2014 Nissan Rogue SV AWD
The new 2014 Nissan Rogue is like a family room on wheels. Plop yourself down inside and you almost expect to find someone's socks on the floor or a TV remote in the seat cushions. The comfy interior combined with excellent fuel economy and a bargain price make the redesigned 2014 Nissan Rogue a strong rival to traditional favorites like the CR-V.
The Nissan's melted-looking exterior design doesn't make much of a style statement -- instead, it's the Rogue's inside story that impresses. The cabin is furnished with oversized chairs and cushy armrests. The seats are soft and comfortable and upholstered in a plush fabric that doesn't make you feel like a cheapskate for skipping leather. The back bench is raised significantly and is flat enough to seat three across. And, get this, carpoolers: Nissan has even wedged in a third row! Unfortunately, it's about as tiny as you'd expect -- after attempting to squeeze back there, Voelker called it "a joke." If you really need a third row, you're better off shopping the next size class up.
The Rogue's 2.5-liter four puts out 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. That horsepower figure ties with Subaru's as the lowest in the group. Combine a not-very-powerful engine with a CVT transmission, though, as Nissan does, and you get very good gas mileage -- the best in the group, in fact, at 25/32 mpg. What you don't get is particularly sprightly acceleration, although at least Nissan programs its CVT to emulate gear changes under hard acceleration. In most driving, its stepless torque manipulation creates the kind of engine droning and elastic throttle response that make CVTs such a bummer despite their undeniable efficiency. Buried on the lower left of the dash is a sport button, which struck us as a cruel bit of irony. There's not much sportiness to be had here, but as Floyd noted: "It handles and tracks well, with a heavy steering effort that I personally like."
The 2014 Nissan Rogue was the least expensive of all our SUVs, despite a heaping helping of equipment. Ours was the mid-level SV, which starts at $26,440 with all-wheel drive. This strikes us as the sweet spot in the Rogue lineup, provided you can live without leather, which requires moving up to the SL. The $1420 SV premium package added a host of items, including Nissan's excellent Around-View monitor (supplementing the standard backup camera), a blind-spot warning system, lane departure warning, a power liftgate, and navigation with a seven-inch touch screen. The latter isn't always responsive, though, and the small touch points and lack of physical radio preset buttons are annoying. Throw in a couple of minor items and the third-row seat, and the total reached $29,215, making the 2014 Nissan Rogue the only entrant to slip under the $30,000 barrier. Skip the third-row seat, and the price drops by nearly $1000. "Like a lot of Nissan's mainstream products, the 2014 Nissan Rogue hits enough high notes to make it a contender," said DeMatio. And its price makes it a bargain. But a powertrain that prizes fuel economy above all else kept it from being our winner.
2014 Nissan Rogue SV AWD
|MSRP (with destination)||$26,440|
|Price as Tested||$29,215|
|Engine||2.5-liter DOHC I-4|
|Horsepower (hp)||170 @ 6000 rpm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||175 @ 4400 rpm|
|Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined)||25/32/28 mpg|
|CHASSIS AND MEASUREMENTS|
|Front suspension||Strut-type, coil springs|
|Rear suspension||Multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes f/r||Vented discs|
|LxWxH||182.3 x 72.4 x 67.5 in|
|Track f/r||62.8/62.8 in|
|Curb weight||3545 lb|
|Cargo (behind second/first row)||9.4/32.0/70.0 cu ft|
|Legroom (first/second row)||43.0/37.9/31.4 in|
|Headroom (first/second row)||41.6/38.5/34.6 in|