Vital Stats

Engine:
2.5L I4
Power:
170 HP / 175 LB-FT
Transmission:
CVT
0-60 Time:
8.9 Seconds (est.)
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,605 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
70.0 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
25 City / 32 HWY
Base Price:
$22,490
The compact crossover segment is crowded because it offers near-perfect transportation for small families and empty nesters alike. As more and more consumers discover the benefits of compact crossovers – riding tall in traffic, enjoying four-cylinder fuel economy and the confidence of all-weather traction – automakers are jumping into the game to meet the increasing demand. Today's choices, in no particular order, include the Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Mini Countryman, Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Equinox, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 and this Nissan Rogue. Nearly all start around $22,000 in base trim and work their way reasonably upwards with more appealing trim levels and options. If you spend much over $33,000 in this segment, you are a glutton for frosting.

The latest player from Nissan is its all-new second-generation Rogue, introduced late last year as a 2014 model. After a brief First Drive in October, we recently welcomed back the Rogue for a week-long review. The plan was to embed the compact crossover into a family routine during the holidays, where it would receive a hearty workout hauling everything from five adult passengers and their shopping bags to trays loaded with warm honey-glazed hams and pecan pies for a dinner party. The compact CUV handled all with poise, but everything wasn't as sweet as its edible cargo.
Purely by coincidence, the Brilliant Silver over Charcoal leather Rogue SL AWD that was dropped in our driveway was the very same vehicle Senior Editor Steve Ewing drove at the launch two months prior. We couldn't schedule that to happen, even if we tried.

2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue

As a recap, the base front-wheel-drive Rogue S starts at just $22,490 (plus $860 destination and handling) while the range-topping SL model with all-wheel drive spins the dial to $30,280 including destination fees. This particular vehicle arrived fitted with Nissan's SL Premium Package, an option grouping that includes power panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, Forward Collision Warning and a suite of Safety Shield Technologies, all of which totaled up to $1,990. Lastly, Nissan asks $125 for carpeted floor mats, which brought the grand total to $32,395. Notably absent was the optional third row, which allows the Rogue to hold seven belted passengers – very unusual for a compact crossover. Inexplicably, the third row is only offered on the S and SV trims, which explains why it was not fitted to our heavily optioned SL test vehicle.

There is little physical evidence to suggest that the Rogue is sporty in nature – it's an economy-oriented family hauler.

Common across all three trim levels is the automaker's familiar 2.5-liter QR25DE four-cylinder engine, which is tuned to deliver 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 175 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Also shared with both the front- and all-wheel drive models is Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Enhanced to improve drivability and efficiency, the updated CVT boasts a "Sport Mode" aimed at livening things up.

Other mechanical specifications include an independent suspension front and rear, with stabilizer bars at both ends of the chassis. There are disc brakes at all four corners and the electrically boosted steering features vehicle-speed variable assist. Base models arrive with 17-inch steel wheels, but the SL boasts 18-inch alloys, wearing 225/65R18 all-season tires. Nissan fits all Rogues with its Active Trace Control (an electronic system that grabs the inside brake to assist cornering), Active Engine Braking (utilizing automatic downshifts to assist the brakes) and Active Ride Control (an electronic system that applies the brakes and adjusts engine torque to reduce chassis pitch and roll). Despite the driving aids that improve handling, there is little physical evidence to suggest that the Rogue is sporty in nature – it's an economy-oriented family hauler.

2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue

The five-place interior of this particular test car is best described as monochromatic gray. The only real splash of color was found on the red seatbelt releases and on the dashboard instrumentation. Simulated carbon-fiber and aluminum trim help to break up some of the expansive dreariness, but the overall tone is somber (we suggest checking out the Almond leather, as it provides a much more visually appealing and lighter two-tone combination). As expected at the price point, most plastics are hard and the perforated leather doesn't feel like it ever covered the back of a living, grazing animal.

Most plastics are hard and the perforated leather doesn't feel like it ever covered the back of a living, grazing animal.

Without question, the Rogue's cabin is roomy. However, your author's six-foot, two-inch frame found little comfort in the driver's six-way power-adjustable seat, despite its NASA-inspired "zero-gravity" design. The bottom cushion doesn't elevate enough to support one's thighs, which can make the driving position very unpleasant. That frustration aside, leg and headroom were adequate in both front seats.

Passengers in the second row sit elevated, theater style, with average legroom. Children enjoy improved outward visibility from the raised seats and the vents at the rear of the center console that provide fresh air, but we did hear complaints about the inline cupholders on the fold-down center armrest (they prefer side-by-side). We sat back there, simply to see how much room an adult would find, but our knees pressed firmly into the soft backing of the front seats. Moving the driver's seat forward an inch or two, not necessarily uncomfortably, meant that second row was fine.

2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue2014 Nissan Rogue

Absent of the third row, the cargo space in the rear of the Rogue is very generous – one the largest in its segment. The second row splits and folds 40/60, and the seats drop to make a nearly flat floor. It takes a bit of acclimation, but Nissan's Divide-N-Hide cargo system provides more than a dozen adjustable variations between the cargo and occupant areas to keep things from sliding around and tucked away from peering eyes.

