By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
With 10 years and two generations under its belt, the Nissan Rogue has become one of the best-selling Nissans of all time. Not only did the Rogue outsell the popular Altima sedan by more than 58% with sales of 403,465 in 2017, it was the second bestselling SUV/crossover in the country — edged out by the Toyota RAV4 by only 4,129 vehicles.
With that kind of popularity Nissan must be doing several things right. After driving the latest iteration of the Rogue, we can confirm that they are. The Rogue’s appeal starts with the great looking design – inside and out, followed by an excellent assortment of the latest technologies, refined driving attributes and has some very comfortable seating, thanks to the Zero Gravity design of the front bucket seats.
For 2018, Nissan gave the Rogue an entry into the latest autonomous driving technology with its new ProPILOT Assist technology. This early sampling of self-driving technologies has mostly been a feature seen in some higher-end cars or special purpose for hire vehicles, and not something we’d expect to find on a moderately priced compact SUV. What’s even more impressive, is that it’s part of the Rogue’s Platinum Package option ($790) on the SL model which adds the ProPILOT Assist, 19-inch alloy wheels and an electronic parking brake.
The ProPILOT Assist provides assisted steering, braking and accelerating during single-lane highway driving. ProPILOT Assist is the foundation for the autonomous vehicles of the future, helping drivers stay centered in the lane, more easily through stop-and-go traffic, maintain a set vehicle speed and maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead. And, it is all done with a simple two-button operation.
ProPILOT works well, however you can’t really take your hands totally off the steering wheel and do something else. The internal controls reprimand you and insist that you keep your hands on the steering wheel, by flashing a red warning light at you from the center of the instrument panel. IF you ignore the warning, the system is deactivated. ProPILOT does keep the car centered in the lane, turning when the road turns. Plus, it works well in stop and go traffic.
The 2018 Rogue gets NissanConnect® as a standard feature that integrates the audio, navigation and communication system with your smartphone to enhance your driving experience. The system also includes Apple CarPlay and Android auto.
The Rogue comes in three trim levels: S, SV and SL in addition to the special Midnight Edition® of the SV. The SV and SL have an extensive level of standard features including a motion-activated lift gate, Intelligent Cruise Control, lane departure warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
A useful feature on all models is the passenger and cargo flexibility with its innovative EZ Flex Seating System™ that gives every seat, except for the driver’s seat, the ability to easily fold flat allowing for larger loads of cargo. Plus, there is the innovative Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System that allows for 18 adjustable variations between the cargo and occupant areas.
All 2018 Rogue models have a 170-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine attached to Nissan advanced Xtronic transmission. Although CVTs (continuously variable transmissions) are not our favorite, the Nisan system works better than most to eliminate some of the mushy feel that is common with the CVT. The Nissan system includes Sport Mode and Eco switches to adjust the powertrain to the driver and conditions. Front-wheel drive is standard for the Rogue and all-wheel drive, is available on all trim levels as a $1,350 option.
If there is a weak spot in the Rogue attributes it’s most likely the performance, which is about average or slightly below. However, that weakness is only in the eyes of the beholder or someone who is always in a hurry. If you are an average driver, the Rogue has fine acceleration — 0 to 60 mph takes 9.1 seconds. The ride and handling are nicely balanced with stable cornering and a very good ride quality.
The EPA rates the Rogue fuel economy slightly better than competitors at 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 combined for the AWD model. We averaged 27.9 mpg during a week of testing.
The 2018 Nissan Rogue base pricing ranges from $25,575, including the destination charge, for the FWD S and goes up to $33,505 for the AWD SL. Adding all the option packages and most accessories, can run the total price to about $38,000.
We think the Rogue is well worth a close look and spending some time behind the wheel. It has a broad selection of features, it’s comfortable and it’s good looking.