Compact, comfortable, classic

BY Danny Geraghty . Feb 24 04:00 am

Nissan has tweaked the Rogue for its mid-cycle refresh with an assortment of minor changes that might appear subtle individually, but all together add up to a significant improvement compared to last year’s model.

Canadian consumers just love their compact crossovers; it’s one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry. This current-generation Rogue was introduced in 2014 and has enjoyed three straight years of sales growth. It’s Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in Canada.

The updated exterior styling may go unnoticed to the untrained eye starting with a different front fascia including integrated fog lights, Nissan’s signature “V-Motion” grille and revised headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights — the Rogue’s most distinguishable feature, in my opinion.

In the rear, a new bumper and revised LED boomerang-shaped taillights have been added, while new chrome side-door mouldings complete the freshened appearance.

The tester was an SL Platinum model that features new 19-inch alloy wheels. I would have liked to see Nissan use LED rear turn signals and ditch the archaic incandescent bulbs that have been exhibiting a zombie-like persistence in the industry. It’s time to do away with them for good.

Interior updates have really improved the premium feel of the Rogue, starting with an amazing flat-bottomed leather steering wheel. There is a new leather-booted shifter, a redesigned centre console, new cloth seat fabric and new interior finishings. Compared to the 2016 model I drove last year, I really found the improvements significant, in particular the steering wheel and console. These are two items the driver interacts with the most over the course of a drive, so getting them right is critical.

The Rogue is available in a three-row design, but you’ll sacrifice cargo space in that configuration. I found the two-row tester’s interior space more than accommodating for my three toddlers. Granted, we’ve moved out of the baby-seat phase. Had I needed to put a couple of booster seats back there, it would have been tight.

The SL Platinum’s leather seating surfaces are simply wonderful. I’m the previous owner of an Infiniti FX35, which I had purchased new. The Rogue’s interior quality, comfort and new car aroma was so similar that it felt like I was back in my luxurious Infiniti once again.

I liked Nissan’s infotainment system, which features a seven-inch touchscreen display and available smartphone integration features, including navigation, NissanConnect, voice recognition, SiriusXM capability and mobile apps. Another display between the gauges is used to control various vehicle functions but, curiously, no digital speedometer was available — the only feature I’d expect to be of much use there. Instead, Nissan chose to put a compass, tire pressure monitor, duplicate radio information and a vehicle settings menu.

For 2017, Nissan has added a hybrid powertrain to the Rogue. With this setup the 2.0-litre gasoline engine is rated at 141 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque and the electric motor is rated at 40 hp, with net output of 176 hp. The system also includes an idle start/stop system and an intelligent regenerative braking system. Unfortunately, it isn’t offered in Canada.

The standard 170-hp, 2.5L four-cylinder engine hasn’t changed much since 2008. It’s no screamer, but it propels the Rogue to highways speeds quick enough for my liking. It was similarly adequate for pushing through unplowed roads in my local area during a snowstorm with the traction control turned off. Even the CVT automatic transmission did a remarkably god job and executed my commands smoothly without hesitation. I was able to average 10.1L/100km, which is sedan-level fuel economy in this crossover.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue comes in three models—S, SV and SL, with all-wheel drive being standard only on SL models. Starting prices are $25,248 for the S, $27,648 for the SV and $36,098 for the SL Platinum. If you need all-wheel-drive model with a few options, the SV with the moonroof and technology package will put you up around $35,000—only about one thousand less than the leather-equipped SL Platinum. I highly recommend getting that leather, because it transforms the vehicle and adds enough luxury to make you think you’re driving an Infiniti.

The 2017 Rogue is much improved and well worth a serious look for anyone in the market for a compact crossover/SUV. With updated looks and added features, it will continue to stay fresh for several years.

— LC Media

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