Total available storage, in terms of nooks and crannies, seems below standard for this segment.

Ergonomically, the Rogue's interior is rather challenged. Some of its competitors are moving to electronic shifters and electronically actuated parking brakes that clear up valuable cabin real estate. The Rogue retains a large, traditional shift lever stuck between the driver and front passenger and a foot-operated parking brake. Both are carried over from the preceding model. Even though there is a nice center console under the driver's right elbow, total available storage, in terms of nooks and crannies, seems below standard for this segment, which is surprising in an a new vehicle.

There were other interior gripes, too. Cabin illumination includes a strange mix of LED and incandescent lighting (at two different temperature colors), which appeared inconsistent at night. A cluster of secondary switchgear, including the frequently used trunk release, is hidden low and out of view on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. The audio dials both lack tactile feedback and oddly, the resistance of the turn signal stalk (moving up and down) is unusually heavy. On a positive note, the navigation system's seven-inch color touchscreen refreshed with impressive fluidity. The nav was also quick to respond and intuitive to use.

2014 Nissan Rogue

Unfortunately, the Rogue's biggest disappointment comes from under the hood. The trusty 2.5-liter four is not only showing its age (the first-generation QR25DE was introduced more than a decade ago), it's simply outgunned and overworked in a 3,605-pound vehicle. This is a problem only magnified with a full load of passengers and cargo on board.

The EPA rates the 2014 Rogue AWD at 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

The CVT only adds to the agony, as it sets the engine at a numbing and particularly annoying loud drone when the throttle is tended with authority. Pressing the Sport button holds the ratios longer and calls on more aggressive downshifts, but the CVT's simulated gear changes are artificially comical – nobody is fooled. After driving the competition, many with smoother engines and more competent torque converter automatic gearboxes, one has to wonder when Nissan will give the Rogue a worthwhile powertrain.

But there is an upside to the engine's racket and CVT's dull character – fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2014 Rogue AWD at 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. Our observed around-town fuel economy hovered in the low 20s and climbed into the low 30s on the highway during a 70-mph cruise. Those are strong numbers in light of how hard we pushed the 2.5-liter with a load, and these figures exceeded our expectations. The Nissan burns regular unleaded fuel too, unlike some of its turbocharged competitors, saving another handful of dimes each time the 14.5-gallon fuel tank is filled.

2014 Nissan Rogue

Dynamically, the rest of the Rogue comes across as merely average (you'll recall that "fine" was the common theme in our first drive). Handling is competent and stable, the steering has good weight and braking is plenty efficient. The ride is nice and little wind noise permeates the cabin. Over our week-long test, the Rogue never failed to bring everyone to the next destination, but nobody offered positive comments about cabin and appointments – especially from behind the steering wheel.

We found the Nissan to be decidedly mid-pack.

The crowded compact crossover segment understandably has a few duds that seem to be only playing for participation points, but there are also several overachievers who are capturing market share and building their brands. We found the Nissan to be decidedly mid-pack.

As an economy-oriented family hauler, the all-new 2014 Rogue delivers the goods. Nissan has carefully checked-off the segment's objective requirements of a roomy cabin, all-weather capability, solid fuel economy, interesting styling and innovative technology. But it has also dropped the ball in terms of ergonomics and powertrain refinement, and those are two very significant (if subjective) factors that would have us shopping elsewhere.


