Cars

Nissan Rogue Buying Guide: Dealmakers & Dealbreakers

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The Nissan Rogue is one of the larger compact crossovers, and makes the most of its size with three rows of available seating. (Source: Nissan)

The Nissan Rogue is one of the larger offerings in the compact SUV/crossover market. That pays dividends with plenty of cargo space and the claim as the only option in this segment to offer three-row seating. The Rogue also delivers great fuel economy and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ thanks to its long list of high-tech safety gear. Read on to see if the Rogue is the crossover for you, or if there are better options in this very competitive market segment.


2017 Nissan Rogue Fast Facts

Pricing: $23,820-$31,310
Seating: 5-passenger standard (available 7-passenger)

Dealmakers

• Sharp, upscale interior
• Only three-row compact crossover
• Large cargo area
• Innovative cargo solutions
• Good fuel economy
• Standard backup camera
• Top Safety Pick+
• Smooth ride
• Rogue Hybrid Option

Dealbreakers

• Awkward seating position
• Best safety features exclusive to top trim
• Poor rearward visibility
• Feels underpowered at times
• Engine loud under acceleration
• Bland ride


Dealmakers: Nissan Rogue’s Top Lifestyle Features

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The Rogue offers plenty of features for commuters and growing families.(Source: Nissan)

The Rogue offers some unique features for the compact SUV market. It has the most available seating capacity in the segment, among the most cargo space, and easy-to-use infotainment. The whole package is wrapped in a handsome design that makes it one of the more attractive options among compact SUVs– literally.

Dealmaker: Sharp, Upscale Interior

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The Rogue features a well-laid out interior, and is available with a striking two-tone leather getup. (Source: Nissan)

Among compact crossovers, the Rogue has a cabin that is quite impressive. From the sensible layout to the refined fit-and-finish, the Rogue really delivers a great looking cabin. Soft touch materials are met with plenty of head-and-legroom, cupholders, cubbies and more. As a daily driver, the cabin of the Rogue makes for a very welcome place to navigate the commute.

Dealmaker: Only Three-Row Compact Crossover

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The Rogue is the only compact SUV available with three rows of seating. (Source: Nissan)

Among compact SUVs, the Rogue is the only one currently offered with three rows of seating. The 50/50 split fold rear bench brings cargo space from 5 up to seven. These seats don’t offer a ton of leg or headroom. The third row is are not extremely spacious and definitely not for adults, but if you need to move around a bunch of kids, this could be the dealmaker between having to take one car or two.

Dealmaker: Innovative Cargo Solutions

The Nissan Rogue has 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 70 cubic feet of cargo space with all rear seats folded. Impressively, that’s more than the larger Nissan Murano, but it’s not just the space– it’s how it manages that cargo space. For one, there are multiple variations of the folding seats for space. There’s also the Divide-N-Hide cargo area, which allows you to split up the cargo area for different types of gear. It also allows you to create a hard shelving surface, making for plenty of cargo solutions.

Dealmaker: Zero-G Seats

Nissan makes a big deal about its Zero Gravity Seats. And, no, before you ask, these seats did not come out of the Space Shuttle. Rather, Nissan engineers designed seats that are inspired by the weightlessness of space, and how your back takes a neutral position in those Zero-G conditions. The seats incorporate 14 different pressure points and are supposed to provide more blood flow to your legs and leave you feeling more refreshed after a long ride. All we can say is that the seats are darn comfortable!

Dealmaker: Easy Fill Alert System

Not everyone carries a tire pressure gauge with them when they drive. But with the Easy Fill Alert, you don’t need one. If a tire is getting low, the standard tire pressure monitor lets you know which tire(s) need air. Simply head to a service station with an air machine, and as you start to fill up that tire, the Rogue flashes its hazard lights to let you know air is flowing. When the horn chirps, the tire is full and you’re ready to get back on the road.

Dealmaker: Top Safety Pick+

The Nissan Rogue is available with a whole host of standard and available safety features. The available safety gear includes tech features such as forward collision prevention, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor and more. These conspire to help the Rogue earn a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The “+” marks the heightened crash prevention requirements that the Rogue delivers on.


