In Canada, the Rogue is by far the most popular model in Nissan’s lineup. In 2017, the automaker sold as many units of its compact SUV as it sold cars. Add up sales of the Micra, the Versa Note, the Altima, the Maxima, the 370Z, the GT-R and the LEAF, and you’re within a few hundred units of how many Rogues were sold during the same period.
That’s a lot, and yet, there are three other compact SUVs that outsell the Rogue in Canada, which are the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. To measure up to these rivals, Nissan brings constant improvements to the Rogue, which becomes a better product year after year.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue received styling revisions, and they are most welcome. It boasts a more dynamic front fascia, similar to those of the company’s newer products. At the rear, there’s a new bumper and reshaped taillights that also give the vehicle a more athletic look.
The cockpit is still dressed up with some plastics of questionable quality, but at least they’re generally found in places where we don’t look too often. The dashboard hasn’t changed, but a few details have been revised, and there’s a new D-shaped steering wheel. The latter is now heated in the SL Platinum trim—the one we tested—while a remote engine starter and a driver’s seat position memory feature are now available as well.
The infotainment system hasn’t changed, and that’s a shame. A five-inch screen and only four speakers are standard, but Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and wheel-mounted controls are included, and SiriusXM satellite radio can be added with a subscription fee. To obtain the nine-speaker Bose stereo, we must move up to the SL Platinum, and to get the seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, we have to choose an option package on the SV, package that also bundles a panoramic sunroof. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration isn’t available, but will be in the 2018 Rogue.
The base Rogue S includes heated front seats, a rearview camera, 17-inch wheels with covers, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and keyless entry. In addition, only three colour choices are offered, including black, white and grey. As a result, the base Rogue doesn’t seem too interesting, but Canadians prefer more expensive trim levels anyway.
The SV trim of the 2017 Nissan Rogue is a more logical choice. It’s also the only that can be equipped with a third row for seven-passenger capacity, but these two extra seats are very small and there are is almost no foot space.
Only one powertrain is available in the Rogue. It’s a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission. With 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque on tap, this SUV isn’t all that fun to drive, and the CVT automatic doesn’t help, despite simulating the gear changes of a conventional automatic at wide-open throttle.
On the other hand, fuel economy is great. We recorded an average of 9.2 L/100 km during our test, a very good result for an all-wheel drive SUV. There’s a Sport mode that livens up throttle sensitivity and keeps the engine at higher revs, but the button is out of reach, located on the dashboard at the left of the steering wheel, lost in a sea of similar-shaped buttons. No one will use this feature. In a nutshell, this powertrain won’t impress many people during a test drive around the dealership neighbourhood, but for the daily grind, it does the job efficiently.
The all-wheel drivetrain—optional in the S and SV trims, standard in the SL Platinum—favours the front wheels in normal driving conditions, and sends power to the rear wheels when slippage is detected. However, a button allows the driver to select a 50:50 power split, although this feature doesn’t work at higher speeds, such as on the highway. It’s not the most capable AWD system out there, but a good system nonetheless.
New advanced driving aids have been added to the Rogue SL Platinum, including adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The SUV already featured blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and prevention as well as automatic high beams.
Nissan has also recently announced that the 2018 Rogue SL Platinum will be equipped with the ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system. It can accelerate, brake and steer the vehicle by itself on the highway, even in traffic. However, the driver must remain alert and be ready to take control back at all times.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue starts out at $25,948 before freight and delivery charges, while the SV AWD variant is listed at $30,548. The SL Platinum edition we drove drives the sticker up to $36,298. These prices are competitive when we compare the Rogue to similarly-equipped rivals.
It may not be exciting to drive, but the Rogue offers comfortable seats and a comfortable ride. It’s spacious and well equipped for the price, and above all, it’s one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its category. However, with the arrival of redesigned models such as the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5, and with the Nissan Qashqai now being available in Canada, which could steal some sales away from its big brother, the Rogue has no choice but to receive improvements on a yearly basis. Happily, it’s the case.