2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: Nice try, can’t match SUV stars

| | , , ,

The Nissan Rogue is a decade old. It arrived in late 2007 as a 2008 model and joined the quickly expanding crossover SUV segment. It was oddly named because it didn’t offer much to differentiate itself from well-established competitors.

The 2017 Rogue continues the improvement in recent years of the five or sevenn-passenger crossover. It has strong craftsmanship, ample interior space, lots of trim options and it’s fairly priced.

The 2017 Nissan Rogue is improved in several areas including a hybrid trim.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue is upgraded  in many ways including a hybrid trim. Image © James Raia, 2017

But with the car-buying public further enamored with the versatility of SUVs and sales of many top brands improving, where does the Rogue fit in? Where is its market share versus the segment’s best — the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5?

Nissan’s approach to finding more buyers for its 2017 mode? It introduced a hybrid trim, ncluded a stylish exterior refresh and added additional sound insulation. Technology options new for 2017 included driver memory functions, adaptive cruise control, a hands-free liftgate, adaptive cruise control, remote ignition and a heated steering wheel.

In addition to S, SV and SL trims, the Rogue’s buying options include a “blacked-out” Midnight Edition and a high-end interior package called Platinum Reserve.

In gas-only trims, the 2017 Rogue is offered in S, SV and SL trims, all with 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engines with 170 horsepower and standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional in the gas and hybrid trims. The latter was my test vehicle for a week and arrived with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $27,590.00. With options and destination charge, the total price was $31,625.00.

The hybrid trim is available on the SV and SL models, the two higher-scale offerings. The hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engined with an electric motor and a combined 176 horsepower.

Like its major competitors, the Rogue has a lengthy list of standard equipment. The more expensive the trim, of course, the more is included. The top-line SL trim features: 18-inch wheels, automatic high beams, foglights, a hands-free power liftgate, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, and a universal garage door opener.

Additionally, the standard features: a 7-inch touchscreen, a surround-view camera system, a navigation system, Siri Eyes Free iPhone control, Nissan Connect emergency and convenience telematics and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

I last drove the Rogue four summers ago for eight days and about 900 miles throughout Colorado. Mountain driving can stretch the limits of any vehicle, but the Rogue performed adequately even on climbs to more than 12,000 feet into the Rocky Mountains.

I averaged 26.8 mph on the trip, an impressive total considering the air conditioning was often on. I drove at the flow of the traffic, which sometimes exceeded the posted 75 mph limit.

The Rogue’s overall strength then, as it is now, is that while nothing is segment-leading outstanding, everything is at least satisfactory. The drive is smooth and quiet and the interior is spacious. The radio, heat and air conditioning functions on the console are simply designed and intuitive. The result is a competent, comfortable vehicle to operate and in which to ride.

The hybrid trim has one outstanding quality. It improves gas mileage appreciably to 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 34 miles per gallon. The 33 miles combined, which is what I averaged in the 2017 model after about only 300 primarily freeway total miles, was 6.2 miles per gallon more than my experience with the gas-only model.

One demerit: Throughout its first decade, the Rogue has often been criticized for its lackluster acceleration. The hybrid trim advances from 0-60 mph in a pedestrian 9.0 seconds.

The Rogue’s designers did a commendable job making use of space. Cupholders and storage bins are aplenty and add to the Rogue’s primary attraction. It’s a straight-forward, utilitarian SUV. But it won’t dislodge any of its more prominent competitors.

Likes:

Handsome cabin.
Impressive fuel economy.
Efficiently designed and with generous cargo space.

Dislikes:

Mediocre acceleration.
Similar to many other SUVs.

Facts & Figures: 2016 Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.0.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 31 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway), 33 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 176
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,590.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: nissanusa.com.
Price As Tested: $31,625.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion: 5 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“In its hybrid format, however, it loses points on drivability, is compromised in terms of utility, and is not worth the premium when it comes to fuel efficiency. Nissan deserves kudos for offering an alternative powertrain, but the execution needs greater polish.” — New York Daily News.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Nissan Rogue. But the top-sellers in the category are successful for many reasons and the Rogue just isn’t different enough from the ohers to make much difference.”

 

Previous

Stephen Curry nets two NBA titles, $201 million, Infiniti gig

Long Beach to ban oversized vehicles in residential areas?

Next

Leave a Comment