Nissan’s 2015 Rogue AWD compact crossover has become a popular seller for the company. So much so that it’s at full capacity at its Smyrna, TN plant and has to import more from its Renault plant in South Korea.
Rogue slots in below its big brother the midsize Murano wherein it shares a few of bro’s attributes at thousands less in price. It’s offered in FWD and AWD and in S, SV and SL trim levels, the latter of which was tested as the top-shelf version.
All models are powered by a 2.5L, 170-hp four-cylinder that generates 175 lb/ft of torque and EPA mileage estimates of 25 city, 32-highway mpg. No six-cylinder is offered. Power to the wheels flows through a CVT transmission with Sport mode. The arrangement produces some drone noise at highway speeds. It’s a complaint voiced by some current Rogue owners. But as a car salesman once told me, “turn up the radio and you won’t hear it.”
The combo produces spirited power (0-60 in 9 seconds) with two onboard, and somewhat lethargic with four adults, particularly when ascending hills. If you require towing for anything heavier than a small utility trailer, better consider the six-cylinder Murano as Rogue AWD carries a mere 1,500-pound tow rating. A turbo would be nice and would most likely kick performance up a notch.
For a small crossover, Rogue has decent handling with a steering feel that resembles a mid-size sedan. Tar strips and unimproved railroad crossings are nicely dampened and the vehicle parks easily thanks to a relatively tight 37.4-foot turning radius. The ride on 18-inch Dunlop tires is smooth albeit a bit firm.
For snow-covered roads, Rogue sports an 8.3-inch undercarriage clearance and an AWD lock feature that helps extricating out of deep snow. Hill Descent Control also comes with the AWD option, but it’s doubtful Rogue would see any serious off-road terrain.
Rogue’s highpoint it its luxurious perforated leather seats and elegant interior that excels most others in this price class. The dash and doors sport carbon fiber look plastic that adds to the interior’s classy look.
Standard on the SL and displayed on a 7-inch voice control LCD, is Around View, that is included when the rearview camera is activated in reverse gear. It shows a 360 degree bird’s eye view around the vehicle. Aside from spotting objects, pets or people, it actually helps parallel parking in that it shows how close the tires are to the curb, plus any vehicles in front and back. If I’m not mistaken, Nissan was the first to offer this nicety that is actually a necessity.
The 40/20/40 folding rear seats (a third row seat is optional on S and SV models) slide fore and aft nine inches and recline. They too are sofa soft after a mere 19-inch step-in.
Back in the versatile cargo area that measures 35 inches deep, 41.75 wide and 31 high, or, 66 inches deep with the second row folded, the area has multilevel shelving capability that Nissan says can be configured 18 ways. It is unique for a crossover and extremely useful.
As previously mentioned, Rogue’s price is attractive for considerable standard content. The SL base-priced at $29,630 but escalated to $32,505 after adding delivery ($885) the Premium Package ($1,990) containing a Panoramic sunroof, LED headlights with auto levelizer, Blind Spot/Lane Departure/Forward Collision warnings and Moving Object Detection.
Rogue also received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, four for frontal crash and five for side crash protection in government tests.