canadian market, with my family being one of those who decided to purchase a first-year model.

While we mostly enjoyed our time in the Rogue, there were issues that made us decide to move on to another vehicle when the lease was up.

I hadn’t really given the Rogue much thought until getting behind the wheel of the 2017 model, a second generation of the CUV that has received some mid-life upgrades.

The new look is nice, but the thing I found annoying all those years ago still nagged me in this Rogue. We will get to that in a moment.

The Rogue is an affordable crossover — Nissan’s top selling vehicle in Canada — that is offered in three trims, with a starting price of just over $25,000 for the S trim. The tester, which is the top of the line SL AWD, tops $38,000 after options and fees are added in.

The Rogue we drove had two small extras, which included a $135 charge for the metallic/pearl paint and $400 for the Platinum Package. That adds intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, homelink universal transceiver and a four-way power passenger seat.

All models get the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an output of 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel efficiency in the SL with AWD is rated at 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.4 L/100 km on the highway. My average came out to a much higher and disappointing 12.6 L/100 km.

Now, here’s where things go slightly awry for me.

The transmission in the Rogue is an Xtronic continuously variable transmission, with sport mode.

The CVT in the previous generation Rogue was the reason we walked away from the CUV back then.

While the new CVT is better, I still found it to be a less than pleasant experience behind the wheel. Granted, it was marginally better in Sport mode, but that defeats the fuel-efficient status of a CVT. (And I rarely touched sport mode despite my high fuel use)

As mentioned earlier, the 2017 edition received some styling upgrades.

The second generation’s look was already well ahead of the first Rogue, but the tweaks made for this year’s model give it a little more substance.

There’s a new front fascia (with available integrated fog lights), a new bumper and Nissan’s V-Motion grille. There’s also a new headlight treatment with LED daytime running lights.

The back end also gets a new tail light assembly and bumper, and SL Premium models, like our tester, get 19-inch alloy wheels.

Nissan has done a good job making the Rogue an attractive model on the outside, but the inside is also a welcoming environment, at least when fully loaded like in the SL model.

Our tester came with the Platinum Reserve Interior, which features a two-tone treatment that definitely gives the Rogue an upscale feel to it. The leather accent colour doesn’t just cover the seats, but also the centre arm rest, door panels and in the dashboard panel in front of the passenger seat.

And the flat-bottomed steering wheel would have you believe you are driving a sporty crossover, but, well the Rogue doesn’t quite live up to that word.

But hey those zero gravity seats are quite comfortable, even if I didn’t quite feel weightless. Time to hit the gym more, I guess.

Rear occupants will not feel claustrophobic, with ample legroom and a cabin bathed in light thanks to the panoramic sunroof.

And all occupants get to enjoy the sweet sounds of the Bose audio system, which has nine speakers, including two woofers.

The 5-inch infotainment screen is a tad on the small side, but it was still very easy to see and understand the navigation system and other functions.

The system features streaming audio via Bluetooth, and satellite radio is standard across all Rogue trims.

Despite the fact that I still am not a fan of the CVT, overall the Rogue was a solid drive in the city and on the highway. And the cabin is vastly quieter than I remember.

However, as I recall from when we owned a Rogue, rearward visibility remains a bit of an issue.

While the Rogue is known as a five-seat crossover, there is available third row, which turns this into a seven-seater – although it appears that is only offered on the SV trim.

The comfortable interior, nice exterior design and a good amount of cargo space at an affordable price help explain why the Rogue is a popular model in Canada.

It will soon fact some internal competition for sales, however, with Nissan’s introduction of the Qashqai to Canada.

So let’s see if it can remain Nissan’s best-selling model.

2017 Rogue SL AWD
Price as tested: $38,028.00
Freight: $1,795.00
Configuration: front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.5-litre four cylinder / Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission
Power/torque: 170 horsepower/ 175 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Regular (55 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.6 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 12.6 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Rav4, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage

Related links:
Nissan Canada
Globe Drive

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