Dealbreakers: Nissan Rogue’s Worst Lifestyle Features

While the Rogue offers some great attributes, it also has some setbacks for perspective buyers. Some things come down to design choices, like the design of the seat, or how the design impacts visibility. Additionally, some crucial features are exclusive to the top trims of the Rogue.

Dealbreaker: Awkward seating position

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Nissan goes for quantity over quality when it comes to its seating. (Source: Nissan)

Despite the Zero Gravity seats, the front seats of the Rogue are actually a bit difficult to get in an ideal position. This is especially true for taller drivers, and it means that all the efforts Nissan put into the Zero G seats are marginalized by this shortcoming in seating position. When you first sit in the seats, you feel the great softness, but when you struggle for an ideal seating position, it can be a headache over longer drives.

Dealbreaker: Best Safety Features Exclusive to Top Trim

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The Rogue offers plenty of safety features– you just have to pay for them. (Source: Nissan)

The Rogue is available with truly terrific and helpful, high-tech safety features like the aforementioned forward collision prevention, blind spot monitoring, and others. But there’s a catch– you have to go to the uprated trims to get your hands on those features. The mid-range SV adds blind-spot warning and rear cross traffic warning, but for features like forward collision warning and avoidance, you need to go for the range topping SL trim even for the privilege to select that feature as an option. If it’s optional on the top tier SL, why can’t it be optional on any other trim?

Dealbreaker: Poor Rearward Visibility

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The large rear pillar impacts rearward visibility. (Source: Nissan)

From an engineering standpoint, to create a vehicle like the Rogue, with three rows of seating on a manageable footprint. With all that, something has to give, and in one case, it was rearward visibility. The large D-pillar (rear pillar) is quite quite and obstructs view. There are features to combat that, but as we mentioned, those features are not on the base model.


Dealmaker: Unique Standard and Optional Features

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A sharp leather interior is one of the many options on the Rogue. (Source: Nissan)

The Rogue comes in at a steep base price, and it only goes ip from there. But there are standard features like Bluetooth, Easy Fill Tire Alert, and the plentiful cargo space. Move up from there, and you get access to features like the safety gear, hybrid powertrain, and three row seating.

Trims Offered

S: (MSRP: $23,820)
• 17-inch steel wheels w/ wheel covers
• Easy Fill Tire Alert
• USB connectivity
• Bluetooth hands-free connectivity
• NissanConnect w/ Mobile Apps

SV: (MSRP $25,240, includes everything from S, plus)
• 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels
• Heated front seats
• Dual-zone automatic temperature control
• Remote engine start
• Blind spot warning

SL: (MSRP $29,960, includes everything from SV, plus)
• 18-inch wheels
• 360-degree backup camera
• Siri EyesFree
• Bose premium audio system
• Front fog lights

Hybrid SV: (MSRP $29,960, includes everything from SV, plus)
• Hybrid drivetrain
Hybrid SL: (MSRP $29,960, includes everything from SL, plus)
• Hybrid drivetrain


Performance: Nothing Wrong, But Nothing to Praise

The Nissan Rogue offers a lot, including an available third row, and optional hybrid trims. And the overall driving experience of the Rogue is inoffensive, but it’s not much more than that. We’ll break into what that means- but as long as you’re not looking for an exciting driving experience, the Rogue will not disappoint.

Handling: Bland Results

The handing of the Rogue has been described as “bland,” the steering as “light,” and the brakes (of the Hybrid model) as “numb.” But as U.S. News & World Report states, “The Rogue’s steering and suspension is set to provide a comfortable, composed ride, which it does well.”

Drivetrain: Adequate, Not Exciting

The base engine in the Nissan Rogue is a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 170 horsepower. It is put to the front wheels or available all-wheel drive through a continuously variable transmission or CVT. According Consumer Reports, “The CVT is not overly intrusive unless you tromp on the gas pedal.” Generally speaking, that’s about as high as the praise will get for the Rogue’s acceleration. “The engine has adequate low-end torque right off the line,” reads an Edmunds review, “but its rate of acceleration slows quickly. We measured a 0-60 mph time of 9.3 seconds, relatively slow for a vehicle in this class.

