Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan
Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan
2014 Nissan Rogue SL. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

My first impression of the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue was that it definitely looks bigger than the outgoing model. Checking the dimensions, I was right…. and wrong. Yes, it has a slightly longer wheelbase (15 mm), but a shorter front overhang more than compensates for that. Turns out, the 2014 Nissan Rogue is actually shorter than the last generation Rogue, but it is wider and taller.

It’s the all-new styling, I think, that ultimately gives the Rogue more presence on the road; a greater sense of mass, if you will. It makes the Rogue look more grown up, more substantial, more like a proper SUV (it also makes it look bigger…). A revised interior provides greater roominess as well, even allowing a three-row option for Rogue buyers this model year.

It’s less expensive, too. The base price of our test vehicle – a top-of-the-line AWD SL – is $30,498, close to $4,000 less than the equivalent 2013 model. Ours adds $135 for a special paint option (Midnight Jade), $2,600 for a Premium Package and $1,630 for Destination fees. Total price before tax: $34,863.

For that you get a lot of vehicle, and an extremely well equipped version as well.

Backtracking a bit, the Rogue, you may remember, replaced the popular X-Trail for the 2008 model year (in fact, Rogue is called X-Trail in Europe). This is its first complete redesign, with Rogue the first vehicle to utilize a jointly developed Nissan/Renault platform architecture that increases production efficiencies and reduces cost, according to Nissan. North American Rogues are built in Smyrna, Tennessee, with Rogue and X-Trail expected to eventually be available in 190 countries.

Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan
2014 Nissan Rogue SL. Click image to enlarge

Under the hood you’ll find a familiar 2.5L, dual-overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine that makes 170 hp at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. The engine carries over from the previous generation, but the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) has been reengineered for better operation and improved efficiency. This, in combination with better overall aerodynamics (a 10-percent reduction to a 0.33 coefficient of drag) lowers the Rogue’s fuel consumption from a stated 9.6/7.7 L/100 km, city/highway for the 2013 all-wheel-drive model to 8.2/6.2 L/100 km, city/highway for the 2014 version (slightly better for front-wheel-drive Rogues).

Either way, these are hugely impressive numbers for a vehicle of this type.

Rogues are available in S, SV and SL trim, with all models receiving LED running lights, a rearview monitor, roof rails, EZ Flex Seating System with second-row split folding/reclining/sliding bench seat and pass-through, rear spoiler, splash guards, Bluetooth with hands-free messaging and phone system, satellite radio, air conditioning, power windows/doors/locks and for the S and SV models, 17-inch wheels in steel and aluminum alloy respectively.

Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan
Test Drive: 2014 Nissan Rogue SL car test drives nissan
2014 Nissan Rogue SL. Click image to enlarge

The new Rogue now features a standard “Divide-N-Hide” cargo system that provides 18 variations between the cargo and passenger areas, including hidden storage, in addition to a lower cargo floor to better accommodate tall items. The rear doors open wider (77-degree opening angle) to help get occupants and their cargo in and out. This will also help parents to better handle their child seats and the kiddies that occupy them.

The SL model enhances the equipment level by adding 18-inch alloy wheels, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, leather seating surfaces, six-way power driver’s seat, heated seats, power panoramic moonroof, hill descent control, upgraded audio and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. And at $2,600, the SL Premium Package would seem a no-brainer as it includes a navigation system with touchscreen monitor, Bose audio, power liftgate, Sirius XM Traffic, an Around-View Monitor, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Moving Object Detection and LED headlights with auto leveler.

On the road the Rogue’s steering is light and its ride feels stable and smooth. The engine started readily in the minus-20 degree conditions endured throughout this test, but it sounds harsh when accelerating up to cruising speed, at which point it recedes inaudibly into the background.

Rogue’s 170-hp engine is surprisingly peppy despite its modest specification. At 1,639 kg (3,613 lb), Rogue weight is average for the sector, although it’s actually a slightly bigger vehicle than the Toyota RAV4, for instance. So it’s not that Rogue is particularly light. Nonetheless, you can scoot around quite happily in the Rogue, which doesn’t feel underpowered at all.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).