2014 Rogue SL: Or the Case of the CUV gone upscale–inexpensively

23 Sep 2014 | 1,307 views | No Comment
     By Don Hammonds  Nissan's ubiquitous Rogue has always been a smile inducer for me.    It's cute, economical, zippy, practical, and I always thought it was way better looking than most of the competition.    But since the Rogue's introduction, most of the competition has improved on all those counts, making comparison shopping a dicey proposition for last year's model.  In that time period, the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and many others have hit the upscale button. Well, no worries.  Nissan's Rogue has now not only hit the upscale button, it has punched it with a vengeance.  The new model is suave, sophisticated looking, and with the right set of wheels among the many offered by Nissan, along with the right, preferably dark color, this new Rogue will take you to the country club and back. And will do it looking one heck of a lot more classy, elegant and refined than many other CUVs costing a lot more money. What did the trick?  More rugged, curvy and sensual looking flanks, for one thing.  That nice little kickup under the rear side windows helped a lot too. And the cool, chrome accented wrap around taillights  played a big part as well.  There's a reason, however for all these changes.  Nissan's clearly going for a family resemblance with all of its crossover models,.Overall, in a few months, you will see  that the all new Rogue has a very  strong resemblance with the all-new Nissan Murano,  due to bow shortly in showrooms. Our tester was powered by a 170 horsepower., 2.5 liter four cylinder, backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission with sport mode switch and all wheel drive.  Fuel mileage ratings are 25 city, 32 highway and 28 combined.  You save I$2,000 in fuel costs over five years with the Rogue, compared to other new products. Annual fuel costs are $1,900, and based on 15,000 miles of driving annually for each of five years, and with gasoline costing $3.50 a gallon.  Standard equipment includes six way power seat, EZ Flex Seating system, 60/40 sliding  second row, 40-20-40 folding and reclining second row seating, leather seating, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Nissan Connect with Navigation, a seven inch color touch screen, Sirius traffic link, Sirius XM Travel Link, a nine speaker Bose system, streaming audio via Bluetooth, Bluetooth hands free phone system, advanced Drive Assist Display, all power accessories including power steering, brakes, windows and mirrors, and door locks,  LED daytime running lights Nissan Intelligent Key with push button start,  Divide-N-Hide cargo system,  anti lock brakes, electronic Brake Force Distribution, traction control system, hill start assist and descent control, and countless other items.  Base price was $29,630, and options including an SL Premium Package that includes panoramic moonroof, auto levelizer, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, active trace control, active engine braking, and Active Ride Control brought the price to  $32,615. The vastly upgraded interior was a special treat, with a new dashboard that, equipped with soft touch materials and an attractively displayed selection of gauges and controls. Nissan put two toned color schemes, a flowing dash theme, and nicely melded trim lines to good use.  The aluminum trim is tasteful and restrained, and the whole impact looks quite a bit like the top end Maxima sedan  model to me. Among the big changes also is more cubic feet for cargo room--much more room.  Last year it was a total of  59.7 cubic feet of cargo space; this year it is an even 70 cubic feet of cargo space. Also you can get a third row seat now in the Rogue, a rarity in its particular price and size class, especially since Toyota dropped its third row feature on the RAV4.     The Rogue is a quiet, luxurious feeling car on the road, but surprisingly, the Rogue feels less sporty than the competition, due partly to the middling acceleration coming from its only engine,  the 2.5 liter four.  That may pose a problem for some potential customers. We hasten to add that it didn't bother us; we're fine with the Rogue as is.     The Rogue has certainly stepped up its game, and it's surely deserving of a spot on your CUV shopping list.

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