Performance Specs

• Engine #1: 2.5-liter I4
• Output: 170 horsepower / 175 lb-ft of torque
• Transmission: CVT
• Drivetrain: FWD/AWD
• Towing: 1,000 lbs.
• Fuel economy, FWD: 26/33/29 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy, AWD: 25/32/27 (city/highway/combined)

• Engine #2: 2.5-liter I4
• Output: 176 horsepower
• Transmission: CVT
• Drivetrain: FWD/AWD
• Towing: N/A lbs.
• Fuel economy, FWD: 33/35/34 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy, AWD: 31/34/33 (city/highway/combined)


Dealmaker: Top Safety Pick+

There are two major safety organizations that test road cars and publish scores. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA scores vehicles out of five stars, while the IIHS scores on a scale of Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, and Good. Additionally, the IIHS offers “Top Safety Pick” recommendations, as well as “Top Safety Pick +” for vehicles with advanced crash avoidance and mitigation features. The above video is of the pre-facelift (but structurally similar) 2014 Nissan Rogue.

The IIHS also affixes a crash avoidance technology rating for vehicles. Top Safety Pick+ vehicles have “Superior” crash avoidance ratings, mid-range scores are “Advanced,” and the minimum crash prevention tech is considered “Basic.” If a vehicle is not a Top Safety Pick+, we’ll include any subsequent crash prevention technology.

Crash Test Safety: Mid-Pack

The Nissan Rogue earns a 4 Star overall crash test rating from NHTSA, putting it in the middle of the pack for the safest vehicles from a crash test standpoint.

Crossover NHTSA Overall Crash Results
Toyota RAV4 5 Star
Subaru Forester 5 Star
Ford Escape 5 Star
Hyundai Tucson 5 Star
Kia Sportage 5 Star
Nissan Rogue 4 Star
Jeep Cherokee 4 Star
Honda CR-V N/A
Mazda CX-5 N/A
’18 Chevrolet Equinox N/A
’18 GMC Terrain N/A

The RAV4, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage make up the lead pack as 5 Star crash-test vehicles. Right behind that lead pack is the Nissan Rogue and Jeep Cherokee as 4 Star crash test vehicles. The Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, and 2018 GMC Terrain are all so new that they have not been tested by NHTSA. When these vehicles have been tested, we will update our safety tables accordingly.

IIHS Test Results

Crossover IIHS Results/Awards
Toyota RAV4 Top Safety Pick+
Nissan Rogue Top Safety Pick+
Subaru Forester Top Safety Pick+
Hyundai Tucson Top Safety Pick (Superior)
Kia Sportage Top Safety Pick (Superior)
Jeep Cherokee None (Superior)
Ford Escape None (Basic)
Honda CR-V N/A
Mazda CX-5 N/A
’18 Chevrolet Equinox N/A
’18 GMC Terrain N/A

The Nissan Rogue is joined by the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester as the only vehicles that earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. The Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage don’t earn the “+,” but are still Top Safety Pick vehicles, and both have “Superior”-level crash avoidance technology. The Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, and 2018 GMC Terrain are all so new that they have not been tested by NHTSA. When these vehicles have been tested, we will update our safety tables accordingly.

The Rogue comes with a full barrage of front and side impact airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Control, LATCH child seat anchoring system, tire pressure monitoring system, and a backup camera.

Safety Tech: Superior Tech on Tap

The Rogue is available with forward collision warning and avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and moving object detection. These comprehensive safety features help the Rogue earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Reliability: About Average

The Nissan Rogue earns three out of five bubbles, or “About Average,” in J.D. Power Predicted Reliability Scores. This score is given if Vehicle Dependability Studies are not available for that vehicle.


Tiebreakers: Comparing the Rogue to the Competition

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The Toyota RAV4 blends on-road manners with intuitive infotainment and a spacious rear seat. (Source: Toyota

The Rogue offers a lot for the price, and is one of the few compact SUVs available with a third row or hybrid powertrain, and has among the most cargo space in the segment. But how does it stack up to the competition? Check it out below:

Ford Escape (MSRP $23,750-$31,000)

The Escape is one of the performance-oriented and upscale options. It has sharp handling, strong turbocharged engines, and an upscale cabin. It also has great SYNC3 infotainment technology. But its cabin lacks the storage options.

