Photos courtesy Nissan Canada
It appears the days of buying a sport utility vehicle primarily for its off-road prowess are long gone. Today, driving an SUV or crossover is as much about status; the cool way to carry a full load of people, stuff and the family pet, as it is a replacement for the minivan or station wagon. But does buying an SUV really make sense for you?
Think about it for a second. In most cases, SUVs require more fuel given that they offer all-wheel drive and feature large, thicker tread tires. So it begs the question, why spend extra money at the pump when you never plan to leave the pavement? It may not be as cool to drop the kids off in something other than a sport utility vehicle, but you will most likely be happier at the end of month when your credit card statement arrives.
All that said, if you do want the best of both worlds, consider the brand new 2014 Nissan Rogue. Capable and comfortable, it has the goods to go anywhere while offering a modern alternative to a minivan or station wagon. Maybe this is the perfect compromise.
Under the hood
The 2014 Nissan Rogue features a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder fuel-injected gasoline engine. It produces 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Matched to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with “Sport Mode”, it runs on regular unleaded fuel and delivers solid performance. In everyday driving it’s quick, powerful and relatively quiet.
CVT-equipped vehicles offer better fuel economy and access to power, but they lack the visceral stimulus I appreciate in an automobile. For me this means hearing and feeling the transmission shift up or down through a set of gears, not the continuous slipping sound you get with a CVT.
Two drive variations of the Rogue are available; front-wheel drive and intuitive all-wheel drive. Our test vehicle is equipped with AWD and a full list of standard equipment features plus numerous user-friendly options.
Standard safety items include four-wheel vented disc brakes, ABS, EBD, BA, a G sensor for the AWD system and full complement of airbags. Dynamic safety features include Active Trace Control, Active Engine Braking and Active Ride Control. Steering is electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion.
2014 Nissan Rogue SV AWD. Click image to enlarge
The 2014 Nissan Rogue highlights a brand new exterior shape. Bigger, bolder and more assertive, it features strong muscular shoulders, graceful sidelines and looks ready for action. Heated outside mirrors are standard, as is the body coloured rear spoiler. The SV equipment level on our test vehicle adds standard 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, front seats are perfectly tailored to accommodate my particular shape. I found cushion length is excellent, so too the amount of back support, though James Bergeron found the opposite in his day-by-day review of the Rogue, a sentiment echoed by Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony — be sure to test these thoroughly for yourself. A well-organized three-spoke metal and leather-wrapped steering wheel houses cruise control and audio volume/scan buttons.