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  • 98 Comments
      Eta Carinae
      • 11 Months Ago
      No autoblog, I dont want a steroid alternative that will boost muscle tone by 700% -_-
      tornado542
      • 11 Months Ago
      I think its pretty impressive that the base model, at under $24k with all wheel drive, comes standard with LED DRL, backup camera, and bluetooth, and the divide and hide cargo system...
        Jesus!
        • 11 Months Ago
        @tornado542
        It really shouldn't be. We are being ripped off right and left by manufacturers. This is about all I will give Nissan.
      Jon Brookshire
      • 11 Months Ago
      Let me just say this....up until recently, when much better opportunities came around, regrettably, I worked at a Nissan supplier that makes the transfer case for this very vehicle, along with the Pathfinder. I say transfer case loosely, because it never disconnects, but it does "transfer" power from the CVT to the back wheels, so I suppose that term is fitting. Point of this story is, they barely paid above minimum wage, hired drug addicts who couldn't even become fry cooks, the turnover was insane, and therefore, nobody knew anything about production, nor cared about quality. Backlash spacing was constantly off, gears rarely meshed correctly, and numerous times, I saw the computerized final testing station fail parts, and the "manager" just went ahead and approved the failed part for shipment. What a mess!!! I know what you're thinking, that says a lot about me, and yes, you're right, I was rebuilding my life at the time, but that's another story. Because of the complete and total pieces of garbage that these transfer cases were, I think I have to question ALL of Nissan's vehicles. If this is the kind of quality that Nissan embodies, I want NOTHING to do with them. It's downright scary.
      rdaex1
      • 11 Months Ago
      POS QR25DE coupled with a CVT... I think everyone should pass.
      Felipe Politano
      • 11 Months Ago
      They should've gone for the Juke's 1.6 turbo engine...
        RG1527
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Felipe Politano
        the mpg hit would bit big but yeah that motor is great (I have an AWD Juke SL) I'm surprised that nissan isnt working on a larger displacement version of the 1.6 DIG Turbo
      RGT881
      • 11 Months Ago
      How funny. AutoCar just posted the review of Rogue's sister car the Qashqai. Latter is a horrid name, why not call both Rogue and move on with life. Great reviews though on both sides of the Atlantic.
        Austin
        • 11 Months Ago
        @RGT881
        The Qashqai may be similar, but the European market "X-Trail" is actually identical to the Rogue. As to why they need both, I don't know.
      rbnhd1144
      • 11 Months Ago
      I Love Nissans, I just hate CVT's...
      Tourian
      • 11 Months Ago
      Holy crap. A Mitsubishi was actually mentioned as a segment competitor for a mainstream vehicle. I like the way the front of the Rogue looks, and from the commercial I figured it to have a sporty nature and perhaps a turbo engine. Nissan seems to have dropped the ball here. I think I would have not picked the "jumping on trains" commercial to debut the car if it is this lacking in sporting abilities.
      MikeInNC
      • 11 Months Ago
      Whatever the performance case, this is a huge aesthetic improvement over the previous generation which I thought was too round and without any design drama whatsoever.
      genepoole
      • 11 Months Ago
      i'm curious about your comments on the RAV4 which feels similarly underpowered, has less nooks and crannies (no sunglass holder), has much cheaper looking interior, and feels like a tin can when you drive it? at least the Rogue SL gives the appearance of looking somewhat premium with the almond beige interior.
        Mike Ockizard
        • 10 Months Ago
        @genepoole
        Agreed. It's odd that the Rogue got hit for "cheap interior" when it is by far the nicest in its class. The reviewer may be used to Lexus and Mercedes, but most us are not. Reviews should be based on competitive vehicles and take price into account.
        Michael Harley
        • 11 Months Ago
        @genepoole
        I don't have a lot of experience in the RAV4, but I won't be impressed if it has the same qualities. The Rogue does look premium, in appearance. - Mike
          genepoole
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Michael Harley
          thanks for replying to my comment mike!! it would be interesting to hear what you say in a direct ride and feature comparison between the rogue and its competitors the rav4, the crv, and the mazda cx5. i have driven them all extensively.
      DR Kirby
      • 1 Month Ago

      I just replaced a CVT in a 2008 Rogue that I bought new. Very disappointed that Nissan wouldn't admit there is a problem with their CVTs even after the implemented a "fix" in 2009 and extended the warranty. Mine crapped out just after the extended warranty. Coincidence??? I'll never - EVER - buy a Nissan product again.

      Mike Ockizard
      • 10 Months Ago
      As someone who owns a 2014 Rogue, I would have to say that I disagree pretty strongly with this review. Almost every professional review I have read of the vehicle suggest it is near the top of its segment. Not sure why autoblog took the 180 here. I had never liked the outgoing model Rogue, but they really turned it around. Prior to purchasing my Rogue, this was the only review I read that actually gave me pause, but in the end I couldn't be happier with my purchase. Sure some of the points the reviewer made have merit, i.e. the lack of front storage space, the slightly noisy cvt, and the underpowered engine (it's a small CUV not a sportscar), but others are dead wrong. I have driven many different vehicles in my life, but I have never owned a vehicle with a cabin as attractive and comfortable as this Rogue. Maybe it's because I'm not used to Bentley's, but everything about this interior oozes quality. The seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in, so perhaps the reviewer has odd dimensions? I have not read another review that DOESN'T rave about the seating comfort. The surfaces such as armrests, door panels, and dash have very good quality, soft touch materials and overall I see very good fit and finish for this price point. Also, the tech features such as around view cameras, navigation, bluetooth phone synching/email and text reading, blind spot and lane departure warnings, moving object detection, variable AWD, and detailed, attractive driver information center are just really wow features for this price vehicle. Not to mention it looks MUCH better than the competition and comes with LED running lights and great looking 18" wheels. Overall, I think the vehicle rides smooth and handles very well, the AWD is great, the features are outstanding, the cabin is incredibly comfortable, quiet, and spacious, and the configurable cargo storage and folding seats in rear are a huge plus. Sure the transmission could be a tad quieter and the engine a bit peppier, but to get a fully loaded vehicle with this many options for around $28,000? You can't beat it. Perhaps the reviewer was forgetting this is a budget friendly vehicle, but after test driving all its peers (RAV4, CRV, Escape, CX-5 etc), the Rogue wins hands down in my book. Sure the CX-5 drives better, and the CRV may be more reliable, but as a total package there is no question. I realize everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to anyone who might be interested in a 2014 Rogue, I would say go test drive one. This reviewer made a point to ignore all the positive features of this vehicle (the outstanding tech package, great safety features, and innovative storage possibilities), while turning other universally praised positives into negatives (the interior quality and seat comfort) while also making negative points out of nothing (valuable real estate where the parking brake goes?) Seriously, I would like to know what he stores there...
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