Ford Escape vs Nissan Rogue:
• Tight handling and strong engines (Rogue handling somewhat numb)
• Impressive SYNC3 infotainment (Slightly better than Nissan infotainment)
• Strong fuel economy on certain engines (Rogue still has hybrid)

Learn more about the Ford Escape here.

Jeep Cherokee (MSRP $23,595-$37,695)

The Cherokee is the only compact SUV that offers true off-road capabilities, and its available V6 is strong (though the base I4 is underwhelming). The Cherokee also has impressive cabin quality, and some of the best infotainment in the segment, in the form of Uconnect.

Jeep Cherokee vs Nissan Rogue:
• High-quality cabin
• Outstanding infotainment (Nissan infotainment good, but not as good as Uconnect)
• Potent V6 and impressive Off-Road capability (Rogue can’t go where Trailhawk can)

Learn more about the Jeep Cherokee here.

Subaru Forester (MSRP $22,595-$34,295)

The Forester is one of the most affordable options in the compact SUV segment. And you get a lot for that low starting price. It has standard all-wheel drive, some of the most cargo space and passenger space in the class, and outstanding visibility. You can also get the fantastic EyeSight safety technology system.

Subaru Forester vs Nissan Rogue:
• Low starting price (Rogue mid-range pricing-wise)
• Large, upright cargo area (Rogue has plenty of cargo space)
• Standard all-wheel drive (Subaru only to offer standard AWD)

Learn more about the Subaru Forester here.

Toyota RAV4 (MSRP $24,910-$36,150)

The RAV4 has a good reputation for reliability, easy-to-use infotainment, and is even available as a hybrid mode. The RAV4 also has plenty of rear seat space, making it a great option for carpooling.

Toyota RAV4 vs Nissan Rogue:
• Standard high-tech safety gear (need to shell out for safety tech)
• RAV4 Hybrid model (Rivals Rogue Hybrid)
• Surprisingly spacious rear seats (Rivals Rogue)

Learn more about the Toyota RAV4 here.


Should I Buy a Nissan Rogue?

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From the available third row to the Hybrid model, there are lots of reasons to consider the Rogue. (Source: Nissan)

The Rogue is one of more than ten options on the compact SUV market. It offers some unique features, but is also joined by others that also offer some unique features, or excel in certain areas. Here’s the bottom line…

So Which to Buy?

• If you love upscale cabins: Escape, Cherokee

• If you actually enjoy fun driving: Escape, CX-5

• If you require cargo space: Forester, Rogue

• If you want second row cabin space: RAV4, Rogue

• If you want the latest safety and infotainment tech: Escape, Cherokee

• If you want to go off road: Cherokee, Forester

• • If you want the best fuel economy: RAV4 Hybrid, Rogue Hybrid

• If you’re on a tight budget: Forester

Dealmakers vs. Dealbreakers Final Tally

Dealmaker: Sharp, upscale interior
Dealmaker: Only three-row compact crossover
Dealmaker: Large cargo area
Dealmaker: Innovative cargo solutions
Dealmaker: Good fuel economy
Dealmaker: Standard backup camera
Dealmaker: Top Safety Pick+
Dealmaker: Smooth ride
Dealmaker: Rogue Hybrid Option

Dealbreaker: Awkward seating position
Dealbreaker: Best safety features exclusive to top trim
Dealbreaker: Poor rearward visibility
Dealbreaker: Feels underpowered at times
Dealbreaker: Engine loud under acceleration
Dealbreaker: Bland ride

Final Tally: +3
Market Average: TBD

The Nissan Rogue truly provides a lot for a compact SUV. It has some of the most cargo space in the segment, is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, is one of the few options available as a hybrid, and the only optional available with a third row. But minus the safety stuff, the Rogue feels like a “quantity-over-quality” vehicle, with the emphasis on hitting certain cargo and capacity figures, rather than going for the merits of refinement. The engine doesn’t inspire and neither does the ride quality, but if you need a compact SUV for the space and care not for ride and seating quality, the Nissan Rogue is your utility-focused option.

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