Nissan's midsize crossover comes with better than average interior room and solid but uninspired handling
Uninspired driving experience
Soul-sucking CVT means loud acceleration
Mediocre front seats
2015 Nissan Rogue
The second-generation Nissan Rogue went on sale in November of 2013 as a 2014 model sporting all-new sheetmetal, a new interior and the new Nissan/Renault CMF platform.
If you have trouble finding a Nissan Rogue in a parking lot, trust us, you're not alone. Aside from its pointy front fascia and familial grille bracketed by a pair of trapezoidal headlamp housings surrounded by an LED light band, there's not much to distinguish it from, say, a Chevy Equinox.
Inside, the story is a bit different. Our 2015 Rogue SL tester featured a nice-looking two-tone black and ivory-trimmed cabin trimmed in brushed aluminum and faux carbon fiber. The top-to-bottom re-engineering for 2014 means an extra 1.5 inches of width and 1.2 inches in height. Even the wheelbase was extended 0.6 of an inch.
Instrumentation is clear and easy to read, while the various buttons and knobs are all within easy reach of the driver. One issue we had to pick is the fact that the front seats could use more lateral support. In addition, the thick D-pillar obstructs the rear three-quarters view, although the large rear window helps rear visibility.
The back seat (the middle row on 3-row models) also received 2.6 more inches of legroom last year, with rear shoulder room up as well.
Standard features across the lineup also include the usual power amenities (windows, locks, mirrors) plus a tilt and telescoping steering column and air conditioning. Also standard is the NissanConnect infotainment system with mobile apps, electroluminescent gauges, a rear view camera, remote keyless entry and an ingenious "divide-n-hide" cargo system behind the second row seats.
Under the hood
Rogues buyers are offered with but one engine – a QR25DE 2.5-liter all-aluminum inline-4 that produces 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a maximum 175 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. It's mated to the only transmission available, a buzz-kill CVT.
Fuel economy is certainly decent for a vehicle this size. The EPA rates the AWD Rogue at just 25/32/28 city/highway/combined mpg, while FWD versions get a marginally better 26/33/28 city/highway/combined.
On the road
Although we less an hour of seat time in the Rogue, we were able to come away with a number of first impressions.
For one, it's fairly quiet on the road. Engine and wind noise are muted, while road and tire noise were also low for the class. The brakes were easy to modulate, although we didn't feel much of an initial bite to the pads. The ride also felt very secure.
On the other hand, there is a distinct lack of sportiness to the ride. While there's a nice weight to the steering system, very little in the way of feedback reaches the driver. And while acceleration from the four-banger is more than adequate, put your foot into it and the otherwise-staid CVT causes the engine to howl until, that is, you back off in order to keep your sanity.
2015 Nissan Rogue prices
2015 Nissan Rogue pricing starts out at $23,675 for a FWD model in base S trim. But the price can rise to around $35,000 for a fully-optioned and accessorized SL AWD model.
The Gun Metallic SL AWD tester we drove had a base price of $29,630. $1,990 for the Premium package (power panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, forward collision warning, blind spot warning, land departure warning and moving object detection), $190 for the retractable cargo plus an $885 destination charge, brought the MSRP to $32,695.
The Bottom Line
During our short time, we found there are a number of things to like about the latest Rogue. It has a quiet ride, a decent amount of interior room, a smooth ride and secure handling.
On the flip side, it's hardly what you would call a sporty performer and the CVT, while better than most, still allows the engine to make itself known – not in a very pleasant way – on hard acceleration.
On the whole, however, the latest Rogue represents a decent, if innocuous, value in the midsize crossover segment.